Jasper




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Jasper, Jasper National Park, August 2009

Finally we reached Jasper in the heart of Jasper National Park! The park is a vast area of mountains, forests and lakes and the park is no less than 10,800 square kilometers. That is a quarter of the size of countries like Denmark and Switzerland!

Click each photo to enlarge


Jasper, Jasper National Park, August 2009

Jasper has a population of around 5,000 people, however, in the summer time, this number increases to around 25,000! During our stay in Jasper National Park we saw loads of wildlife like bighorn sheep, elks, squirrels, foxes, white mountain goat and we even saw 2 bears - non-toy animal that is!


Overlander, August 2009

We had great use of our rented Toyota Yaris and McBear said it was very fuel efficient.


Overlander, August 2009

We stayed at the lovely Overlander Mountain Lodge near Pocahontas at the border of the national park. From the lodge we had great views to the rockies. Roger was hoping to buy a share in the lodge...


Overlander, August 2009

We enjoyed the lounge, which like the rest of the lodge is built from timber and the lodge itself dates back to the 1930s.


Lake Maligne, Jasper National Park, August 2009

The next morning we went to Maligne Lake, another glacier lake. This lake gets more than 70 % of its water from glaciers, so the water is very cold. The lake is narrow, however, it's long and stretches for miles after miles.


Lake Maligne, Jasper National Park, August 2009

We wished to visit the famous Spirit Island at the other end of Maligne Lake. To get there, the only possible way was by boat. Here we are enjoying the views with Captain Katya steering the boat safely.
During wintertime, the temperature drops to minus 30 degrees Centegrade and even lower, so the lake is frozen with a 2 meter thick layer of ice.
"Have you ever hit an iceberg while sailing?" Roger wanted to know.
Captain Katya said no.


Lake Maligne, Japer National Park, August 2009

Lots of people wish to visit the famous and picturesque Spirit Island. And no wonder. It's a tiny island with an unforgettable atmosphere. The local tourist company has set up a 225,000 Dollar restroom nearby! McBear was delighted to learn that it was run by solar power.


British Columbia, August 2009

The next day we headed west until we reached the border between Alberta and its neighbouring state, British Columbia. British Columbia is a state nearly the size of France and Spain put together so is a vast area.


Moose Lake, British Columbia, August 2009

On our way we passed another long stretching lake, this time Moose Lake. At this stage we were getting a bit tired and grumpy.
"All this business being taken in and out of the bag wears out my fur!" Roger was complaining.
"If this continues, I shall write a report and send it to TARF - which means I shall sign and approve it myself!" McBear declared.
"It's easy for you to complain!" Tom was complaining. "I am always at the bottom of the bag with the rest of you guys sitting on top of me!"


Mount Robson Park, British Columbia, August 2009

It was Roger's idea to head west as he as part of our preparations for mountaineering wanted us to see Mount Robson. At nearly 4,000 meters Mount Robson is the highest mountain in the Canadian rockies.
"Now, THERE'S a mountain to climb!" He said but added that it might be a bit too big a mouthfull for us.
"We'll do it next year!" Kevin said optimistically.


Tete Jaune Cache, British Columbia, August 2009

We went as far as Tete Jaune Cache, which was a place McBear had found using satelite photos on Google Maps. McBear thought it might be a nice town to visit and go for coffee to finish off our Mount Robson trip.
But when we arrived Tete Jaune Cache, there was no town! The closest we got to something looking like a city centre was the community hall. We knocked the door hoping somebody would let us in and give us some coffee, but it was all quiet and locked up!


Overlander, August 2009

Then came the day we had all been waiting for: M-day or Mountaineering day! Roger made sure we got up early, had breakfast and went out to find a suitable site to set up a base camp along the Athabasca River. Before departure Roger gathered the team to have our photo taken in front of the Overlander Lodge.


Athabasca River, Jasper National Park, August 2009

We set up our basecamp at the bank of the Athabasca River. Since Tom has a tendency to snorring, we put his sleeping bag at the entrance of the tent. After dinner, we sat down to relax and to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
"Ahh! This is life" Roger sighed and leaned back.
"I thought you only wanted to enjoy 5 star hotels" Kevin said.
"But this IS 5 stars!" Roger pointed out. "We've got everything: Clean air, mountains and forests, rivers filled with fresh water and fish! What more do you want? Actually, McBear, what are the requirements for 5 stars?"
"Well, we'd need a certain amount of lift capacity per guest, but since we're only 4 bears in a tent, I'd say a single lift would suffice..."
"What about a bar?" Tom wanted to know.
"Yup; a bar, a restaurant, room service, telephone... internet... laundry..."
"NO!" Roger interrupted. "No laundry, thanks! We did plenty of that in Colorado last year!"
"So... McBear, in reality..." Kevin worked out and continued, "... this is 1 star, right?"
"Eh... well, yeah, I suppose so, but dont' tell Roger, please, we had 2 stars in Greece and it was a nightmare getting Roger inside...!"
Roger started laughing.


Mt. Whistler, Jasper National Park, August 2009

Next morning we got up early. Before the initial ascent, Roger gathered the team for a final briefing.
"Now, are you all set? Okay, and remember: Just do what we have been practising at home!"
Roger then tied a rope around his waist and started climbing.


Mount Whistler, Jasper National Park, August 2009

Having secured the safety rope and rope ladder, Roger called on Tom to start climbing. Next it was McBear's turn. McBear, struggling to put his paw right in the rope ladder, felt grateful for all the training they had been through at home.


Mt. Whistler, Jasper National Park, August 2009

A lot of hard climbing - and a gondola ride - later, we found ourselves near the top of Mount Whistler at 2200 meters. It was very cold. While Roger was helping Kevin getting up the rope ladder, McBear was stunned by the views. Across the valley the Pyramid Mountain was towering skyhigh. What an incredible achievement this was!


Mount Whistler, Jasper National Park, August 2009

We walked over to the cafe to get some well deserved coffee. The view was fantastic and deep down the valley we could see Jasper town and the Athabasca River. Then we took the gondola down...


Calgary Int. Airport, August 2009

But all stories must come to an end and so did our mountaineering adventure. We packed our gear, started the Toyota Yaris and went all the way back to Calgary International Airport. Here, we waited to catch the plane back to O'Hare Airport in Chicago.


Renaissance Hotel, Chicago, August 2009

We stayed one last night in Chicago at the Renaissance hotel. We had a fantastic suite with a large bed.


Renaissance Hotel, Chicago, August 2009

There was even a separate sitting room with a couch, arm chair and office desk!

Having left his own laptop at home, McBear borrowed Frances' mini laptop.
"Are you going to check up on the latest TARF news?" Roger asked.
"Yup! And I am letting the bears at home know that we are all safe and returning to Dublin now..."


Preparations    Chicago    Lake Louise    Jasper   


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