Excited about my new rubber I rise early, anxious to hit the road, better still, reach the curves of pending mountain territory. I feel relieved that we were able to rent a basement bungalow in downtown Jasper for the busy public holiday weekend. The route today has us backtracking west on the smooth divided highway we rode into Edmonton on. My bike feels nicely sticky and rides smoothly on my new Scouts. All I can do is crank up the tunes, smile, and embrace the ride….hard work hey? We pull off at a rest stop and stretch. We chat with a friendly couple of American/Canadian travelers walking their dogs have a nice visit and hop back on the bikes. Our ride should be around 4 hours today but with all this "get out of dodge" traffic it stretches out another hour. We fuel up at a crowded petrol station and are approached by a couple out for a ride. "Are you the couple that has traveled from Alaska"? they ask "Wow"!! How do they know this I wonder?. "How are your arms healing?" they ask. "Ok have we met?" I ask curiously "No,…but you met my Dad riding in Alaska and he told me about you guys", they say. Fancy that…It is such a small world!
The roads sweep gently back and forth leading into the Jasper area. The traffic slow traffic is now a blessing causing you to ride extra slower than usual, therefore, allowing you ample time to wonder, soak, day dream and immerse yourself within this lush wilderness. Jasper National Park is the largest National Park in the Canadian Rockies and has been declared a World Heritage Site. The park is home 70 species of mammals that include the elk, caribou, moose, mule deer, white-tailed deer, mountain goats, big-horn sheep, grizzly bear, black bear, coyote, beaver, rocky mountain pika, hoary marmot, grey wolf, mountain lion and wolverine. The landscape includes jagged mountains, forests, alpine meadows, glaciers, ice fields, hot springs, lakes and waterfalls. All this can be summed up in 2 words…Simply Stunning!
Our basement bungalow was comfy and cozy and within walking distance to downtown Jasper. We were able to park the bikes off the street which was also convenient. After settling in, we familiarized ourselves with the historical township, signed up for a free town night tour commencing later that evening then parked ourselves at a roof top table and enjoyed a pizza while watching the sunset. The walking night tour was pretty cool, a tad spooky and lasted 2 hours. I love free tours! Jasper was originally occupied by the indigenous Haida people was a fur trading post along the Yellowhead Pass Corridor that, with the arrival of the railway, began to establish itself as a flourishing township. Jasper's charm lingers as the original train station, post office, fire hall, Jackman and Robson House remain intact from their early pioneer days.
We couldn't have got luckier with the weather. The skies were fresh, bright and blue. The sun was warm and inviting…a perfect day to ride and explore the Jasper wilderness. We spent the day riding around the park soaking in this amazing wilderness. At times is was hard to ride any distance at all. There was a picture perfect short around every corner! I think that you will understand when you scan through the pictures of the day