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Jasper National Park, AB, Canada (4)

Whistler Mountain, Horseshoe Lake, and The Athabasca River.

What do you do when you wake up to the sound of Elks? Stay in the car! It is six in the morning, the air is crisp, and I am in the early stages of waking up. I am still snuggled in my blanket, trying to stay warm, when I get startled by the noise outside my car. I look outside to find that I am surrounded by a herd of Elk. I know my place; especially when many calves are in the herd. Of course I stay in my car, listening to their songs and watch them until they continue to graze further up the road.

Only when I feel it is safe to start my day outside of my car, I slide out. As I sit to eat breakfast, a female elk passes near my picnic table only a few feet away, which scares the life out of me, but what a way to start the day!

Yesterday I bought a ticket to Jasper SkyTram to summit Mount Whistler. I am so glad I brought my winter jacket with me. It's freezing up here!

I cannot capture the picture in front of me with one camera shot. It is a vast view of the Canadian Rockie Mountain in all directions. To my east, the sun with the hazy air is silhouetting the tops of the mountains. I am so high that I feel like I can rub my fingers all across them. To my west, the atmosphere is clean, presenting many ridges and mountains with still snow. As I stand facing north, the mountains to the east are significantly distinguished from the rest of the mountain range. This ridge presents a monochromatic color of light gray. Even though it lacks the range of colors of its fellow neighbors, it still adds magic to this landscape. There is a tremendous valley underneath with lakes. The white clouds decorate the skies giving me a frame for my picture.

It is straightforward up and not an easy hike. The incline is quite steep! I take a side path to take a break from the slope and find myself in a moment of pure gratitude for everything in my life. The mountainous view takes my breath away, leaving me naked to appreciate the simple things in life and the incredible people in it.

The silence I love so much is raw here; only in a few places have I been gifted with this pure silence.

As I get to the summit of Whistler Mountain, I continue on the ridge toward the direction of Mount Robson. It is far, far away, but you cannot miss its peaks as it rises above all when there is a small break in the clouds before it disappears again into the shadow of the clouds.

I love hiking on top of the ridge of a mountain having a 360° view and feeling as close as possible to a bird. My first experience was at The White Mountains in New Hampshire when I summited Mount Washington a few years ago. (A beautiful place to add to a bucket list, still one of my favorite places to hike)

The other half of the day, I decided to go for a swim. My first experience swimming in a glacier lakes at Garibaldi Lake in Whistler left me hooked! The amazing feeling you get after the initial shock is out of this world! It is so refreshing and brings all your senses alive.

I return to the Icefield Parkway for a twenty-minute drive to Horseshoe Lake. Only a short walk on a rocky path will get you to the lake, where many people brave the freezing water and jump in. Some even plunge from up above some high cliffs. I jump several times, each time able to stay longer until I can go for a short swim.

What a day!

Just before I fell asleep, I realized I didn't know where I left my glasses. I cannot even think of falling asleep without looking for them. I get out of my car with a flashlight to get them from my picnic table. The only thing on the table is my two stove burner. I start flushing the floor, hoping they just fell without me noticing. Nothing is on the ground except for the dirt. I go to check the bathroom hoping I left them there, but they are not there either. I start taking apart my bed and checking for spaces they might fall through. Nothing. My heart sinks. I will try tomorrow at daylight to find them.

Good morning and bye-bye, glasses. My favorite of all time. I could not find them. Luckily I brought my old pair with me. I am not thrilled with the frame, but it will have to do until I get home.

The interesting thing about this is my awareness of the changing me. In the past, I would be consumed with being upset and annoyed with myself. I will have those loops going around and around in my head (you know which loops I am referring to, we all have them). Yes, I am sad about my loss, but I am moving forward quickly. I looked everywhere. If someone decides to adopt them, I hope they will enjoy them as much as I did. There is nothing else I can do other than accept the fact that they are gone. I don't even dwell on the fact that they were so expensive. I loved them for the look and not for the price tag.

Since my divorce, I have been working on finding who I am. I open my mind and soul to the work of Brené Brown, Pema Chödrön, and many wise minds to find a better me. This journey gave me the room and space to push myself further and find my wholehearted truth, and it feels SO good!!!

I have two more days left in Jasper National Park, but tomorrow is a day to prepare for Banff National Park. I need to do laundry and get groceries. I plan to sit in the library and check out some hikes in Yoho National Park and Kootenay National Park, since I am now considering adding them to my place to see and visit.

My original hike to Sulphur Skyline Trail is no longer an option as it turns out the trail is closed. I decided to find a path along the Athabasca River for a morning hike. I know I need to find a place to park off the Icefield Parkway. A glance at Google Maps shows me I don't have a lot of options, but I start my drive, knowing I will figure it out. I don't want to drive too far, so I enter the first hotel on the side of the road and ask nicely if I can park for two to three hours at their parking lot. I know the worst answer is "no" and I will move on. The young lady doesn't see a problem with it. A short walk puts me on trail #12, hiking along the Athabasca River.

It's a beautiful sunny morning, the sun rays shimmering the rapid water like a Cha-cha-cha dance. It is me and the river! I cannot get enough of this color and I realize why I love it so much. It's funny, but it reminds me of the color I created for my kitchen. It is so soft and peaceful.

My time spent in Jasper was amazing! I would love to come back and visit it again but in the quiet months of May and June.

I am excited about my visit to Banff National Park. The weather right now doesn't look so promising. I have a camping reservation at Lake Louise, and I am super excited that Sandara is joining me. Our friendship started when we met at Joshua Tree National Park, and it continues growing like a tree, strong and solid.



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