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Jasper National Park, AB, Canada (1)

The Icefield Parkway

As I get closer to Jasper, I enter the province of Alberta; my time zone is also changing, reminding me I am now in the direction of home. Time is going too fast for me, and I am not yet ready to think about my three weeks of travel back home.

I am staying at Hi Jasper Hostel, where I met Joanna and James from Australia and hang out with them as they teach me how to play pool. Well, I find there is no future for me at pool, so I will stick to soccer!

You will think by now I would be spoiled by beauty, but that is impossible; especially when I drive on the Icefield Parkway surrounded by the Canadian Rocky Mountains. To avoid the crowds, I am on the road by seven-thirty. I decided that my first day in Jasper would be to drive on the Icefield Parkway as far as I could for the day; to stop at any viewpoints, and hike points of interest marked on my map. Even my front windshield has a big smile as I drive with my partner (my carpartment) in crime in the last ten months. Every turn reveals an endless rugged mountain landscape with ice-capped peaks. It's breathtaking! The skies are light blue with no clouds in view, so it is hard to understand the sheer size of this mountain range. The sharp contrast as the sun glares on the glacier mountain top is bold and rich. I stop at any opportunity to enjoy this beauty and give it my full attention.

Yesterday evening when I was strolling in downtown Jasper, I bought a bear bell. It is the first time I am hiking with disturbing noise. I feel like a cow in the meadow, but safety is first, and it does help smooth my edge of fear. I hope to get to a point where it will not bother me.

By noon I enter Banff National Park. Right after the border between the two parks, I hike to Parker Ridge. Here again, nature presents the colors of beauty in a unique dramatic way, adding textures, movements, and endless layers of folded mountains. The goldish straw color on some folds adds a desert feel, and next to the white glacier mountains, the picture is one of a kind!

As I climbed up the trail, it takes me a while to understand, as I huffed and puffed, that I am hiking at a high altitude. Every slow step gets me closer to the top of the ridge to feel like Julie Andrews in the movie The Sound of Music. The gentle wind on the ridge is whispering in my ear the sweet sound of freedom!

As you get to the top, the trail splits. Hike both trails since they will each tell you a different tale of beauty.

It is time to drive back to Jasper. The drive doesn't feel like rewinding a movie. Even though it's the same landscape, it has a different angle and a different story to tell. Now the skies are full of white fluffy clouds. Their presence above helps to ground my mountains and let me understand how massive they are.

After dinner, I invite Megan, my roommate, to join me for another stroll in town. I do like Jasper, there is a good feel to this little town.

Tomorrow the weather is calling for rain. Perfect, I need to catch up on my writing, laundry, and cook for the following camping days ahead.

Cutting short Mount Robson to have more time in Jasper was an excellent decision. I have thirteen hikes saved on my AllTrails app; now, I have more days to try and do them all.



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