Search This Blog


Adventure to Alaska: Camping and Connectivity (as of 2019)

Good morning from Waterfowl Lakes Campground in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada!  During this rainy morning Kenedy is giving up on the Sunday New York Times crossword and Tucker is reading Spy School.
It’s like this nearly three weeks into our eight week trip: long, mostly rainy days which make the nights humid and cold, frozen socks, going to bed late, and waking up late. We've had a few spectacular days including an epic eight mile paddle on Lake MacDonald, a waterfall-filled hike to Avalanche Lake, good eats and brews in Columbia Falls and Fernie, and hot, hot, hot springs. Kenedy’s hair has shrunk (and turned into dreadlocks) and Tucker needs a haircut. Connectivity is a constant and interesting challenge (see below for details). So many interesting places!!
Waterfowl Lakes Campground:
Great for floating and paddling but we did not find hot water and the closest bathroom did not have sinks for washing hands.  Tucker could not find sticks which is pretty critical. Also, an old shelter in the campground has turned into a roost for bats. 

Campsite at Waterfowl Lakes
Our thoughts on working while camping and traveling:
  • Our cell phone booster is powered by the trailer battery, with easy setup. The booster helps with download speed (but not upload so far) where signal is week but still existent.
  • T-Mobile doesn't work much in U.S. National Parks but is far better than Verizon in the Canadian Rockies.
  • Our Verizon jetpack from 2018 will work in an emergency and gives us access to Verizon but is still not great in and near most National Parks.
  • The Goal Zero lithium ion battery keeps Kris’s laptop crunching away all day long. The 25 amp circuit on the trailer AGM battery does not support laptop charging or coffee grinding. We tried (and blew multiple fuses)!

Goal Zero (charging the computer) and Zamp (charging the trailer battery)
Campsites, towns and connectivity so far:
  • Pinedale, WY: beautiful library inside and out with blazing wifi and plugs. Verizon was weak, T-Mobile nonexistent.
  • Teton Colter Bay: no T-Mobile, some parts one bar Verizon LTE. Laundromat has wifi but it was sometimes slow due to heavy use. Head to Moran Junction for two bars Verizon LTE and Jackson Library for blazing wifi and plugs!
Escaping the downpour at Jackson Hole Roasters
  • Yellowstone: good luck! Verizon had a decent signal at the Old Faithful gas station but not much anywhere else (that we could find). Head to the border town of West Yellowstone for full LTE coverage both on Verizon and T-Mobile. Mountain Mama’s has yummy baked goods…huckleberry pie!
  • Philipsburg, MT: we thoroughly enjoyed our cabin, late night pizza and breakfast at the Boulder Creek Lodge in Hall, Montana. The kids had a blast panning for gems at Montana Gems. T-Mobile was fine in Philipsburg but spotty for the 17 miles between Philipsburg and Interstate 90.
  • Glacier Fish Creek: no T-Mobile, not much Verizon, even with the booster. Head to Columbia Falls for full Verizon and T-Mobile coverage. We loved, loved, loved, can’t say enough good things about Odd Fellows Coffee House—good coffee, comfy environment, yummy scones and waffles. Also, our car looked amazing after a visit to Glacier Clean car wash (vacuum and wash). I miss Glacier Clean every time we clean out the car now. I am ruined!
  • Glacier St. Mary’s: blazing Verizon AT THE CAMPSITE! Zero T-Mobile. It is SO windy, cold here in June but there are plentiful bathrooms with many beautiful, private and flat campsites that are walkable to the lake and Visitor's Center.
Kris's office at St Mary's 
  • Waterton Townsite: no coverage at all on T-Mobile OR Verizon. That’s OK, though, we just stopped through to watch the U.S. women’s soccer team.
  • Fernie, BC: full, blazing T-Mobile. We stopped for the BEST yummy margaritas and food (especially the street corn) at Nevados. Fernie also has great coffee and snacks at Freshies which also has a great vibe. AND, the one thing that sets some towns apart from others…Polar Peek Books. Fernie is the whole package in our opinion--we'd move here if Canada would let us. Stop here en route to Banff.
  • Kootenay Redstreak: two bars T-Mobile LTE at the campsite. We did not check Verizon because we didn't need to! Invermere is right down the street with Kicking Horse Cafe for snacks. We’ve now visited Miette Hot Springs (to escape mosquitoes), Banff Upper Hot Springs (very crowded, expensive and small) and Radium Hot Springs (practically perfect in every way). Radium has a huge hot pool AND a cool pool with a diving board. Stay at Redstreak campground and stop at Radium Hot Springs for a dip.
  • Banff Waterfowl Lakes: this is true remote, primitive camping. Go here if you want to get away. If the weather is nice, paddle, paddle, paddle!!
Vermilion Crossing, Kootenay, BC