"bLog means boring-Log"
day 14 in mountie-land, (0 comments)
we decided to sleep a little longer, to get a good rest after all the driving from yesterday, and the driving that will follow today. we planned to get to jasper national park today, which means another 375km (or four hours) ride today
. which also means sitting in the car most of the time again.
but before we hit the road, we needed to book an accommodation for tonight in jasper. in our tradition to the last few holidays, when we always ignored unfavourable circumstances like the day of the booking falling on a weekend, or our target being a tourist magnet, we once more had a really hard time to get a room. jasper seemed to be fully booked, no site we visited on the internet showed any vacancies.
then we found one last room, and tried to call, but on the telephone we got an automated message that this number belongs to some fraudulent blah blah, or something like that. hm? the only room available and we cannot book it, because the telephone provider says no? luckily we were at a cafe (because they have internet) and asked one of the girls working there where the next public phone is, and we explained our situation to her. thankfully she allowed us to use the cafe's telephone for this long-distance call, and this time the phone was answered - yippieh, we could book.
funny fact: gloria, the owner of the place where we will sleep tonight said she just updated the information for the free room on the internet, as a couple has just cancelled five minutes earlier.
woah, super lucky us. i wonder if we ever will learn our lesson when it comes to booking on weekends or holidays.
now we were way more relaxed, and finally started our long journey through the wonderful landscapes and breathtaking sceneries that canada has to offer. on this trip there was also a tremendous change in the terrain as we slowly, but steadily entered the canadian rocky mountains. notice the pictures taken during the ride[001-011,077-084,089-094,099,124-135,152-158], as more and more mountain peaks appear. it was really amazing to watch the change in the environment. also the temperature dropped for at least 10 degrees celsius.
but lets start with our first break we had, which was at the ancient tree trail[011-076] (which was a small stage of the driscoll ridge trail, which we did not take, as it would have been too time consuming).
although it was raining, and it looked like it would get worse soon, we decided to walk the trail, and it was good we had done so. because once more we were in an awesome wood with so many shadings of green, and such an intense colour saturation. stunning, as usual.
besides a couple, that we met at the end of the trail, we were all alone in this wood (alone as in no people, no bears, no cougars, no lynx, no moose, etc). we were pretty glad that parts of the trail provided wood-planked bridges and paths, so we would not slip on the muddy ground. also nina's ankle wouldn't have been fit for that yet.
some of the trees are over several thousand years old, and get pretty big[022-023,044,060], in height and diameter. it's really an amazing wood and sight if you stand in front of such a giant.
the rain didn't get as much worse as expected, yet it was still raining a lot, so we got in the car again, dried our cameras and lenses, and drove on. and then we spotted three deer in the wood through which the yellowhead highway passes. wohooo, wildlife encounter.
then we had a coffee break at mcbride[085-088], a small cafe that also seems like a little museum, with all the different oddities standing, lying and hanging around. also they had excellent home-made pumpkin pie. nomnomnom, so delicious. behind the house was the rail track that had a train parked there. the number of wagons in each direction was uncountable. and each wagon had two containers stacked. so the total amount of goods being trans- ported by that single one train must be enormous. we already saw some of these endlessly seeming trains. quite impressive what a railway engine can pull (or push).
then comes driving, driving, driving, and a short break at the tete jaune rest area[095-098]. why the naming suddenly switches to french (it's "yellowhead" in french), i have no idea, but it seems the closer we get to alberta and jasper, the more french people are starting to gather around us.
next stop were the rearguard falls[100-123]. all the noise, the spray, the power to grind stone, falls never cease to amaze me, no matter how many of them i visit. the rearguard falls are one of two falls on fraser river, and it is said, that one can see salmon here. only the strongest of the pacific salmon species is able to make the 1200km migration from the ocean to this place. we weren't really sure if what we saw was really salmon or just reflections in or on the water.
hard to tell, but simply just assume we have seen salmon (we think in slide , the silvery line on the left over the stones is a fish), so we can add one more animal to our feeble wildlife spotting list.
further up the yellowhead highway we came by the pretty long moose lake[136-151], but of course - as always so far - nomen non est omen. so no moose, just lake. but actually a pretty fine lake, to be honest. the sky has cleared a bit, there was hardly any wind, so ideal circumstances for nice pics with reflections on the water. unfortunately it was already a bit too dark, so the light meter of our cameras had a hard time.
and so it was time to leave the wonderful, very british, and lovely british columbia. the last stop there was at little portal lake[159-163], which is only a few metres from the border to alberta away on the yellowhead pass. here it was definitely too dark by now to take good pictures, but we decided to take some anyway, as in real it just looked wonderful.
back on the road we left british columbia, and entered alberta and finally the jasper national park. we knew that it requires a parking ticket to be allowed to stay in the park area, but so far we didn't know where to get it and if a pass for multiple days would be better, and so on. at the toll gate, all these questions were cleared and answered within one question by a really super friendly guy. after an initial "bon jour, hello" (which was absolutely not what i had expected and left me confused for a few seconds - that was too much french for me), he asked us how long we plan to stay in national parks.
fortunately we already had planned that in advance, so we gave him the number of days, and instantly he recommended to by a weekly pass, which we did. we really liked this friendly, charming guy.
jasper was ... a bit of a surprise to us. or... not. well, it was both actually. it very much reminded us of kitzbuehel, or st. moritz. a little touristy town, full of touristy shops, and more touristy tourists, with one main street, and one bar and restaurant next to the other. and jasper is supposedly the more quiet, smaller, and less touristy park compared to banff. we expected something like this from our guide books, but seeing it in reality was another thing.
after shopping some groceries, which are much more expensive here then back in british columbia (which actually has higher taxes than alberta, which has none at all), we finally made it to the "mountain memories" accommodation, where the last available room from this morning in jasper awaited us.
track for day 14