Monday, 20 July 2015

Beginning Year 3 = Jasper, and North

We begin Year 3 in Jasper! We loved it when we were here in 2012, when it was rainy and 8-12 C. We loved it even more this year in the Airstream! It is a more ‘laid-back’ casual town than Banff. Roads and sidewalks are wider,
Wide streets with parking
and there are large parking lots along the main street. There is also a wide parking lane catering to RV’s and the many people from all over the world who rent them.
RV Parking on the street
The town was interesting to drive, bike and walk around.
The new Totem Pole across from the Visitors' Centre

The back of the Visitors' Centre

Post Office

The eastbound train- they are cleaning the tops of the observation cars

The historic train station
People are here from all over the world- we met many from the US, and Canada, but also folks from New Zealand, Holland, and Australia, and heard a myriad of different languages. We tried coffee in several different cafes
One of our other choices, The Paw is a few blocks away
and found the best flat white when we went to do washing at the laundromat on Patricia St.
Fabulous Flat White coffee

Several times we returned to sit at their little table on the sidewalk to “people watch”.
We stayed at 2 different Parks Canada campgrounds- first at Whistler,


A beautiful site with some sun to keep the solar panel happy

then decided to stay longer and had to move to Wapiti across the highway. It was a little crowded, but we had electricity, even though we all blew the breaker 3 times! 
a little different- but we had electricity, and with days over 33C, we used the AC
The elk were out and about every day at both campsites.

Munching the grass ewes and calves

At Whistler, we were entertained by a Columbian Ground Squirrel
He visited all the time
who lived just beside our table. We did a number of day trips, walked around Jasper, relaxed, and John went riding one day.

The first trip was up to the beautiful mountain, with a lot of snow still on it that dominated the range to the south-west. We drove up the winding road

Up the mountain

through the Tonquin Valley
The mountains across the valley

A Bowl in the mountain range
Our first glimpse of Mount Edith Cavell

to Cavell Pond and, above it on Mount Edith Cavell, the Cavell Glacier. The mountain is named in honour of a British nurse who aided soldiers in WWI.
There is a short walk up a trail across a rocky landscape
The stream cascades down beside the path 

Looking back down the path I'd climbed

recently covered with ice. As I had hurt my tailbone in a fall in Edmonton, I was not going to walk up. But it was so beautiful, so taking it slowly- baby steps- I made it to the viewing platform. As we walked up we heard and then saw mini avalanches as,

Mini avalanche -doesn't look like much, but it roared down

with the warmer weather, chunks of ice and snow crashed down the north face of the mountain.

The North Face
This is one of the most recognizable of the Canadian Rockies, and one of the fifty classic climbs in North America. The glaciers are amazing.
Edith Cavell Glacier

Glacial Pond at the foot of the Edith Cavell Glacier
Angel Glacier

Another drive took us up to Medicine Lake and then to Maligne Lake. Medicine Lake is quite fascinating. It is a lake only during Spring and Summer, and has no visible outlet.

Medicine Lake in Summer

Medicine Lake's Mystery
 But by October the lake vanishes. As the weather warms and the snow and glacial melts cease, the water in the lake disappears down a network of underground fractures in the limestone floor of the lake, leaving just a small stream through mud flats.

We continued up the mountain, criss-crossing many beautiful streams,

One of the beautiful Rivers/streams we crossed and passed
up to Maligne Lake at 1697 m or 5568 ft.
Malign Lake from the outlet
Maligne Lake outlet

Mary Schaffer, a Philadelphia artist, and her friends were the first tourists to see this lake. She rode northward on horseback from Laggan in 1907 searching for a remote lake called Chaba Imna by the Stoney people. She found it in 1908, and explored it by raft. Major Frederick Archibald Brewster from Banff, arrived in Jasper and set up backcountry camps

Brewster set up Tent Cities

catering to famous artists, millionaires, adventurers and movie stars. Set up in 1925, Maligne Chalet

Inside the Chalet

was the most prestigious of his seven camps. Today the Chalet serves High Tea each afternoon. One of the many trails, The Skyline Trail, completed in 1937, from Maligne Lake to Jasper Lodge, is today one of the best high country trails on the continent. We took a much shorter trail, the Mary Schaffer Loop, along the lake.
The Trail

The Lake from the trail - watching the canoes

The only original structure still here is the boathouse,

Curly"s Boathouse

built by Donald “Curly” Phillips, a well-known guide and outfitter, in 1928 as part of his Camp. In winter, it was used to store boats he built, including seven-metre power canoes and eight-metre power boats.
Looking down the lake
On the way back we saw a small black bear just wandering along beside the road munching on the grass.

John rode his bike around Jasper, on some of the trails, and out to Jasper Lodge on Beauvert Lake. It was so beautiful that we drove back so I could see it too. We were there the first time, just at dusk.

Lake Beauvert, with Jasper Park Lodge to the right

So I had to return again in daylight so I could see the view I had photographed.

The scene in daylight

Jasper Park Lodge to the right on Beauvert Lake
One day we drove up to the lakes above Jasper, Patricia Lake and Pyramid Lake. Patricia Lake is a small quiet lake, perfect to paddle around in a canoe or a kayak.

Pyramid Lake

Looking South on Pyramid Lake to Mt. Edith Cavell

Pyramid Lake

is at the foot of the Pre-Cambrian age, Pyramid Mountain, a member of the Victorian Cross Range.
Pyramid Mountain
This is the highest mountain in the Jasper townsite vicinity. It has red-orange hues caused by oxidization of iron minerals.  There is a Lodge and cabins at one side with boat rentals- only paddle boats, canoes, kayaks and 2 electric boats- no motor boats are allowed on the lake.

Lodge with cabins

As we went further around the lake we came to a parking lot for Pyramid Island, so had to explore it. The island, accessible by a wooden bridge,

A short  but pretty little bridge

is small but has picnic tables, several lookouts, with benches, and a rustic shelter built in 1933 as a Federal Relief Project during the Great Depression. This has been recognized by Parks Canada as a Federal Heritage Building.


Time to leave came all too quickly! We decided to go back toward Hinton, and up Hwy 40 to the Alaska Highway through Alberta. It started out a grey day with low clouds hanging on the mountains.
An interesting drive, almost through the clouds in places
Just before we turned north, John slammed on the brakes to avoid a black bear who wandered across in front of the truck. [I couldn't get the camera out fast enough to take a picture!] 
The drive was picturesque if you like roads and fir trees, and crappy roads.
A few hills far in the distance
Our first stop was Grande Cache.  We stopped at the Tourist Interpretative
Centre just in time to hear a speech from the Mayor as he closed a time capsule, and enjoy a piece of chocolate cake as we browsed their historical exhibits! Their claim to fame is a series of three 125 km Canadian Death Races,  individual or relay teams of five, held each August long weekend, September long weekend and a Snowshoe race held 3rd weekend in January.  They are a 24 hour races of gruelling mountain trails crossing 3 summits and gaining over 17,000 ft. in elevation. We stayed at a pretty treed site in the Municipal Campground, but decided not to unhitch, as we were just staying one night.
A pretty treed site, with water and electricity

The next morning we headed north through more interesting country with better roads.  


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