Monday, September 15, 2014

30 Day Road Trip to the Rockies, Days 3 & 4

Saturday Sept 13

When I woke up at Kinbasket Lake it was really foggy and all the mountains surrounding me where no longer visible.  I packed up my stuff and had some granola for breakfast. When I left the sun was coming out and I could finally see some of the mountain peaks across the lake. 

I got back on the road and made a quick stop in Valemount. The town's slogan is "let the mountains move you", which I quite liked. 

About an hour later I entered Mount Robson Provincial Park and by noon I had crossed the border in to Alberta and arrived in Jasper. 

I spend some time exploring the city of Jasper and had lunch there. It was the first time on my trip I was able to find wifi and check in with the rest of the world. I had planned on staying at the Hosteling International in Jasper, but once I arrived there, I was told that they where already booked full for the night. Jasper only has a small overpriced grocery store, so I decided to drive to Hinton to buy some groceries for the next few days I was going to be in Jasper. The drive to Hinton was beautiful! Since it was getting close to dinner time, I decided to stay there for a little while and ordered a pizza. The pizza place had free wifi so I was finally able to update my blog and catch up on some emails. When I was about to leave the restaurant I was asked by two nice ladies how tall I am. I get asked this question almost every day but they this time it turned in to a much longer conversation about religion and my travels. At the end we both exchanged business cards and I promised one of the ladies, that the next time I was in the Netherlands again, I would send her a post card.

I drove back towards Jasper and decided to spend the night near Maligne Lake. It is advertised as the must visit and most scenic lake in the area, so it was high on my list of places to go near Jasper. The lake was beautiful but it had became completely clouded. I still decided to go for a short hike near the lake, hoping it would clear up a little and I could take some night time photos. I stayed out till 10pm, at which time it had became completely dark, but still the sky didn't clear up. I hiked back with my headlamp on and quickly set up to go to sleep.

Sunday Sept 14

I had set my alarm early, hoping to catch the sunrise but when I got up it was still completely clouded, so I slept in a little longer. I drove to Maligne Canyon where I had breakfast. I had granola with some yogurt ad chocolate milk. that I had bought the previous day. It was the breakfast of champions considering I was camping and it always tastes extra good when your view is better than the one on the package. Nothing to complain so far. 

I went back to Jasper and attended Church at "the little white church in the rockies" also know as the Jasper Baptist Church. Everyone there was very friendly, the pastor personally introduced himself to me and I was later invited to come join them for a baptizing and a bible study the next day. I actually thought it be cool to go to the baptizing and there was also a BBQ shortly following, so I asked for directions to the lake. I made it up to Pyramid Lake and it was so beautiful that by the time I was there I didn't pay very much attention and I must have missed the spot they where meeting at since I didn't find them. 

None the less I enjoyed the Lake and shot a short time-lapse video. The sky had now cleared up and it was sunny and starting to get nice and warm. I still had some pizza left over, which I had for lunch while at the lake. 

After lunch I went back to Maligne Canyon for some hiking and exploring. The Canyon was cool to see but a little to much of a tourist attraction for my liking, although I did meet a nice couple from the Netherlands who lived close to where I grew up and one of them even had a friend who worked at the hospital where my dad's wife works, so they probably even knew each other. Such a big world, yet so small! To escape all the tourists, I wondered of on one of the side trails that went up a really steep hill. At the top I had a beautiful view of the Rockies all to myself, as apparently the short climb was to much for all the tourists. I shot another short time-lapse before returning to Jasper.

I drove around town for a while hoping to find wifi somewhere but even the library didn't have wifi as it was closed for remodeling work. I gave up and stopped at the visitor center to get some info and make plans for my next 2 days here. To my surprise they had wifi at the visitor center so I was able to post some pictures from earlier in the day to my Facebook and check a few things. After that I went to the hostel to check in for the next 2 days and luckily this time they still had plenty of room since the weekend was now over. 

I went back to Pyramid lake to watch the sunset and do some more (time-lapse) photography. The sunset was not much to write home about since there are large mountains everywhere surrounding the lake but it was mostly clear so I decided to stay and wait for it to get dark so I could do some nighttime photography. As soon as the sun disappeared behind the mountains, it started to get really cold out, so I decided to wait in the car until it was dark enough and in the meantime I was able to catch up on my blog.

Jasper National Park is the world's second largest dark sky preserve. The skies stayed clear and by 10pm it was dark enough to see the Milky Way! I stayed out for about an hour, taking pictures and enjoying the clear skies. After that I went to the hostel. It was nice to sleep on a real bed and take a shower.

More to follow....

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