August 11-24 2007: Jasper

...and a few points going to and fro

August 13-18: Jasper National Park

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The skies cleared as we crossed the Continental divide and entered Alberta.  The BC Rockies were doing their job soaking up the water, although it had chilled down quite a bit!  Still, we were pretty excited to get to Jasper.  Arriving in the early evening, we stopped briefly in the town and picked up a few supplies, then headed out to Wapiti campground, about 5 km south of town.

It was  a pretty chilly night, as were all all of our nights in Jasper.  I checked the weather log later and found that it was dropping below freezing some nights!  But the next morning the sun came out and warmed things up.  Naturally, I took out our map of the park, scoped out the road which went up the largest mountain, and headed up!

This road took me up towards Mt. Edith Cavell, which was really spectacular:

Another place where it is hard for a camera to do justice.  Turning 180 degrees from the spot where I took the above photo gave a great view of Lake Cavell, which was an astonishing blue-green colour:

The road up kind of spooked me!  It was very twisty and went through what looked like prime bear territory to me.  I don't think that it helped that I looked at the 'bear sighting' memo that was posted at the campground and saw how many bears had been recently spotted.  I tried to make lots of noise on my way up.  

In the end, I saw no bears, but there was a moose quite near the side of the road.  After cycling a safe distance past him, I got out my camera and rolled back down towards him. He was by then gone, but I did manage to get this great photo of a Sasquatch disappearing right where the moose had been:

Our original plan in Jasper was to just stay 1 night in Wapiti campground, but we liked the scenery so much we decided to stay for several more.  It completely exceeded our expectations!  Every day was full of spectacular scenery, and the weather was great.

This is a shot of Lake Beauvert, where the Fairmont lodge is located.  There are trails going right around it.  We hiked partially and mountain-biked completely around.  It may be the most beautiful lake I've ever seen, although I'm not sure how you'd really judge something like that.  It's incredibly clear and a really astounding shade of blue. The surrounding mountains are the crowning jewel!

One day we rented mountain bikes and did a fair bit of riding.  The woman who worked in the bike shop recommended a couple of trails we could explore.  I suspect that what she was really trying to do was to send us out into bear country never to return so they could collect the insurance money on the bikes (it was getting late in the season, after all).  But, we survived all that, and spent a few hours riding around some more tame trails - like this one.  

Once again, no bears, but we did meet this elk, who followed us (I'm not going to say chased) for quite a ways!

The train station in Jasper was quite a bustling place!  Trains headed to points east and west -  you can catch a train to Toronto or Vancouver from here.

We had to keep moving campsites because we were only renewing one or two nights at a time. We thought we'd get our fill and want to move on, but we kept finding more and more terrain to explore!  This was probably the nicest of the spots we stayed in - it was huge, private, near the washrooms, and backed onto the Athabasca river!

The Athabasca river was also a spectacular highlight for us.  We hiked the trail that runs along it nearly every night.  The next few photos were taken from that trail.

Another day, I rode my bike part way along the Maligne Valley.  It was a very scenic ride! Medicine Lake, where this picture is taken, is a mountain-lined lake part way along the road.  It was uphill the whole way there, and there was a company which would rent you a bike and drive you up there so you could 'coast' back to the town.  I don't understand why you'd do that and miss all that great uphill.

Cheryl and I came back to the same spot in the van and spent some more time exploring little side trails and scenic pullouts the whole way up the Maligne Valley to Maligne Lake.

This was taken along the Maligne Valley - the sedmientary rock which forms these mountains and helps give colour to the lakes and rivers was clearly visible!

This was us up at Maligne lake.

We saw a lot of wildlife in the park - woodpeckers (above), elk (below), moose, big horn sheep, squirrels and chipmunks, jackdaws, just to name some.  Cheryl even spotted a bear just before we entered the park boundary.

One remarkable thing about Jasper is that the park is so huge that even remarkably beautiful places do not get overrun with people.  This was a little pullout along the road where we stopped for a little rest.  We found (and raided) raspberry bushes with plenty of berries!  It was a really peaceful, scenic spot, right by the river.

This was our last campsite at Wapiti before we finally decided to move on.  There was a Unimog camper beside us, but it left before I could get a photo of it.  I kept getting the song "Unicow" stuck in my head.