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Published: September 4th 2019
We woke to the sound of rain. Persistant rain.
We had breakfast from about 8am watching the rain from the window. We dragged it out as long as we could but finally had to leave. So off we started on our penultimate riding day, in the rain, uphill and with a chilly head wind.
The rain set in for a while and after about 5kms we reached our first pass of the day. The descent was taken with care due to the rain but the wind was still cold. Luckily we had all put on extra layers this morning.
We are riding on the Icefields Parkway. The scenery is spectacular. If it isn't huge mountain ranges towering over you from either side, it's torquoise coloured lakes reflecting them, and of course there is the glaciers themselves. They are prevelent all through the valley we are riding along. We stopped at Waterfowl lake for some obligatory photos and one person decided to have a dip. He stripped down to his shorts and jumped straight in. The person standing next to me said "we call that YNS". I asked what that meant and she replied "Young, Niaive and Stupid!" It
was hard to disagree.
The rain had dried up but the wind remained. We had lunch by the side of the road over looking a very wide river bed just willing a bear to wander out from the forest to hunt some fish - not today it seemed.
We had another pass to go through today and the initial climb hit us rather abruptly as we rounded a bend. It was a severe 9% climb of over a kilometer which then flattened out and did a big loop before climbing up the side of a mountain. Half way up the moutain we were affforded a magnificent view back down the valley we had travelled on. Huge mountains, snow capped on the west side, lined each side of the highway, simply spectacular. As we left the carpark still going up hill I realised I had gotten my third puncture. Twenty minutes later we were back on our way. We finally got through the pass and came to the Columbia Icefields. We pulled into the vistor centre for a hot drink to warm up and decided to go out to the Toe of the Glacier. The most notable point about the
glacier was the fact it has receded dramtically over the last 150 years and is continuing to recede at the rate of 5 meters a year.
We left the Icefields and completed the last 18kms to the Beauty Creek Hostel. I found it very hard to book accommodation on this part of the trip and well, lets just say it is very basic. No power, no internet, no mobile phone reception, no running water (no blog posted). Not exactly what I thought I was getting when I booked it. Ah well, it is our last night out on the road and no one was complaining. In fact it was a great way to get to talk to lots of other travellers around a roaring campfire toasting marshmallows - not so bad after all!
Tomorrow we complete our ride to Jasper with our last leg of 90kms. We have mixed feelings about that. Lets see how the day pans out.
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