Jasper, Alberta, and heading south 9/6 - 9/9, 2011
Jasper Nat'l Park is the largest of Canada's seven national parks, and the Town of Jasper is located in the heart of the park. This is as far north as we'll camp. We wanted to spend the Labor Day holiday here, but the campgrounds were full. OK. Yet, when we arrived on Tuesday (the day after labor Day), all the campgrounds had closed for the season, except Whistlers! So, Whistlers it was, though no hookups were available, thus dry camping it was for three nites (no problem for us). Nice site, too. This is elk rutting season in these parts and warning signs were posted to stay out of their way (again, no problem!). Hearing male elks bugling is quite a sound - wow! Quite a few elk around, too. We were fortunate to have sunny and warm weather for our entire visit.
Jimmy already in the pool (left of the black pole)!
Here's looking back atcha, Jimmy! (foreground, right)
We wanted to raft on the glacial-milky Athabasca River (which runs thru town at a pretty good clip!), but the rental outfit timing didn't jell with ours, so we said "no thanx." After Labor Day, services and recreational opportunities narrow quite a bit in the north. We did, however, drive the spectacular Yellowhead Hwy east 60km (36 miles) to soak in Miette Hot Springs Pools - two big pools with hot (100-104F) water temps. So relaxing. Almost tripped over the big horn sheep on the stairway as we were leaving!
The next day, we hiked (upper and lower) Malign Canyon, an awesome, deep and narrow chasm, cut by raging Malign River 150' below. We hiked from Sixth Bridge to First Bridge and back, along and peering down at the tumultuous river - with its countless waterfalls. I took a whole lot of photos... and then accidentally deleted the whole shebang the next morning, (sigh...) except for the two pictures above near Sixth Bridge where the river levels out. OH WELL! Trust me, the photos were great!
Sign next to one of the many salmon habitation tributaries!
We also stopped at Jasper's indoor Farmer's Mkt on Wed afternoon (bought a cantaloupe; not much fresh produce available), and the town library. Ate a yummy pizza in town after hiking! We both liked this small alpine town better than Banff - less crowded and more open - friendlier somehow. Lots to do here, for sure.
However, it's time we thought about returning to the States, as prices in Canada - camping fees, gasoline, groceries - are more than we want to spend, esp with the USA losing dollar-to-dollar ratio. Unless things somehow, sometime turn around, price-wise, sad to say, this may be our last Canada sojourn.