Day 11 : Tuesday 5th October 2004
Free in Jasper
As with Banff, we decided to stay one day in Jasper. After a filling breakfast (of you know what!) in a local cafe, we headed over to the gondola to go up Whistlers Mountain. I had been up two years ago and the views are simply breathtaking. Luckily the weather, which had been amazing up until now, stayed beautiful for the whole day.
Once you reach the top, after a 7 minute gondola ride, there is another 300-400m walk to the summit of the mountain. This may sound easy, but the gradient is fairly steep and being at 8,000 ft the air is rather thin. So it took us about an hour to reach the top, stopping every so often to catch our breath and admire the view. Once at the summit, we continued walking round to another peak some 200m further on. This provided further beautiful views of Jasper and the tree filled valleys around. The view from the top of Whistler's Mountain is one of the most breathtaking I have ever had the chance to see.
We got back to the gondola station and decided to stop for a quick lunch before plotting our next moves. We had intended to hire bicycles and do some rides, but I was not keen. I'm not the greatest cyclist in the world (understatement!) so I wasn't keen on cycling.
So we decided to head up to Pyramid Lake and, if possible, take some kayaks out on the water. In the end, we hired one kayak and one paddle boat (I think my friend was as keen on boats as I was on a bicycle!). This was to prove to be an enormous error. Once out of the small cove where the boat hire place was situated, the wind whipped up into quite a strong force. Our paddle boat was totally incapable of powering against it, or of steering in a straight line, so we ended drifting to the other end of the lake over the next hour! Even my other friend in a kayak had difficulty in paddling against the wind.
Eventually we ditched on the rocky shore at the end of the lake, lugged the boat out of the water and I went in search of help. Luckily we were quite near the road, so I flagged down a passing car and the kind occupants drove me back to the boat house, who were able to come and rescue us. What a palaver!
After all that excitement, we just headed over to the Jasper Park Lodge for a look-see and a wonder round their beautiful grounds. After a long walk and a while sitting by one of the nearby lakes, the weather seemed to be taking a turn for the worse, so we returned to the hotel and prepared for evening dinner.
Unfortunately during the night, there were some particularly drunk young men fighting in the next door room and in the corridor . This kept us awake for a while and I considered calling the front desk, but in the end things quietened down and we got off to sleep eventually (well I did, but I think my friend was kept awake by my snoring - ooops, sorry!).
Jasper Park Lodge