Day 7: Plot twist

The best laid plans often leave you stuck in the Rockies. No? Well maybe it’s just me.


We left Calgary bright and early and headed down The Cowboy Trail. There are just two highways that connect Alberta and British Columbia. We chose the older, southern route.

Prairie grasslands
On the Cowboy Trail
A change in the view
Near the border

We crossed the Alberta-British-Columbia border and stopped to see an old coal mine and eat lunch.

The Frank Slide
In Sparwood

The next stop in the East Kootneys was to see the Titan (a giant mining truck) in Sparwood.

Mining machine

We headed back to the highway and about 15 minutes out of town there was an accident. It was only 600 m ahead of us. But sadly, there was a fatality and the police closed the highway for several hours to do an assessment.

There is only one detour for this route: backtrack 10 hours through Banff. The highway ahead wasn’t expected to reopen for 3 hours.

Curvy mountain roads

Unfortunately that meant that we couldn’t get through the mountains during daylight hours. And the roads are treacherous, winding, single lanes that make it feel like you are driving off the edge of the world.

In the Kootneys

So we decided to stop half-way and book a hotel in Cranbrook. We tried to upgrade to a suite, but in the time we waffled, they all sold out. Doh! Seems we weren’t the only ones thinking about safety first.

In the Rocky Mountains

So we didn’t get to Osoyoos that night as planned, but we were still very lucky so I can’t complain too much.

Some stats:

  • Magpie: 1
  • Hawk: 1
  • Raven: 1
  • Eagle with a large snack: 1
  • Unexpected layovers: 1
  • Hours in Sparwood: about 5
  • Total distance:  4531 km

One thought on “Day 7: Plot twist

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