Here is the blog for the second part of my trip in Alberta, my time in Jasper.
The weekend in Edmonton was good, got to see family I don’t see very often, the wedding was great. So many perogies, I may need to marry a Polish girl. I also checked out the West Edmonton Mall and we ate at Olive Garden, which they still have there, we have none in Ontario.
I will say, my anxiety got pretty high in Edmonton. Not really sure why, probably the combination of being in a major city I’m not used to, and just a lot of stuff going on. Luckily, once I got into the mountains, it all went away. Not long after I entered the park, I saw some goats along the road. On one side, a bunch in a field, on the other, a couple of them standing on the steep cliff side! I wanted to try and get a picture of them, luckily there was a parking area just passed them. I got out and got my lens changed, I was about to try to make my over to them, when I saw a couple of guys and a kid heading down a trail, up the mountain. Then I was like, I want to climb a mountain instead! I didn’t do any hiking at all in the first half, unless you count the West Edmonton Mall, and I really wanted to make sure I did at least a little, so I headed up the mountain. Because I’m stupid… Holy crap hiking up mountains is hard! I’m going to blame it on the elevation, that’s what was killing me, not that I’m terribly out of shape now…
I was hoping to see some mountain goats on the hike, but there were none. The view was pretty awesome though.
I wish I was here at a better time of day. Now, this was nowhere near the top. But I was dying. A cliff bar is not enough food to eat before hiking a mountain. Also, be in shape next time.
There was still that to go, no way was that happening. It may not look like much in the picture, but those trees are huge! By the time I got back down, the goats were off the cliff and on the other side with their friends. So I moved on, stopped for a quick lunch in Jasper on my way to my campsite at Wabasso. The campground is on 93A, the Icefields Parkway is 93, this is just a little road that goes along the other side of the river a little ways before meeting up again with 93, and I think it’s an even nicer drive for that little section. You can actually see the river and there are a few spots to get out and explore it or eat at a picnic table on the river. It is also a much slower, quieter drive lined by forest.
Athabasca Falls is pretty much where this road meets backup with the Parkway, so I stopped in. I didn’t stay long, there were viewing platforms, barricades, and a buttload of people, not how I like to enjoy my waterfalls. On my way to Edmonton the week before I saw a sign, “Goats and Glaciers”, I was like whaaaaat?? You had me at goats! But glaciers too? How can I miss that? I decided I would definitely be going back there. So I did. And you know what? Not a single damn goat! So let down, you disappointed me Goats and Glaciers. Ugh, this must be what it’s like for women who date me. The views were good though, I decided I would go back in the morning to take some photos, and hopefully there would be goats.
From there I headed down the road a little more to Sunwapta Falls. It was on my list of spots to photograph. I was disappointed, again there were fences everywhere, which I get, all the people that go there, someone would get themselves killed without them. I wasn’t too sure if I’d come back for photos or not. I went to hike down one of the trails, I was following a couple at first. But, little ways down, they turned around and headed back, I kept going, for a bit. All I could think about was a grizzly coming to eat me. I had my hand on my bear spray like a cowboy with his pistol during a draw. Eventually I just decided nope, I’ll just go back.
After Sunwapta I made my way back to Jasper, grabbed a coffee and then went to Old Fort Point. This was where I was going to do my sunset photos. Here, from the parking lot, there is a 4 km trail that makes its way around and up to the top for the lookout. Or, you can take the stairs…I took the stairs, I didn’t have time for the 4 km, also I didn’t want to. The stairs were hard enough! The stairwell is only at the start, there is a steep climb to get to the top once you have made your way up them. I swear I was about to pass out, but I was almost to the peak. Then I thought I got to the peak but then there was another one dammit.
I felt like Homer climbing the Murderhorn, except I didn’t have Powersauce bars and the awesome power of apples. This really looks like nothing, and really, it is, I’ve climbed worse hills here, but that damn elevation! I could barely breathe, I had to take breaks. When I got to the top I had to sit down and try to catch my breath. The view from the top is spectacular though and 100% worth it. You get a 360 view of mountains around it. The shot that I wanted sadly wasn’t going to work, the sun was in the wrong place, it may have been better if it wasn’t so smokey, but this is what I had planned on shooting up there-
Things worked out though! The sun was in the perfect spot to shine on the one snow capped mountain, and snow capped makes it so much better.
Also took a selfie there.
Another view form the top.
And 1 more.
Some clouds would have been nice, but it was still great being up there and taking in the view. I think there was one other really good view, but a couple of shirtless Australian brothers were sitting in the way. They also had me take a picture of them sitting there…
I went back to camp, tore down my tent because I decided to sleep in the car so I would be able to get out good and early, and not have to deal with my tent then. It started out ok, but then got really cold, I had my sleeping bag in the trunk, so I kept adding layers through the night. I don’t think I slept any worse than I would have in my tent though. Plus I heard something outside in the night. Don’t know what it was, but I assume a grizzly or bigfoot, so I was glad I was in the car.
I was on my way bright and early, back to Goats and Glaciers. And guess what I saw when I got there?? It sure as hell wasn’t goats! Stupid liars. And then the sun didn’t quite hit the peaks the way I wanted. You continue to disappoint me Goats and Glaciers! Ughh this must be what it feels like to be my parents. I got a couple of ok images, the conditions were not great.
I wanted this light on the mountains in the first picture!
Some Canadian Vandalism in the bathrooms.
Finished here, I headed down the highway and decided since I’m passing right by it, I will go back to Sunwapta Falls for a quick shot.
The light was getting higher but along the way home I stopped a few times to take in the views and snap some photos. Here are a few hastily edited, with bad lighting photos to show you some of the views along the Icefields Parkway.
And that was pretty much it, a stop in Banff for a break from driving and a coffee, then back to Calgary to hangout until my flight in the morning.
Overall it was great trip and experience, so happy to finally see some mountains, even if they were covered in smoke. I was very glad to be home though, and now I’m looking forward to the Fall colours here in Ontario!
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