American Independence Day in Canada

Trip Start Apr 20, 2012
Trip End Sep 01, 2012

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What I did
Alabasco Falls

Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Wednesday, July 4, 2012

We woke to a blue sky and sun shining on the puddles that last night's rain had created, so, staying in a motel had been a good idea after all. We had breakfast in our room, loaded the car and were back on the road to Jasper by 9am. The first two hours of the drive were in the sunshine and we followed a winding river that was grey and swollen from snow melt. Then the clouds moved back in and it began to lightly rain and the tops of the mountains disappeared under the grey clouds and fog and, it also looked like there was fresh snow falling on the tops (this was later confirmed when the sun came out in the evening). We rolled into Jasper after 1:00, but this was a later arrival as we crossed our first time zone on our way back to the East coast and we are now losing an hour each time we cross a time zone instead of gaining one. This has been the first clear indication of our trip moving back towards where we started. As well, this has been another day of synchronicity as despite being in Canada, today is the Fourth of July; American Independence day, dating back to, I believe and hope I didn't get this wrong, 1776 and today is our 76th day since leaving New Zealand. What a crazy and whirlwind 76 days it has been, hard to believe we have another 44 days on the road until we settle back in Connecticut….
Anyway, I digress. After arriving in Jasper and having sandwiches in the car due to the cold wind and swirling misty rain, we decided to go for a short drive up the road to see Pyramid lake. This was only 7 kilometers out of Jasper and on the way we saw an endangered Woodland Caribou and a couple of elk cows. We got to the pretty little alpine lake and saw a sign talking about the local wolf packs. Apparently, a domestic dog had been killed recently on the beach at the shore of the lake and the sign showed the territory of the wolf packs and how to behave if you encounter them. Bear spray was again indicated as one of the best forms of defense. After looking at the lake, it looked as if the cloud was beginning to lift so we drove back to Jasper for a walk around the town and a stop at the Information Center to get some badges for the kid and see the weather report as it was still, despite our hopes of lifting cloud and lightening skies, quite cold, dull and wet outside. The report was encouraging so after a short explore of Jasper, we headed out of town to our pre-booked campsite at the Whistlers Campground which has over 700 sites!  Jasper is a quiet little town tucked high in the Canadian Rockies and it has a good mix of restaurants, the occasional fast food joint, albeit in tasteful buildings, camping and outdoor stores and tourist shops. During our quick explore, we stopped at a local bakery and the kids got Nanaimo bars; a local chocolate, coconut and icing sweet square. 
On we went to our campsite and, sure enough true to form, as we pulled into our site (one of the muddier ones), the rain started to come down again and we quickly pitched the tent, wiped the floor dry, hung the two extra tarps over the tent and one more over the picnic table and just as it was all stretched taut and angled correctly, the rain stopped. Nothing like a very well protected campsite to keep the rain away….We had a lovely dinner and then with coffee and tea in hand, we went for an evening drive in the hopes of spotting some wildlife. We certainly had some success by coming across a small herd of elk, young and old, grazing by the side of the highway. We had no luck with finding the species on the top of our list; wolves, bears and moose, but instead on our travels we came across the most amazing waterfall, Alabasco Falls. This waterfall was a raging torrent due to the spring/summer melt and all came together through a small canyon that was only about 15 feet wide and dropped quickly and dramatically to the river 300 feet further below. There was a great trail all around the falls and we were able to see it from many different perspectives and truly appreciate the roar, power and beauty of these falls. The other great thing about tonight's drive was that the clouds finally cleared and we could see blue sky and all the way to the top of the Rocky Mountains that rise all around this area. This was finally the view and sight that we were waiting for and it did indeed match our expectations for this part of the world. The drive tonight and the views and sights certainly made all the slogging through the cold and rain worthwhile. We hope that the fine weather will continue for the next 5 nights at least, as we make our way down the Canadian Rockies and into Montana.
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