31.08.2013 - 02.09.2013 19 °C
From one national park to another, this region of Canada just keeps on giving! We made it to Alberta in Jasper National Park, an area renowned for it's wildlife including bears, elk, moose, caribou, beavers and more! What was the first thing we saw before reaching the town? No less than 3 elk hanging out by the side of the road. We were in for a treat.
The Hi Hostel Jasper was....adequate, but when you're tramping the rockies with your Mum, a 40 bed dorm is probably not ideal. It was a long weekend, accommodation in the whole town was limited, the 2 twin rooms in the hostel - booked out. Sorry Mum - but here's an experience for you! A tip, book well in advance (more than 1 month).
Jasper's a great little town, with nice cafe's, restaurants, shops and outside of all this is an abundance of mountains, lakes and loads of wildlife. We took bikes north of the town and explored Cottonwood Slough and the stunning Patricia Lake before cruising back to south of the town where there are paths that run by a myriad of waterways. The Fairmont Hotel and golf course (scattered throughout Canada) was also nice to check out. We rode deeper into the addictive wilderness - despite the bear warning signs!
Having the car allowed us to spend day two visiting some really cool sights:
- The Maligne Canyon with sculpted rock formations which in winter has many frozen waterfalls.
- Medicine Lake, which baffled locals for centuries. It fills up during winter then empties during summer - without any connecting visible streams or rivers. It turns out, it actually drains like a bathtub through the world longest underground stream.
- Maligne Lake, most likely any post card from Jasper will feature this lake. We were lucky enough to spot more elk as well as a large grizzly bear feasting on some berries!
The road from Jasper to Banff is often referred to as the most beautiful drive on the planet, National Geographic rated it in their top ten. Our view? They were right. We probably stopped 50 times along the way, endless mountain ridges, valleys, waterfalls, mountain goats. Incredible stuff. Some gems were:
- Athabasca Falls
- Sunwapta Falls
- Columbia Icefields - for some glacier trekking!
- Peyto Lake
If you get a chance, just go.