Roadtrip in Alberta + BC **Best 12

Ask a photographer to pick their best images from a solo two week roadtrip in Alberta and BC. Humm. I took thousands of photos with my ancient Nikon D700 and Samsung cell phone. I was traveling in my ancient 1991 FJ80 Toyota Landcruiser. Fall colors were absolutely amazing – perfectly timed, and there was almost no one else on the road. I took the Forestry Trunk Road (Alberta #40 / #732) on and off from Hinton to Coleman. Details in previous posts. 

My selection for best 12 photos.


Picture 1 of 12

TRIP REPORT – Alberta 93 (Castle Junction to Wasa Lake + Whiteswan Provincial Park

October 5, 2023

This route followed Alberta highway 93 Castle Junction to Wasa Lake through Kootenay National Park. Unfortunately, this was the last day that the Trans Canada Highway was closed between Castle Junction and Lake Louise. As you can imagine – the road was stupidly busy !.


Whiteswan Provincial Park

A long and poorly marked forestry dirt road to Whiteswan Lake. Arrived late in the evening, needed flashlights to cook dinner and set up the tent. During the night, the elk were calling, and there was one splashing in the lake quite close to my campsite. The morning, calm and foggy. Pulled out the tripod for the first time in the trip, to photograph the foggy – almost mystic scene. Later, a person fishing in the lake surrounded by fog and a slowly rising sun.

TRIP REPORT – Canmore + Alberta 742 + Alberta 40 loop

October 4, 2023.

This post describes the Canmore + Alberta 742 + Alberta 40 loop. The route heads south on Alberta 742 from Canmore, passes Spray Lakes Reservoir, Spray Valley Provincial Park – Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and returns via Alberta 40.

TRIP REPORT – Forestry Trunk Road (Hinton to Ghost Valley)

I’d been looking forward to solo roadtrip to the mountains since I had left my Toyota Landcruiser in Edmonton after the mass evacuation in August.  The truck was already packed with camping gear, clothes and food. Being retired I could take a road trip and hit some of the best fall colors in the Alberta.

My truck is slow (the story goes that 1991 FJ80 Landcruisers will only reach 100km/hr going downhill), and not wanting to drive at length on the Trans Canada Highway, secondary and tertiary roads are my preference. As this was also my first solo trip, and my first lengthy road trip with the Landcruiser.  I didn’t want to go on off-road trails, or technically challenging routes. This was to be a ‘Shake-down’ trip.


On October 1, with the truck fuelled up (plus 30l in extra fuel) and coffee in hand, I pointed the truck west to Hinton.

Having read reviews for the Forestry Trunk Road I was confident the road would be fine, if not quite dusty. The Forestry Trunk Road (FTR) runs for 1000 kilometers from Grande Cache to Coleman in the Crowsnest Pass. Most of the road (~800km) is gravel and the remaining 200km is  paved. The FTR was a north-south resource road, some segments of the road have been designated as parts of Highway 40 or Highway 734. The Forestry Trunk Road runs mostly through Crown Land, it is possible to camp just about anywhere, or in provincial campsites. 


This post describes the route from Hinton via Nordegg to Ghost Valley. I did a modified route. From Hinton taking the Robb Road and Pembina River Road  joining the Forestry Trunk Road near McLoed River. According to Google Maps, this is a 6 hour 51 minute (440km) route. I took three days- beautiful scenery and washboard roads made the drive quite a bit longer than expected. 

Day 1: October 1, 2023. 138km

The Pembina Road runs through appropriately named ‘Coal Valley ‘; coal mining, logging, oil and gas wells.

Camped at McLoed River.

Day 2: October 2, 2023.

To Nordegg and beyond. Google maps did not record the entire route.   I camped near the green dot shown on the map.


Day 3: October 3, 2023.

Camped on the Ghost Valley Road overlooking the Ghost River.

Summary. This route is highly recommended. I was especially fortunate, as the road conditions were good, and the fall colours were superb.  Additionally, there were very few vehicles on the road. Other drivers on this route had mentioned an abundance of industry-related vehicles.

Another post will highlight the Canmore + Alberta 742 +  Alberta 40 loop.

