Saturday, 23 June 2012

Jasper NP

Day off driving today, as it has been non stop for over a week. Despite threats of rain, the day dawned nice and sunny, so the first thing I did was confirm a second night in the camp site.  They really aren’t too full till net month, so this was not a problem.  I then went into town and had a cooked breakfast for a change – A yummy Mexican omelette !  This café is about the only wifi place in town (unless you’re in a hotel, as no Starucks or McDonalds here !) so was also able to post my blog which I had written last night.  Then back to the campsite to change for a hike somewhere, to stretch my legs after sitting in the car so much.
On the way back, have a couple of birthdays coming up in the family so had to find cards, and a post office for stamps, and then, annoyingly, had to go back to wifi café to log back on to get an address that was in email that required me to be logged on to get it !!   Anyway, by the time all this was done, it was 1 o’clock !!  So I then was able to set off on my hike.

I had chosen one at the back of Jasper town, that was listed as “5.1 km return, 60 m elevation gain, 1 – 2 hours. Exceptional vew and a quiet forest”.   Sounded ideal, I thought, so off I went with a sandwich in my back pack, and my bearspray handy !!   Well, I climbed a lot more than 60 metres in the first half hour !!!  I was exhausted !  Was I on the right trail ?  Or had there been a misprint – Maybe it was 500 metres elevation gain, or more likely 5000 !!   But it was a lot more than 50 metres, I can assure you !!  And then I met a couple of ladies who said they had seen a couple of bears, but were more concerned about the signs warning of marauding wolves in the area !!!!   I thought it said “quiet forest” !!!!

Then the trail got really muddy and I was having to find alternate ways around some sections.  This was made even harder by the presence of a horse riding business in the middle of the forest, so if you didn’t watch where you were going you had smelly boots as well as wet ones !!   Why don’t horse people have to pick up their pets poo like us dog owners ?????

 Anyway, tired and weary as well as muddy, I persevered and eventually came out at Pyramid Lake 2 hours later !!   So much for a 1-2 hour round trip !!!   But it was worth it, because in the middle of the lake is Pyramid Island, with a little walkway out to it, and out on Pyramid Island there are great views of the surrounding hills, including Mt Pyramid.  So I sat at the end of the island withut a soul anywhere nearby, ate my sandwiches, and enjoyed the stunning view across the lake, lost in my own thoughts for a while.  But there was quite a wind out in the lake, away from the shelter of the forest, so after half an hour or so I needed to get moving – Especially if it was going to take me 2 hours to get back as well !!  And I was starting to get weary, because it was also quite a rough trail, with lots of roots and rocks sticking out, so you had to be careful not to trip and land face down in the mud !!

Saw no bears or wolves on the way back, and managed to get back in 1 ½ hours as it was more downhill this way. Just as I was coming down the last 10 minutes into Jasper, the heavens opened, and I got soaked, but hey – it happens !!  I was too pooped to really care.  Jumped in the car and went back to the campsite for a cup of tea – Only to find it haven’t even rained there – a whole 3 kilometres away !!  In fact, even now at 9.30 pm, it is a lovely clear evening !!

 Had a chat to a few people including Dick and Tina from Ontario who travel in an 18 foot van all set up with all their needs – Including a great little porta potty of which I am VERY jealous !!  They have been up in Alaska too and surprisingly we hadn’t seen each other until tonight, but I got a few more ideas in regard to setting up a van to make it much more user friendly in Alaska next time than the Elise and a tent !!

 So a quiet day in Jasper.  Will be off south tomorrow heading towards Lake Louise and Banff.  Hopefully this good weather will hold and will have a good run down the Icefields Parkway down through the middle of the National Park.

 Just a few pics of my walk today.  There were some Elk wandering around the campsite earlier, but when I saw them they were lying down in long grass, so you can hardly make them out clearly.