Published: June 4th 2010May 3rd 2010
Canmore Chrysler to the rescue
Service with a Dodge Ram smile!
DAY 21: Monday 3rd May 2010 - TO JASPER (again!)
Up, breakfast and packed the car in record time - leaving the motel at 10:30, to a sunny/cloudy morning
The problem tyre was pretty flat again this morning so I eased the car down to the garage to pump it up and we all drove down to the Chrysler dealer to see about getting the puncture fixed and possibly a replacement spare wheel. Well they don’t have any rims that fit for a spare, and turns out the flat tyre is stuffed - with two big holes that have previously been badly patched. Another patch could result in a blowout and with no spare its not worth the risk. Canmore Chrysler don’t carry tyres so we have to wait around while they hunt down a replacement 2nd hand one or two new ones. In the meantime we go for a walk down to the A&W Burger bar for lunch and to pass the time while we wait.
While gobbling our burgers & fries, the weather suddenly turns and instantly there is horizontal driving hail, then sleet, then snow! This carries on for a while so as we sit
in the warm cosy burger bar we are weighing up the options. Looks like the car won’t be ready now until 3:30pm and it’s a 4 to 5 hour drive to Jasper along the wilderness of the Canadian Rockies. We can’t get a refund on the Jasper booking, but by 2:30pm the snow has stopped and the boys are right into it throwing snowballs and getting wet feet!
When we get back to the car its good to go - we opted for two new tyres which cost us $360 all up, so we hit the road at 3:30pm to a mix of sun and clouds
After we turn off near Lake Louise onto the Icefields Parkway road which is really quiet and we seem to have the wilderness back to ourselves - no trucks and bugger all traffic. On top of a steel bridge over the Bow River, I spotted an enormous birdnest and and we could just make out the head of a chick (possibly an eagle or hawk?)
The Bow River looks very fishy and I’m just itchin to spend some time out on a nice spot like this, no time now but hopefully later?....
We also cross over the Saskatchewan and follow the Athabascar River (near Jasper) which also look pretty sexy.
The further north we travel,the more we start climbing and the pines quickly open to more majestic snowy mountains. There are a few deer on the roadside, and the snow along the edges starts to become thicker. Pretty soon we are into a snowfall, which isn’t too bad as it just seems to get caught in the slipstream and fly over the windshield.
The drive was incredible and although we probably missed some of the spectacular scenery due to the mist and cloud, we were treated to some awesome scenes of snow on the pine trees, thick snow along the roadside and glimpses of the mountains as the sun peered through from time to time.
The snow became really heavy at one stage and we seemed to be at a fairly high elevation. The sides of the roads were closing in and the road surface started to become white with snow. That was the only time that I started to become a little concerned, but the trusty Dodge (with new tread on its feet thankfully) kept us going
and soon we were at the visitor centre for the Athabascar Glacier. We stopped here in the deserted carpark cos I really needed a break. It was still snowing here and the temperature pretty chilly, while we headed over the walk bridge to look around the buildings. No one around and all the buses and ice explorer are all parked up and coated in ice/snow. After a few snowballs and a stretch of the legs we rush back to the car to get out of the cold, for a quick drink and muesli bar. It would have been nice to check out the Glacier up a side road, but the weather just wasn't conducive and we were quickly running out of time.
Further on the road opened out and the weather clears (for a while) so we see yet more amazingly, spectacular, gloriously breathtaking, snowy bloody mountains! Another squillion photos too - gee the slide show is going to be boring for all those poor suckers that have to sit through it!!
Some iced over lakes, clear turquoise coloured stony streams, pines dolloped in snow, and wait for it - Mountain Sheep (with big curly horns) on the side
and in the middle of the road (The warning signs were right for once!)
Getting close to Jasper now and we have dropped down in elevation, so the surroundings are more lush green, less snow, some grass clearings and wait for it again - a group of three Elk stags (in velvet). Another car roaring past sends them thundering off into the trees.
We finally make it into Jasper at about 8pm (more bloody Whitetail deer on the roadside just before town!) and its still pretty cold here. (In stark contrast to our last visit with about 25 degrees, hot and sunny) After a stop in town and heading down the main street for the Marmot Lodge, we spot yet more deer (Elk hinds) grazing beside the passing traffic. There is even a lone deer grazing inside the motel grounds, right beside the hot tub.
After checking into the Marmot Lodge and a quick dinner of toasted sammies, we all head to the pool and spa for a nice long hot soak. Wow, that was an amazing drive - one that I would highly recommend and would be keen to do the return trip again if I ever
get the chance.
There are more photos below