Ruby Falls. September 30, 2023

Road trip to Ruby Falls, Alberta on September 30, 2023.  Driving into Ruby Falls isn’t for the faint of heart, or for cars (4×4 truck is a necessity). I drive a 1991 Toyota Landcruiser FJ80, and joined a Jeep YJ, and a Jeep Cherokee. The other drivers were experienced off-roaders, and one had done the drive several times. Prior to the trip, I asked  – “Is off-road driving experience necessary for this trip ?”. The trip guide, replied, ‘not really’.   I now know !.

According to Google, our driving day was 7h:59 min, drove 128.28km, average speed 16 km/hr, and ‘on a ferry’ for 108km !!. There were no ferries !.

Pictures: Nice and clean before the trip … time for a wash, and there is a licence plate somewhere under that mud !


Ice roads on Great Slave Lake

Easter long weekend cruise on the ice roads on Great Slave Lake (Yellowknife, Northwest Territories).
This 110km long and 1.1m thick ice road heads from Yellowknife to the Vital Metals Ltd. Nechalacho rare earths project at Thor Lake near the Hearne Channel of Great Slave Lake. All heavy equipment for the mine was transported on this road.

On Saturday (May 8th) the light was poor and road conditions made road difficult to drive. Actually quite difficult to see the road. On Sunday (May 9th) the road was freshly plowed and sunny sky. We drove the Yellowknife – Devils Channel (Gros Cap) section (75km) and skied 11km in Devil’s Channel that separates Gros Cap from the mainland. No other traffic on the road. On the return, due to the warm temperatures in the afternoon and cooling evening temperatures the large and deep puddles on the crystal clear ice were partially frozen – peppering the hood and windshield with chunks of ice. The ice road was closed 12hours after we got home.

Anticipating that things can go wrong on a remote ice road, we brought safety and survival gear, including the rooftop tent, -30C sleeping bags, warm clothes, food, stove, inreach, extra fuel, winch, ice screws, towing strap, and Maxtracks. 

Pictures from Saturday:

Pictures from (sunny) Sunday:

Dingne (France)

The rapid spread of the Covoid 19 virus has pretty much stopped travel for the next – unknown while. We can’t stop thinking about travel; places where we have been – or places we would like to visit at some point in the future.

Here goes a little challenge – to post places where you have been starting with the letter ‘D’. Lets see how far we can take this, and see how many letters we can include.

Dinge (France). Pictures from April 28, 29 2015.  Camera – Fuji X-E1, X-Pro1 and Revue-3 film camera.

Aix-en-Provence (France)

The rapid spread of the Covoid 19 virus has pretty much stopped travel for the next – unknown while.  We can’t stop thinking about travel; places where we have been – or places we would like to visit at some point in the future.

Here goes a little challenge – to post places where you have been starting with the letter ‘A’. Lets see how far we can take this, and see how many letters we can include.

All photos from April 24 & 25, 2015, with either a Fujifilm X-Pro + 55-200mm 3.5-4.8 or Fujifilm X-E1 + 14mm/2.8

Ice Road Bikering: Bechoko to Gameti

Two years ago. March 2018 – 

With the trucks loaded with bikes, food, camping gear, food and extra clothes, we began the one hour drive to Bechoko. A three day, 194km fatbike adventure on winter roads begins. 

Roll ahead two days, Sarah Lake, March 24, 2018.  


The ice on the lake is the most beautiful ice – crystal clear and smoother than most hockey arenas. We are on bikes, on a 25km long lake and heading straight into a 30 to 40km headwind. At times it seems that pushing the bike is less work than trying to peddle. 

I’ve got frostbite on my nose and ears, my body aches from pedaling and my brain is fatigued from concentrating on keeping my bike upright. 

Fortunately, this was the last day – The previous two days were much more …pleasant…

Sarah Lake, March 24, 2018.  

In November 2017 we gathered for the first planning session. Ewan had completed a similar bike trip along the Mackenzie Highways a year earlier – the rest of us – winter bike packing beginners. The maps were unrolled on the kitchen table showing the different winter road options, over portages and frozen lakes.  We settled on the Bechoko to Gameti route, a total of 194 kilometers. With climate change, ice roads are slowly becoming a thing of the past; more and more are being replaced by all-weather roads.    From then on Bob, Amanda and I started depleting our bank accounts to buy winter camping gear including new -40C sleeping bags, winter tents and sleeping mats. 

