Oct
4
2012

A birthday in the Rockies!

Driving into Jasper has defiantly given us the most amazing scenery so far. The mountains look amazing but even the tops of them (3000m-3500m) don’t have any snow, so it shows just how warm it gets here in the summer compared to the Alps. The amount of trees once you get high up is unbelievable, it just goes on forever.

It was my birthday on Tuesday the 2nd and what a great few days I’ve had. Woke up on Tuesday morning to it snowing and all those mountains that were lovely and green the day before have got their first snow, so we are really lucky to have seen them in both conditions just a day apart. The snow is great but makes me want to go skiing which unfortunately will have to wait as all the Canadian Rocky resorts don’t open their season until end of October.

We intended to do some hiking on my birthday but due to the heavy snow and poor visibility we decided to go and visit the Miette hot springs instead. The drive along the road (only 56km away from Jasper) was epic with some lovey hairpins and white snowy verges. The springs were not as I expected (small lakes or steaming pools), but were actually 2 swimming pools that were naturally heated by the volcanic activity. They have to cool them down naturally as the springs are around 70C according to the information boards around. One of the pools was at 38C and one at 40C and there were also two plunge pools at 6C and 10C but I couldn’t tempt Abby into these. It was amazing sitting there in the lovely warm water with the snow falling onto us!

Wednesday the snow had stopped and although there was only a dusting within Jasper itself, there was around 10” to a foot as we drove to Maligne Lake to do some hiking. We had planned to do the route Opal hills which was a 14km hike round trip but the park had closed it due to ‘Presence of Grizzlies’! We opted for the Bald hills route instead which was only 13.2km but also looked over the other side of the lake.

As we hadn’t prepared for hiking in the snow, so the choice of attire was a tricky one and Abby proved this by getting changed 3 times in the back of the car. The snow was around 1 foot at the start of the trial so Abby opted for full snow gear, including salopettes and her ski jacket. I assumed it was going to be quite warm at the top so went for just 3 quarters and a t-shirt with my body warmer. It started off fairly easy going but half way up we did have to engage 4 wheel drive and scramble. It was near 2 foot in places so I made Abby plough the way as my legs were cold. The views when we got to the top were amazing and well worth the now frozen ankles I had!

The way down would have been 1000% better if we’d had a sledge or some skis but we never. :-( When we eventually got back to the car we decided to both partake in a cup of hot chocolate in a nearby lodge café. If you know me you will understand that’s its completely unheard of for me to have any kind of hot drinks at all, but I am happy to say I am not converted and all it did was burn my tongue!

The drive down back to Jasper was made by seeing our first close up Bear, Moose and Wolf! Abby shouted at me to get back in the car as I ran towards the bear armed with only the camera. I only got as close as 10 meters where another woman was standing taking a photo. She didn’t look like a very quick runner so I knew if things went wrong the bear would probably get to her first!

 

So all in all a great couple of days in Jasper, we are staying her until Friday at which point we will make the 6 hour drive down the Ice-fields parkway (going to be amazing!) to just outside Calgary where we are going to stay with some friends of Abby’s for a couple of days to a week!

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