(Reminder: this post is being published well after our visit here, we are currently in Portland Oregon until Sept 4th)
After a 6 am wake up call, we headed to Jasper National Park arriving at the gate before 8 am! While we didn’t luck out and see as many animals as we did at Yellowstone, we still saw elk just after we entered the park and Brown Bear later in the day.
Our plan for the day was to ride south through Jasper with stops as directed by the GPS based tour app GypsyTours including the village of Jasper, a picnic lunch and hopefully leave the park early afternoon to drive the Icefields Parkway south and if we are lucky, find a parking space at Lake Louise early evening and then hightail it west to Golden for our hotel where the front desk closes at 9:30. According to Google Maps, we had five and half hours of driving if we don’t stop which of course we will be doing. Fingers crossed we make it!
We, along with some other cars slowed to watch some elk grazing just after we entered the park.
Our first real stop was at a beautiful lake. It was places like these, here and at the other parks that made we wish we were campers. How wonderful to wake up and sit and have your morning coffee at a place like this. and be able to jump in the clear water-the rocks on the bottom look like an abstract painting.
We followed our audio guide and made a stop at one of the incredible gorges. There was a powerful waterfall and a very narrow gorge-in some places you could hear, but barely see the water several stories below.
We next stopped in Jasper Village. Similar to Banff but a bit smaller and more intimate and much less crowded, it was built as one of the stops for the trans-Canadian railroad. The totem is a replacement for one originally installed in the 1800s that finally was in such bad shape, they had First Nations artists from the original family carve a new one.
I loved the stone details on the original Ranger’s home which is now the visitor’s center.
Another Gorge and its waterfall beckoned and there we also found a nice spot to have our lunch with the wonderful sound of it in the background. FYI, British Columbian cherries are delish!
Shortly after lunch, we hit a bear jam and joined the others in watch several bears wander the woods. They are hard to see in the zoomed pictures below (unlike the fools in the pictures we were well up on the road) but trust me they are those brown spots.
From here we officially left Jasper National Park and entered the Ice fields Highway. This road was built to connect Banff and Jasper. Prior to the highway, one had to do what we had done to get to the two parks. Leave Banff, go to Calgary up to Edmonton and then over to Jasper. Of course if you’re like us and don’t like to camp and/or can’t afford the $600 a night lodges in the parks-then the Highway isn’t much good except for sightseeing. But boy are there lots of sights to see and it’s already almost 2 pm so we better get going….Tomorrow!
That’s right, come back to the blog tomorrow to see an incredibly colored lake, a Glacier that about killed us, a waterfall that so far has been the highlight of our trip and to find out whether we make it to Lake Louise and to our hotel in Golden…or will we end up camping in the car?
Here is one picture to whet your appetite.