Friday, August 21, 2015 Road Junkies 0 Comments

CANADA OR BUST, Chapter 12:  
Day 14:  Jasper National Park, AB
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The temp stood at 46 (the day's high) when we awoke around 6:30 to a steady rain.  By 9:15, the thermometer had dropped to 38.  With little likelihood of hiking as the low slung gray clouds kept pouring rain, we drove on to Patricia Lake Bungalows, our lodging for the night, arriving around 10:15.  Our plan to bribe the housekeeping staff to clean our suite first was fouled by the weather also as most guests decided to sleep in late.

Pyramid Lake
After checking out Patricia and Pyramid Lakes, we returned to Jasper town, where we found a roomful of empty tables—and more importantly, available parking—at the L & W, a Greek-Italian-American diner.  Lunch was adequate and filling.

With bumper-to-bumper traffic and the lack of parking, it was apparent that the town was filling up for the weekend.  By the time we finished lunch, the rain had blown through the area though clouds lingered, shrouding the higher peaks.

A bit concerned about how lengthy the wait might be, we decided to at least try to snag a ride on the Jasper Skytram to the top of the Whistlers, an 8,084-ft dome-shaped mountain southeast of Jasper.  Much to our surprise, we were able to purchase a ticket and walk right onto a car heading up.  Our guide in the tram informed us that snow had been falling at the summit all morning—the first since June.  She also warned us that the temp was pretty chilly—26° with a wind chill of 17°.

At upper station on Whistlers mountain
Heavy clouds were still spitting icy flakes when our seven-minute trip reached the top.  Along the way to the summit, we passed through three ecosystems—montane, sub-alpine, and alpine at the top.  Near the end of the tree line, we were amazed to hear that the snow-covered trees—no more than five feet tall—were between 200 and 400 years old.

View of Jasper town from the tram
By the time we were back down at the tramway base—itself 1,200 feet above Jasper town—skies were brighter with the sun shyly peeking from behind the clouds.  Since we'll be heading south tomorrow to begin the return leg of our trip, we decided to drive the 65 miles west from Jasper to the Mount Robson visitor center.

Mount Robson obscured by clouds
Not only were we able to check out the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies (12,972 ft), the drive also took us into British Columbia for the first time.  Now, even though we barely touched our toes in the lush forests and majestic mountains of this scenic province, we can say that we have visited all ten Canadian provinces (though none of its three territories).  In the process, British Columbia claimed a spot high on our list of places to visit.

Mount Fitzwilliam dominated the view
On the way back to Jasper, the Yellowhead Highway gave us an extended and expansive view of Mount Fitzwilliam (9,538 ft).  By 4:30, we were back in Jasper and checked into our 1-bedroom suite at the bungalows.  With a full kitchen, we prepared dinner and ate in.  Tomorrow we begin our trek toward home.     

Daily Stats
  • Miles driven:  183
  • Miles walked:  2.1
  • Weather:  26° to 46°, rain, snow, sun
  • RVs parked at Walmart:  47
  • Gas:  $3.99/gallon (Hinton)

Beautiful British Columbia
Moose Lake, Mount Robson Provincial Park 
Province #10!
Moose Lake