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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Jasper National Park ~ The Majestic Paradise

How is that for Majestic?
People in the Grande Cache campground were moving around and striking a lot of their tents. We later discovered that a lot of them were participants in a so called “Death Marathon” running up a mountain. Took a few more pictures and off to the south for today’s adventure.

Purple Mountain Majesty!
Warm Day ~ Kids Playing with Glacial Ice ~ Mt Cavell!
The town of Hinton was our resupply point before entering “Jasper National Park”. The day was warm and sunny! The blue sky with a few puffy white clouds made our entrance to Jasper majestic. The mountains in a distance had a slight blue haze, but as we got closer the haze disappeared. The traffic was getting heavy and moving at turnpike speed. We soon came to a halt as the tail lights on cars ahead came on. We thought it might be an accident, but no, it was some Rams that were nonchalantly grazing along the road. My first impression was that this would not be a great experience with all of the traffic. Miles down the road the same thing happened. This time it was an Elk with extra-large rack. He was on the edge of a lake munching on whatever he munches on. The mountains were up close and breathtaking as we approached the town of Jasper. A lot of the traffic continued on the main highway as we entered the town. Charming is the word for this tourist community. The railroad station, the shops the mountain vistas in the background gave us a new perspective of Jasper NP. That is not to say that we were looking for a “Tourist Trap Town,” but charm and layout made us feel like we were in a town in the Swiss Alps. The     orders of business… Visitor’s Center to find a campground, get a site because they fill-up quickly at the end of the day. Whistlers Campground was a short distance from town and our choice. There was only dry camping available when we arrived in midafternoon. That didn’t bother us and we were assigned to site “18U”.

Hiking the back country!
The visitor center had given us a must visit agenda and we wasted no time to check-it off. The first was ount Edith Cavell (named after a WWI heroine).  A switchback road climbs so high on the mountain ,that they should’ve been serving peanuts and drinks. Excellent views of the Angel Glacier. We took the self-guided trail to the North Face for spectacular views of cascading waterfalls coming off the glacier. To our left was another glacier which was calving into a small pond. I took so many pictures and I think they are all keepers. I picked up a couple of rocks for a sculpture that I am planning for back home. Yes, I know this is not allowed in National Parks, but this is such a special place and there are billions of these around. We made it back to the parking lot only to find a bunch of oriental kids locked out of their car. I took a coat hanger and assisted them to do the break-in… two no, no’s in fifteen minutes. (Bad Boy)

The “Tow-Haul” button of the truck really helped out going down the mountain. Truckers refer to this as the “Jake Brake”. It kept our speed down without over using the brakes. 

What's for lunch
One the way down we saw a mom “Grizzly Bear” and cub grazing along the road. They didn’t even look up as I took a bunch of pictures.

Tonight, we went to Ranger talk at the open air amphitheater at 9 pm. The interesting thing about this is that an Elk walked right next to the bleachers and did some grazing. Later, the sky had multi-colored hues as a thunder storm was approaching. I think I also got some good pictures of this. Oh, the daylight is now disappearing during the middle night. The sun doesn’t set until around 9:45pm, it is getting closer to our normal routine.

That is what we did and saw

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