The next step was to start out across the Rockies. We had decided not to book rooms in advance for this stage of the trip, so that we could play things by ear a little. This meant that we had the flexibility to take the advice of the very friendly Canadian lady we met in the immigration queue and drive on up to Jaspar, rather than stopping in Banff. This was an extra couple of hours in the car, but boy were they impressive hours. There were MOUNTAINS, and more MOUNTAINS, and BLUE LAKES of ridiculous, unrealistic colour. We stopped for a wander around Bow Lake, which was pretty amazing - you could see the glacier making its way down the side of the mountain opposite. We had intended to take an evening walk but actually, once we were there and had eaten, I was pretty knackered so we just crashed out in our hotel.
Next came the other half of the Rockies drive, to Hope, a town I had picked purely based on driving distances as a sensible place to stop. We did consider stopping and doing a little trail walking on the way, but the midday sun dissuaded us and so we enjoyed the grandeur of the MOUNTAINS from the car this time. Once in Hope we had thought of walking a little trail there but by now we had arrived in rainy country. The mountain here is under an ominous wreath of misty cloud and when we couldn't figure out a way to safely walk from our motel to the trail head as the grass verge petered out, we decided to substitute a wander around town instead, which proved very enjoyable in its own way. We discovered that Hope has lots of motels in various states of seedy looking, closed down shops, masonic lodges (seriously, there was a whole block of them) and a surprising number of Chinese/Canadian restaurants, a cuisine we decided to pass over on this occasion in favour of a rather nice classy restaurant next door to our motel. There were also lots and lots of chainsaw carvings all over town, as we had just missed the annual chainsaw carving competition. These range from the banal to the frankly bizarre but the drizzle, the roaring river and the whole abandoned small town air definitely made for an interesting exploratory walk around before dinner. Also, I have decided based on this visit that the difference between a motel and a hotel is that you get a slightly bigger room.
Next we're off to Victoria where we have what looks like a very nice hotel room booked - each room has a name in this place and ours is the Reading Room! I'm trying to upload each day's photos to flickr as I go (otherwise I'll never get around to it) so if you like that sort of thing, check out http://www.flickr.com/photos/tinyjo. Otherwise, I'm sure I'll post again once we're settled in Victoria.