July 29th, 2011
I was up early, packed up the tent (it was smaller than when the store packed it) and hit the road.
I would be riding in a valley all day, cloud shrouded mountains to either side. Going through some of the passes I would be in the clouds themselves.
I had asked at the Jasper/Banff ranger station what I should stop and see, and she immediately recommended Peyto Lake. When I saw the sign I pulled in, right ahead of four cars of Asians. There were also a fair number of Germans walking around, and I realized no one was speaking English.
The walk from the parking lot to the overlook was short, only 10 minutes according to the sign, through heavy forested mountain.
I got a little creative with the camera. The brief views through the trees were pretty spectacular, but not as good as what was at the overlook.
Awesome, right? You should go.
I feel the need to mention, while on the short walk to the overlook, it snowed some. Not long, not much, and at the overlook itself it was more of a sleety precipitation. But it was definitely snow, and definitely in July. Late July, even.
After enjoying the view (Not for long, the overlook was packed) I headed back to the bike and got back on the road. I freely admit at some point during the day I put on my heated jacket liner and gloves. It was chilly. The views were great though.
Icefields Parkway, though, is called that because of it’s glaciers. Jasper National Park’s glaciers are looking in much better shape than the ones in Glacier (which will be Glacier-less in 10-20 years)
Again, I shouldn’t need to remind you it was surprisingly cold around all the ice.
Looking at my rear tire I could start to see a wear bar. The tire still had a fair amount of tread, but I am paranoid about tires and tend to replace them early. I decided I would stop in Jasper and see if there was anyway I could get a tire in Prince George, which was the next large town on my route.
Then, I got back on the road and enjoyed the view.
One thing I hadn’t see yet were bears. Everyone had said the Icefields Parkway was going to have some, and in Banff the golf course was supposedly so infested golfers had to carry bear spray. During the day I had seen two, but one walked into the woods as I pulled up, and the other was pretty far up a tree and hard to see.
Third time is the charm, though
I wasn’t that close. In fact I was still sitting on my bike, helmet still on, and ready to go, since while I wasn’t that close the bear was only 25-30 yards away. More amusing, though I didn’t take a picture (and should have) was the crowd of people walking along the road filming the bear. If the bear was feeling like a snack they were pretty much out of luck, and were closer to the bear than I was. I wondered if that was why bear attacks are higher this year. More stupid people around.
I stopped in Jasper, located a tire of the right size in Prince George and arranged to be there the next day, then found a campground in McBride, about two hours south of Prince George (and two hours north of Jasper), set up my tent, grilled some brats (which I am pretty sure are smaller than brats in the USA) and relaxed.
as an aside, and I completely forgot to take any pictures, I met three KLR riders in McBride from Wisconsin. They camped at the same place, and it was amusing since we all lived within a couple hours of each other.
Right now I am in sitting in Prince George, having just written the last few blogs for posting. The new time (Avon Venom) is installed and I am taking a rest day to get the blog up to day and a few other chores that life on the road forces. Tomorrow, August 1st, I get back on the road for Alaska.