I love to travel. I love to see new sites, experience new things and just ‘live’. KWIM?
I’ve often thought about buying a world map and marking all the places I’ve been too, and perhaps one day I will…but in all the years that I’ve wanted to do it, I never did. Why? Because looking at a blank map reminded me that I gave up on a passion that I’ve always had – to travel. But…I don’t always have to go on a plane or a bus or even a train to see something new, right?
I’ve lived in Alberta for over ten years now and I am ashamed to admit that I’ve never made the time to travel to Jasper. Banff, yes, but Jasper? It always seemed too far away, and really, what’s one more mountain?
Jasper is beautiful and awe inspiring. I wish I had been the passenger in my vehicle and could stare out my window for the whole drive. When I heard that the drive from Banff to Jasper was one of the most scenic drives in the world…they weren’t kidding! But don’t believe google maps when it tells you the drive is only a little over three hours. From Calgary to Jasper (both ways) it took us seven – eight hours. They don’t mention the windy roads, the slow moving vehicles or the amazing sites that force you to stop over and over and over again so you can snap photos and take in the splendid beauty.
With my mother as my travel companion, one of the first stops we made was at the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge. The blue of the lake with the backdrop of the amazing mountain side…you just want to sit there and soak in the peace. Except, there are a lot of other visitors wanting to do the same – the parking lot will be full of tour buses. And while my mother stood in the freezing cold waters, all the other tourists were bundled up in their ski jackets, hiking boots and mittens (I bet they were on their way to the Icefields).
The scenery between one stop to another was amazing (can we count how many times I use that word in this post?) . The Icefields (as seen in the above photo) were spectacular. Now, I will admit…I had and have NO desire to take a bus out onto the actual ice and experience them first hand. For one simple reason…we get enough snow where I live and I’ve experienced my fair share of ice and snow, so I’m more than happy to view it from afar and not freeze (did I mention it is only September and we already have feet … as in multiple feet…of snow?).
When we arrived in Jasper, I wanted to surprise my mom with where we were staying. I wanted to treat her to something a little different while feeling spoiled at the same time. I have stayed at a few Fairmont properties and thoroughly enjoyed my experience at every location, but I wasn’t prepared for the Jasper Park Lodge . Now, before you think I’m complaining … I’m not. Trust me. The food was amazing, the bartender was funny and accommodating while my mom and I tried various shots (yes, you read that right. It was a mother/daughter trip and we were having fun). The views were spectacular (notice I didn’t use the word amazing…ha!).
But, while I was envisioning taking our bags up an elevator and being able to view the mountains and lake from our window without having to step outside for our meals, I didn’t realize we would be staying in rustic cabins. Where there were spiders in my shower and the power went out a few times.
I’ll admit it. I’m not actually a ‘rustic’ kind of girl…I like to enjoy the outdoors during the day and then sleep in the lap of luxury at night. But… my mom loved it and I will admit, the view, the grounds, the clean air…it was lovely.
Even if a bit ‘rustic’ (which I have a feeling is what they were going for anyways.)
If I had really thought about our trip (it was very much a last minute decision…booked that morning an hour before we left) I would have planned to have stayed here for 2 days. Then we could have done a fair bit of hiking, walking around the lake, going into town to see if there were any cupcakes available…you know, just enjoy ourselves.
Instead, the next morning we ate a filling breakfast and then decided to take our time and got ‘lost’. If you ever go there…take 93A…it’s gorgeous and beautiful and … well, the scenery is mouth dropping. We saw a sign that seemed interesting and I decided to follow it…and I was so glad that I did. Here’s what we saw ahead of us.
Who knew that by taking a very and I mean very windy road we would drive all the way up a mountain. What you are looking at on the right is Mt. Edith Cavell and what we were driving towards is a Cavell Basin (I think). The roads are very narrow, very tight and there are a few places to stop and hike down to Cavell Lake (or just stop to take photos).
The one thing I was hoping for during this drive was to see some wildlife. I mean, it was early morning (around 9am) and there were hardly any other cars on the road…and yet we saw nothing.
But…the view once we arrived to the top of the mountain road…I don’t even have to say it. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.
I wish we had had more time. I wish we had stayed an extra night. For a simple 2 hr walk we could have walked to our very own ice field at the top of a mountain where there were no tour busses. Next time.
This is what we drove to. Gorgeous, right?
Once we made it back down the mountain, we headed towards Athabasca Falls. I had promised my husband I would be home in time for dinner (silly me) so we didn’t want to make too many stops…but this one we had to. There was no other option. I mean…look at this. Gorgeous right (another words I’m using way too often in this post).
It may have taken me ten years to discover the beauty of Jasper National Park, but I promise, I will be back. Next time, I’ll take my whole family on a surprise getaway and stay longer than a day. And who knows…I saw a few cabin parks up in Jasper that looked nice. Maybe I’ll learn to be ‘rustic’!