During the spring we had a couple of practice camping trips and rides with fully loaded bikes. All this gear – how are we going to pack it all on our bikes ?. As time grew closer we decided to have a support/safety vehicle for safety, and for the convenience of being able to bring EVERYTHING needed for any conditions the weather may throw our way. One week before the scheduled departure we were joined by Damian and Bev. By coincidence, they had also selected the same trip on the very same weekend, however at the last minute their logistics support was not available, so now there were six of us.

We had planned for pit stops every 20km, with whom ever was driving in the support vehicle setting up a stove for hot soup or tea. With clear skies, no wind and relatively warm conditions we made good progress.

Pit stop on Marion Lake. Maps laid out to track our progress and best understand the length of the journey.


It took several hours to bike the length of Marion Lake, then over smaller lakes and portages. After obligatory photos at the 50km highway sign to mark my 50th birthday – How better to celebrate that occasion. Our pace was surprisingly fast, and by the time we stopped for the night we had biked 68Km. 

Day One. Cooking Dinner along the road, and a surprise birthday cake.

Day two started with pushing our bikes a few kilometers to get out bodies and muscles warmed up for a day of biking. As we rode, lakes and portages passed by. Each of the bikers traveling at their own speed; ride fast enough to keep warm and slow enough to not break a sweat (sweating can cause hypothermia). Surprisingly, even in -70C rated boots feet still got cold.


Barren Ground Coffee on Mazenod Lake


We traveled over all kinds of road conditions, hard packed snow, bare ice on lakes and portages (the portages are actually flooded to make them last longer as the days get warmer) and rough overflow. With the exception of the odd vehicle – and very curious drivers – no doubt wondering what the heck we were doing, and why we would even think of bicycling this road. Wildlife was also scarce, except for the moose carcass and a wolverine that followed one of the riders for a while. 


Towards the end of the second day, Damien and I were at the back of the group. My rear tire was loosing pressure, and we dreaded the thought of changing a fat bike tire in the middle of a windswept lake. Luck prevailed, and we were able to cycle into camp.

Earlier, Amanda, driving the support vehicle had selected a perfect location to set up camp on Mazenod Lake, and had even donned snowshoes to pack a trail and compact the snow to make setting up the tents so much easier. That evening, as we huddled around our camp stoves, comparing the calorie values of our respective boil-in-the bag meals, and tasting Ewan’s homemade hot water disolvable ‘pucks’ – to me they tasted like hand soap. 

On day 3 light crept through our tents around 7, we woke to the sounds of frosted tent zippers and gas stoves and the aroma of fresh coffee. Amanda had selected a perfect camping spot – lots of morning sun and sheltered from the light wind. Conversation during the morning was centered on how amazing the weather had been, and the relatively few bike crashes. Bob had decided to ride in the support vehicle as his knee was still sore from a crash early on day one. This solved the need to fix my flat tire, as I could use Bob’s bike for the day. 

As the hours went by we started to encounter stronger wind. The stronger gusts wanted to push us backwards, or at least cause our bikes to want to veer into the smooth polished, and super slippery bare ice. At times, despite our best efforts, we were slowed to a crawl and even began walking and pushing our bikes. The wind continued to get stronger and stronger, and our route was directly into the wind. More and more smooth bare ice appeared, the wind blowing away the packed snow that we needed for traction for our tires, and boots when pushing. My speed was anywhere from two to five miles an hour.

Blowing snow collected on the leeward side of the snowbanks – saving a narrow strip of suitable riding track. With each gust, the fine crystalline snow swirled around the trail, blowing past me and over the polished glass surface of the exposed sea ice, in hypnotic patterns. 

This was probably the most beautiful ice that I’d ever seen; crystal clear, completely smooth. A speed skaters dream – a bikers nightmare !. At times, the smooth ice surface combined with the high winds made riding virtually impossible.

In front of me somewhere was Ewan, Bev and the truck.. 

“What the F*** am I doing here – this is worse than Planet Hoth”

“What the F*** am I doing here – this is worse than Planet Hoth”(Star Wars reference). I had unceremoniously dropped the bike into a snowbank and took a few pictures to record the experience.  A few minutes later Damien had caught up and we silently pushed our bikes into the wind. 


Pushing bikes into the wind.

