After a long day at Banff National Park, I was more than ready to head over to Jasper and possibly car camp at the town somewhere. I don’t know where, but as long as I see a good spot to pull over and catch some “ZZZZs.”
As I was driving to Jasper via Icefield Parkway, I watched as the skies turned into indigo night as it gently brought a few of its snow flurries.
Unfortuately, the snow gods weren’t in my favor as the light gentle snowfall turned into a huge flurry storm. It got to the point where I couldn’t see anything less than 15 feet in front of me even with the damn high beams.
Panicking, I thought maybe it’s possible to still reach Jasper. I mean it’s only like 2½ hours away. As I kept driving, the snowstorm only got worse and worse and now my anxiety level was at an all-time high. Living in Los Angeles, I rarely experienced snow, but driving in a heavy snowstorm was another story.
My worst nightmare came to reality as snow partially covered the road. I was probably driving at around 15 MPH as cars behind passed by with ease. That’s when I realized I wouldn’t make it to town…
As I drove past thickets of trees along the windy road, I passed many closed campsites and hiking trails with no hint of civilization. That’s when it hit me.
I should just pull over the side and sleep for the night.
But I was OVERTHINKING EVERYTHING.
“What if I get attacked by bears?”
“What if a moose attacks me from my sleep?”
“What if I freeze to death?”
All these endless thoughts rushed through my mind, turning me more and more paranoid.
As luck would have it, I came across a sign that says “Columbia Icefield Centre.” There were parking lots surrounded by overnight parkers and RVs. Now this don’t sound like much, but I’m glad I entered the parking lot because I felt a bit safe…from the bears at least.
I pulled into an empty spot next to one of the RVs. I contemplated what I should do next.
“Hmmm…I’ll bundle up so I don’t freeze my ass off. If I can’t feel my toes, I’ll blast the heater. I’ll be fine for the night.”
To keep my mind off of this, I read a pamphlet. Not even 10 minutes later, I turn my head towards the window and see a woman step out of the RV. She gestured me to lower my window. So I did. She asked if I speak German.
I was confused. I knew a few words, but I DON’T speak German. So I said no. She then told me, “Come. Drink wine.” So I stepped out of the car into a stranger’s RV.
Inside, I was instantly greeted by three new strangers. The woman asked if I wanted wine or tea. I chose tea. The woman’s name is Maria. She has her husband, Ron, and acquaintance (whom I forgot the name). They’re all from the Netherlands and mainly speak Dutch. She then told me she was worried I’d freeze to death so that’s why she brought me inside.
We talked about where we’re heading off to tomorrow and surprisingly enough, they’re headed to Lake Louise in Banff National Park. That’s where I was about 5-6 hours ago. I told them that I had a glacier tour tomorrow morning and then I’m planning on going to Jasper afterwards. They told me that there’ll be snow in Jasper for a couple days so I was still feeling pretty anxious.
Maria asked if I wanted wine. I said yes. She poured everyone a glass of wine and we did a toast to a great night and many more adventures to come. After a glass or two of wine, sharing photos of our adventures, and feeling warmer than ever, I was grateful to have met these kind strangers.
After an hour of chit-chatting, the acquaintance said goodnight to all of us as he headed to his own RV. I was ready to call it a night myself. So I told Maria that I’m ready to pass out in my car. She hesitated for a moment and then told me that I should just spend the night in her RV. She tried convincing me she has extra beds for me to sleep.
I thought about it for a moment. My dumbass mind tried to comprehend the situation. As much as I appreciate her generosity, I didn’t want to burden her too much by sleeping in the RV. I told her maybe, but she insisted I sleep in the RV as she’s worried I’ll be too cold there. Reluctantly, I agreed. She said that I’m more than welcome to use the sink and toilet if I need to. I thanked her profusely for her generosity. So, I took out my sleeping bag from my car and headed back to the RV where Maria showed me my “temporary” bed. It was much roomier and comfy enough to stretch my legs. I was in heaven…
I had a warm, peaceful 7 hours of sleep.
Next morning, I woke up and ate breakfast. Maria kindly let me use her stove to cook oatmeal with dried cranberries. She even made warm tea for me.
After breakfast, I got outside to see this.
My car was partially covered in snow. Thank god I didn’t spend the night in my car.
Maria, once again, let me use her scraper to scrape off the snow on my car windows. After successfully getting snow off my car, I head back inside the RV, hugged Maria and thanked her and her husband for their kindness.
Looking back at it now, this was one of the most interesting stories that happened to me during my Canada trip.
And what’s the point of this story? It’s to remind everyone that there’s good in this world. Who knows what would’ve happened if I hadn’t met these people? I would’ve had a miserable night of sleep. Or worse, I would’ve possibly froze to death.
Now it’s your turn…
What’s your most interesting story (good, bad, ugly) that you’d like to share?