Early View, Jasper NP

Early View, Jasper NP

If you’d told me I’d treat the road through Jasper like an expressway, I’d have thought you were silly, but it’s sorta what I did. The town of Jasper is a railroad town and tourist resort with all the usual tourist shops. I entertained the idea of a nice breakfast of eggs and coffee but didn’t see the right place at that early hour, plenty of bakery offerings but I wanted “a real meal” whatever that meant so I fixed my usual bowl of granola, sliced fruit including a banana and maybe a peach or nectarine, a handful of mixed nuts and seeds with kombucha at the first spot on the Jasper road with a view.

 

Someone's looking for the camp office

Someone’s looking for the camp office

BTW on the campsite, normally one would not be able to find a campsite without a reservation, so if you’re planning a trip in the ah…hum “normal camping season” be sure to reserve ahead. Being an unexpected early bird…  this was still May, not June as I’m posting, I was assigned a space that was an entire section…  I had my pick, as always I asked for dark and quiet forgoing hookups for the pleasure of nature. There are bears! Saw a few although not in the campground and tons of elk.

First Stop

For RVers, don’t forget to fuel up at no more than 1/2 tank, 1/4 tank is fine too if you see a gas station, use your low gearing, stay off the brakes and drive slow!  watch out for wildlife. If possible plan to spend 2 or 3 nights or longer on Hwy 16 although you can do it in 4 hours or less if you have a mind to. Drink lots of fluids, which I did not do even though I did have at least a little breakfast, more on that later.

 

Athabasca Falls is right here.

Athabasca Falls is right here.

Of interest but not something I utilized Jasper National Park is a dark sky preserve. In my  youth and years living in a VW microbus the skies were always dark and stunning outside of the city. Golfing is big in Canada, skiing, dog-sledding, snowshoeing  in season, whitewater rafting, boating, kayaking, biking, birding, wildlife viewing, hiking, fishing, rock climbing, going on the skytram or the ice walk, museums, guided tours, spas, dining, the pursuits of an artist or immersion in nature. . . tons to explore if so inclined or it makes a magnificently scenic expressway…   LOL

 

Thundering through a narrow gorge the walls are worn smooth, potholes created by water borne sand and crushed rock.

Thundering through a narrow gorge the walls are worn smooth, potholes created by water borne sand and crushed rock.

Lots of people watching the falls.

Lots of people watching the falls.

Athabasca Falls ...  the spray feels good but it's truly thundering by.

Athabasca Falls … the spray feels good but it’s truly thundering by.

The Columbia Ice Field The Athabasca Glacier on the Columbia Icefields are composed 8 glaciers in an area of 202 sq miles, one of the largest ice masses south of the Arctic and most assessable. They have been receding for the last 125 years, I overheard someone saying how the glacier used to reach all the way to the road last time they were there, I think that was in the ’60s. How fast are the glaciers diminishing. What will happen when they are gone?

Ice, Jasper NP

Ice, Jasper NP

Columbia Icefields, Alberta

Columbia Icefields, Alberta

The Jasper glaciers receive high numbers of visitors thanks to the impressive road. Wildlife is abundant although on my short visit I did not see many animals which include elk, deer, moose, caribou, bears, bighorn sheep. mountain, goats, lynx, porcupines, cougars, wolverines, coyotes, wolves, beavers, insects, spiders, fish, reptiles, and over 1300 species of plants. It’s good to know even with all the human tourist they have a home in which to live.

Glaciers

By the time I reached the Columbia Ice Field my lack of sleep, water and food was about to meet up with high elevation. I got out of my van and started walking, at first it was just my eyes, they started seeing spots, then I couldn’t focus, I knew I had to get back to the van, my head became dizzy and I started having trouble getting a breath. I was annoyed but also worried. As quickly as I could I took off unnecessary and restrictive clothing and started drowning any and all liquid I could find, no not the antifreeze.  I went through quite a lot. My stomach was hurting by this time and my head was pounding. I turned the air conditioner on. . .  that helped. Then I took off down the other side of the mountain, lower and lower and lower, when I reached the mid-way lodge village for gas I headed straight to the bathroom. I wasn’t sure I could make it without embarrassing myself by collapsing, as I was so dizzy and unsteady but I did. An hour later I was OK, or at least OK enough to continue descending and the world started to look normal again.  Note to self….  for the umpteenth time… Drink hydrating fluids, eat something, sleep, rest once in a while and all that stuff.

Icefield

Icefield

 

Ice

Ice

On an amazing note my 20-year-old LTV handled the 230 km, 140 mi, 2-lane Canadian Rocky Mountain road with stunning success.

My 1996 Freedom Wide LTV in Jasper

My 1996 Freedom Wide LTV in Jasper

 

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