Sitting in Starbucks….

Edmonton to Jasper

We awoke on Monday morning in the clouds.  We were in Wabasso Campground off Highway 93 between Jasper and Banff, near the Athabasca Falls. When we climbed out of our tent, the clouds were hanging in the trees and over the river close to our campsite.  What a wonderful sight.

We had left Edmonton at about 9:30 Sunday morning and had decided to drive to Jasper only.  We wanted to be able to go for a bike ride when we got to Jasper. The drive was fast and the traffic was fairly light until we hit the park gate and where the highway turns into a double lane rather than a four laner. We were going to ride down 93 toward Banff about 25 km, so it made sense to camp along 93 somewhere.

As we turned onto 93 we noticed a line up at the entrance to Wapiti Campground – mostly those dreaded RVs.   We kept driving through the park gate and turned onto the Marmot Ski Hill Road, continued along 93A until we came to Wabasso.  If you ever want to camp in the Jasper area, go to Wabasso.  It was not crowded at all and the tent sites are all  good.

We were warned about a bear in the campground.  The young woman said not to worry about him, he is just eating berries and assured us he didn’t like to eat cyclists.  We found our site, quickly set up our tent, changed and then drove past Athabasca Falls down onto 93 to start our ride.  We decided not to ride from the campground as the young woman at the campground entrance said the road is not in good condition and there is a lot of tourist traffic on it – safety would be a concern.

Parked the vehicle in the entrance to the Athabasca Hostel and headed south on 93.  It was a steady slog uphill.  I remember riding this road when Murray and I rode Jasper – Lake Louise many years back.  I wasn’t in shape back them and the hills killed me. I remembered one particular hill fairly close to Jasper – it was the equivalent to about 3 or 4 Gallagher Hills in Edmonton.  Rather steep and goes on forever.  I knew it was coming so around every corner I would look to see if it was there.  Sure enough, we rounded a corner and there it sat.  I’m gonna kill you this time, I thought to myself.  See, I have been strengthening my bod with a trainer for the past while and I wanted to see what I could do. Well, that hill did NOT get me! I killed it! May not have been fast, but it was strong and steady and I felt great at the top (rather than feeling like I could die).

I rode to 22 km and turned around when it started to rain on us.  Mur kept going for another 3 km, to get his 50 km in.  You know what happens when we climb steadily up and up and up and go up 4 or 5 major hills?  You SMOKE IT going down! What a fast ride back.  I topped out at 56 kph on the big hill, Mur topped out at 77 kph.  I didn’t pedal at the top, he did.

Wabasso Campsite

By the time we finished setting up, having supper and cleaning up, it started to get cold and rain.  We piled into the tent and read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any more.  Then woke up in the clouds.

Jasper to Hope

We decided to drive drive drive today and get close to Vancouver.  We thought we would head to the island on Tuesday rather than Wednesday and camp for one night on the island.  Something we haven’t done since the kids were younger. We pulled into Hope at about 4 and both of us had had enough of the vehicle.  I am sitting here typing at the picnic table in the Coquihalla Campground right in Hope.  Had to dry out our tent, sleeping bags and mats as everything was damp – either from the rain or from the condensation in the tent.  Didn’t take long to dry out. Drive a few hundred kms and change weather systems – love it.  I am sitting here in pants, shirt and fuzzie at 8:30 and last night at this time, I was wearing pants, 2 shirts, fuzzie, jacket, hat and freezing to death.

It’s getting dark so I am signing off.  Good night. Sleep tight.  Don’t let the bears nibble your toes….or something like that.

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