The Rockies Rock! (Part 2)

Trip Start May 06, 2010
Trip End Dec 17, 2010

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Where I stayed
Beauty Creek Hostel

Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 2 of the tour and we set out of Rampart Creek heading towards Jasper.  We soon came to an excellent view point which is known as the Big Bend and provides a fantastic view over the hills you had to previously climb to get there.  These roads are great for cyclists.  Yes there are hills, great big hills, but they tend to be long and steep rather than short and steep which is much better. And what comes up, must come down!! Free wheeling down them hills must be exhilarating, I would have loved it! 

Our first stop of Day 2 was the Colombia Ice fields, specifically Athabasca Glacier.  This is a huge glacier which you can access via custom made buses.  The cost of the excursion was $42 and in all honesty none of us thought it was worth it.  From the main building you get transferred to a coach and then transferred again onto the snow buses.  They take you up a ridiculously steep incline onto the glacier itself.  Once there you get 20 minutes to take photos and fill up your water bottle from the crystal clear glacier water which runs through the area and is obviously ice cold!  My disappointment with the experience is that you don't see anything from up above different to what you can see from the main building far below.  I thought we would be taken deeper onto the glacier fields but it really was a short trip.  To me the whole trip is really about paying a lot of money to get some ice water.  I really wouldn't recommend anyone on a budget to bother with it as like me you will regret it and just think what you could better have spent the money on ie a nights hostel accommodation and still have change!

After the icefield we went to Tangle Falls which is where we stopped for lunch- at the top of the falls!  It was a steep climb and mildly scary in places but how often do you get to have lunch at the top of a waterfall??  On the way back down one of the girls suggested going under the water.  Not surprisingly nobody really took her on but then Shelly thought it was a great idea so the two of them ran fully clothed into the waterfall!!  Much girly screaming later they emerged, laughing hysterically at what they had done but immensely pleased with themselves!!  I have to say I wish I had done it, they really did enjoy themselves and it was the talk of the tour!   (At this point I should mention that our tour consisted of all girls, it will be relevant later!).

We then proceeded to Sunwapta Falls which were quite small and perfectly pleasant but certainly not as memorable as other places we visited on the tour.  We then went to Horseshoe Lake.  Following the aforementioned waterfall incident a few of us were starting to feel a bit braver, especially as we were now starting to bond as a group.  Talk therefore led to going for a swim in a lake and as it was sunny, it was generally felt that there was no time like the present!  So, we all donned our bikinis and went down the trail to the lake.  I was the first to jump/slightly fall in!  The rocks were really slippy and although everyone else seemed fine, I couldn't walk on them at all!  The water was absolutely freezing but it was really very refreshing!!  I would never jump in a lake in early summer back home, but here it seemed perfectly sensible!  All the other girls also jumped in and two other people came along who turned out to be the couple that were running the hostel that we were staying at that evening!  Ed was much better than us, he climbed some rocks to do a massive dive into the lake complete with a few somersalts on the way down- way to go!  After going/falling in (that would just be me then!) a second time, we decided that the swim was better than any shower!  We then went back to the van and headed to our lodge for the night, Beauty Creek Hostel.

This hostel has no electricty and all water is sourced from the creek itself so it has no running water and no drinking water either. All water had to boiled before use and you had to be really careful with the supplies so as not to waste them.  It is clearly hard work to lug barrels of it to and from the creek!  This hostel certainly defined exactly what a wilderness hostel is all about! 

Again, on paper it sounds like it should be a nightmare but it was without question everyones favourite hostel.  The couple that ran it were lovely, very welcoming and extremely hospitable.  We all chatted around the table as Shelly prepared our dinner and after our meal we transferred outside to sit by the firepit to wile away the rest of the evening. Ed had many tales from travellers who have come through the hostel and was a fantastic host who had us in stitches of laughter many times. 

This hostel also sits on a creek, as the name indicates, but it is much more beautiful than Rampart Creek.  Here, the water is like a mini river running behind the hostel building which has a marsh behind it and mountains behind that. We could hear calls from Canada geese in the nearby marsh and humming birds were flying around the garden which I didn't expect to see at all.  They really are tiny and their wing speed is amazing, it really is just a blur.  Every so often they would fly towards the building, realise they were going to hit a window and instantly change direction. This all happened at an amazing speed, split second, probably less.  It was fantastic to watch.  Later in the evening our hosts directed us to a lake at the end of the grounds.  The water in the lake was so still it was like glass.  I have never seen water that still before.  In the background the mountains were reflected onto the water and it looked like nature was holding a mirror to the sky, it was simply stunning. I stayed there for ages, just taking in the view and relaxing in the stillness and calmness of the area.  It is this tranquility that makes Beauty Creek special.  You feel like you are the only person for miles around and that this beautiful area has been put there just for you. Late at night the isolation of the place meant that there were many stars in the sky and Solen and I stayed up until 1am by the camp fire just absorbing the atmosphere, totally relaxed. 

Beauty Creek was without doubt my most favourite place on the tour and actually one of my most favourite places ever. I took photos of the lake at night as the sun was setting and some more early the following morning, when you view them you will see why I fell in love with it.
The next morning we had to leave as we were heading for Jasper.  I was really sorry to depart Beauty Creek, I could have quite happily stayed there for another few days. Infact I felt like I could quite happily have stayed there forever.  If you are in this area then I couldn't recommend this hostel highly enough and I would definately say to stay here, I promise you won't regret it.

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