Our Denali summer ended. We packed up our stuff and peeled out before we’d be cornered in by snowstorms. Our plan was to head south through Canada, hitting some Canadian National Parks like Jasper and Banff, down to Glacier, Montana where we’d enter the US again.
We’d become fond of the road tripping lifestyle during our trek up to Alaska: living simply, sleeping in our crammed-but-cozy setup, cooking creatively, stopping and going wherever seemed a special spot worth exploring. After a few months in Denali we were itching to get back on the move.
As I’m writing this, it’s many weeks after our road trip has ended and I am sorry for that. It’s no good trying to capture the events as accurately as they occurred this far after the fact. I can only do my best to try and recreate some of our highlight memories.
Here’s what I’ll do.
I will post a bunch of pictures in sequential order from our trip followed by generally shortish captions. A timeline of sorts.
Part I: Jasper
Our first stop, Athabasca Falls.
We wanted to see the the pretty blueish glacial milk. It has a very different look in the light v. in the shade. Beautiful, regardless.
Next up: Mt. Edith Cavell
This stop was our first day in Jasper, right after our visit at Athabasca Falls. We were so excited to be there and so inundated with beauty right off the rip. We wanted to drive all around the park that same evening just to see everything because we were in such awe. This place in particular was incredible. It reminded me of the glacial lagoons of Iceland. There were big and little and medium chunks of ice floating around beneath a massive glacier far above our heads. It’s scope was a lot to absorb in a moment and near impossible to capture. Definitely one of those places that just makes you marvel.
Detour to Mt. Robson.
One day, we ventured out of Jasper and into the lovely neighboring land of Mt. Robson Provincial Park. We were met with a whole lot of low lying clouds, so we opted out of an overnight backpacking excursion. Instead, we decided on hiking nearly the same distance we had originally planned on completing in a few days time (~20 mile round trip) in only a half-day.
We made it to Emperor Falls near sunset, leaving us about an hour.5 of minimal light to book it home before swimming through darkness the rest of the way.
Yeah, it was a poor decision. Yeah, it was pretty terrible.
But in retrospect, it was worth every step we made in the pitch dark, trying not to stumble over rocks and roots on our way back.
Despite the physical discomfort, the bickering and the cold, it made for some good memories.
Another cloudy day. Maligne Lake is known for it’s vibrant turquoise color, but that phenomenon is only present when the water is actually able to reflect the pretty blue color of the sky. Since our day was mostly gray, a silver colored lake is what we got instead- beautiful in a different way. We did a hike up-up-up to see it from above.
During a breather, a couple curious birds began to hop real close to us.
Now, I will explain something.
I love the outdoors. I love nature. It’s where I feel most at home. But I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the biggest fan of wildlife or getting in close proximity to wildlife. I’m content watching and admiring from afar. These birds had a particular fascination with me, though. I think they sensed my discomfort and were teasing me.
But good ol’ Larry went ahead and crumbled up cracker and invited them to come closer until they landed all around and on him. Ew.
Long story short, he really reeeeaally wanted to get a shot of me with the birds. So after a lot of prompting, I put my hand out for the bird to land on. If you notice that in the photo with the bird in my hand you can’t see my face, that’s for a reason. I was thoroughly disgusted pretty much every moment of it. But without me elucidating this whole shenanigan, you’d have just thought I turned into Pocahontas for the day.
Let’s just go with that.
The last supper.
Going back to what I mentioned before, “creative cooking”, preparing meals on the road is an exciting task. With limited groceries, a portable cooking stove and only a few utensils to work with, preparing tasty meals is a fun challenge.
Though I must give credit where credit is due. Larry cooks all our meals. He’s got the domestic genes on lock, whereas I’d eat crackers for life just to avoid a kitchen.
So, he has mastered the skill of camp-cooking. On this particular night of potato-pepper-onion-sausage-hash-smothered-in-horseradish-mustard and a beer, there was a more extraordinary than usual sunset. While Larry cooked, I got to go romp around and get some photos. The lake pictured is called Medicine Lake, and the ram is one of the locals who often create ram jams on the main road past the Medicine Lake. It was an appropriately picturesque way to end our time in Jasper.
This post only scratches the surface of how amazing Jasper is.
It’s a perfect little mountain town surrounded by sheer beauty that we’ve already decided we have to return to. With mountain bikes and kayaks next time.
Next post, Part II: Banff.