At 2pm we re-grouped at the north end of Sarah Lake. Our progress has slowed to a crawl. Energy reserves had plummeted. We had biked 150km – only about 40km to Gameti. From here on – a short portage then a nearly 40km crossing on Faber Lake to Gameti. 

It was Decision time. We had three choices:

                             Camp here



Occasionally there comes a point in an adventure where circumstances force you to make a decision that will ultimately determine the outcome of the trip. Halfway through day three we had such a decision to make. 


I have already reached deep into my energy reserves. On a calm day, I could have eaten a few power bars and pushed on. 40 km wasn’t that far – under normal circumstances. But this was a 30 to 40km/hr head wind. With the decision made to bail, I packed my gear into the truck for the drive to Gameti. Bitter sweet – I’d have preferred to have continued. Two hours later, the truck returned to check in on Damian and Bev. They had covered 25km. Bev’s words were –  

”You didn’t miss a F*ing thing”


Ewan – cycled in a few hours later. Frostbitten and completely Spent. He had biked the whole length 190km. That evening, after hot showers we celebrated with a bottle of scotch and had a potluck of sorts finishing off our remaining camping food.

The next morning after waking up in warm beds, we had a leisurely bike tour around Gameti and packed up our gear in preparation for the drive home.  Shana and Maggie had driven from Yellowknife to drive us back to our vehicles in Bechoko. They had been delayed as the road we had biked on the previous day had been closed due to snowdrifts.  They had brought beer, fresh fruit and snacks for the drive home. By 9:30pm we had transferred gear and bikes to the other vehicles and were heading back to Yellowknife. Two hours later (total distance of 100km) we were home – Yes – Exhausted and happy.

One of the most memorable moments of the trip, which really touched my heart, was the birthday cake on Day One. In the middle of nowhere and a few close friends. The least enjoyable was biking on Sarah Lake. I remember my thoughts as I took that picture


With frostbite on my nose and ears, my body ached from pedalling and my brain is fatigued from concentrating on keeping my bike upright. 

Fortunately, this was the last day – The previous two days were much more …pleasant…


Thanks to Barren Ground Coffee for their sponsorship !

Footnote: Our planned bike ride in 2019, Bechoko to Whati was cancelled due to a sudden warming and the ice road was closed. 

March 2020 – Our last opportunity to bike the Bechoko – Whati ice road as construction has already started on a all-season road. The end of the ice roads is near. Trip planned and ready to go.



All eyes looking straight ahead Walking home from work today, I mentioned to a neighbor that I have been repeating the very same route that i have followed for 20 years – up the hill to work, down for lunch, up after lunch and down again at 5pm.  Each way, is approximately 12 to 15 minutes.  In winder and in summer, rain or shine. Sometime I bike to work – and it takes a few minutes less. For him – it has been 29 years – up and down on the same route. He is totally happy with his commute as he knows the alternatives – driving, train, subway or bus as many people do.

That brought back a memory of a few years ago when I was in Nepal. On this particular day, March 1, 2015 I was returning to Kathmandu from Syabrubesi afer completing the Langtang Trek. The trek was certainly memorable, even with symptoms of altitude sickness and having a stupendus headaches for three days (actually, it felt like long nail jabbed through my forehead).  The commute – Yes, the bus ride was certainly one to remember. Add in, fog and rain – along with many ill passengers – Just what was that liquid sloshing all over the floor ….!!

I was fortunate to be up front. Myself feeling a bit ill – but not wanting to empty my guts out the window, as it would have gone in through one of the other windows farther back. 

Occasionally we could feel the bus slide in the loose gravel or mud. Time seemed to stand still until the wheels caught and the bus resumed moving forward. I had mistakenly read the news prior to entering the bus and learned that another bus has slid off the road and down a steep ravine and everyone was killed.   In Nepal – bus crashes are common and with deadly results especially on the windy narrow un-paved single lane mountain roads that are carved into the hill sides with abundant blind- hairpin turns. Say that ten times fast.  Thee are no guard rails – anywhere. Usually the bus crashes are blamed on overloaded busses, poor road conditions and poorly maintained vehicles.

Obviously, my bus ride wasn’t so dramatic. A couple of pictures to show the roads, bus and some of the fellow passengers.

Yes – that 15 minute commute doesn’t seem that bad after all. Click on the pictures to make them bigger.


All photos taken with a Fuji X-Pro1 and Fujinon 14mm lens.