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Published: September 4th 2019
An uneasy sleep in the bunks at the Beauty Creek Hostel and a slightly late start to the day. Packet oats with hot water and a cup of tea for breakfast was not up to what we have become accustomed to. And it was cold - very cold.
No mucking around this time, we all put on multiple layers before we took off. It was a beautiful blue sky that greeted us but the highway was still in shadow because the mountains were so high around us. It took a good 30 minutes for us to warm up.
The highway presented the same smorgasbord of mountains topped with snow caps and forests running up to the snow line. The occasional lake to break things up. It never gets "old".
We came to our first stop today at Sunwapta Falls. We topped up breakfast at the store there before going out and looking at the Falls. While not a large drop, the fall was quite intricate and blasted out a narrow gap into a wider river below. Quite amazing in its own way.
We road on for a further 30kms to Athabasca Falls. Now only 30kms short of
Jasper, this is one of the main tourist spots on the Icefields Parkway. And it's easy to see why. There is a tremendous amount of water that blasts over the crevice and churns wildly. This is bigger than Sunwapta and to me much more impressive. You can see ample examples of how the water is winning the war of erosion over the rocks it is crashing into. We had a leisurely lunch here as well. No one is in a hurry today - the last day of our ride to Jasper.
The day on the road has been great. Magnificent cloudless blue skies, a warm sun (eventually) and lots more downhill than uphill, it really has been the perfect finale to the ride. About 8kms out of Jasper we make an attempt to get the bikes to the Valley of the Five Lakes but after a kilometer of dirt rocky track decide the terrain is too much for us. The final ride into Jasper is easy (and downhill), and then all of a sudden you see the "Welcome to Jasper" sign (a little tired though it may be). We stopped, gave each other hive fives and took the obligatory
photos. We had made it. What started as an idea out of the USA trip 2 years ago morphed into the adventure we had just completed. We picked up a new Amigo along the way and toured our way from Vancouver to Jasper via Banff - a trip of approximately 1500kms and 12.5kms of climbing. I wonder what's next?
For now, a celebratory dinner is all we're looking forward to!
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