The Jasper to Banff Bike Ride – Day 2

I took too many pictures today, and I do not have too much time to go through them. And there are also too many pictures that I am tempted to post.  So please excuse the scattershot approach to this posting.

I am up early on the second day. I wander around the resort property before the sun has climbed over the mountains to our east. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA After breakfast we get started on the routine that should continue for the next few days. We  pick up our bikes from the support vehicle and get on our way. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe are once again riding beside the Athabasca river. Each picture opportunity with the river in the valley beside us and the mountains behind is prettier than the one before.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere is stream crossing the road that feeds into the river.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe even stop to go down to the water. Some folks dip their toes into the ice cold water that is flowing straight out of the glacier up the road.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUnfortunately, there is a haze in the air from the smoke of the forest fires in British Columbia. The impact is bad today because of the direction of the winds.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is from a picnic stop along the river.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARide on!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd then it is time to climb 200 meters up an 8% slope. That was quite the challenge.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere are some views from the top. Perhaps you can make out the nature of the challenge we undertook.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe coast back down to the bottom of the hill and we are now once again riding along the river.  The ride is still pretty brutal in spite of the relatively flat nature of the area because of some vicious headwinds. But we persevere.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe reach our destination for the evening, the Athabasca Glacier in the Columbia Icefield. This is the source of the Athabasca river.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is our hotel for the night.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALunch!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA zoom shot of the action on the glacier.  You can take the bus, or you can do the ice walk. It was too late to book at place for the ice walk. You had to do that many days in advance.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPeople walking to the toe of the glacier from the parking lot.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe head of the glacier and the start of the Athabasca river.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe bus ride to the glacier.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYes, we are in the middle of the glacier!  It is 5 km long and 1 km wide, with a depth of 250 meters. You can drink the water if you are upstream of the people.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou can almost make out our hotel at the bottom of the hill beyond the bottom of the glacier. The glacier used to extend to the location of the hotel in the 1870s.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you look carefully, you can see that one of us in the picture is wearing sandals.  The decision to do the bus ride was somewhat sudden.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA view from our glacier. You can see another glacier on the mountain beside us.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd then it was time to head back.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA shot of the mountain peaks from the lobby of the restaurant of the hotel. Thankfully, the smoke had cleared by the time we arrived at the icefield and began to make our way to the glacier.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd that’s all she wrote, folks!  I try to continue to keep you posted.

Jasper to Banff in the Canadian Rockies – Arrival and Day One

And so, another biking adventure begins…

Emboldened by the success of our bike ride last year, some of us have set off on another long distance bike ride, this time in the Canadian Rockies.  This ride through the mountains promises to be more challenging than our last one even though the distances we are covering are shorter. We are riding on roads rather than trails.  The first day has been fun.  I type this from the front office of the hotel in Sunwapta Falls where I can get a reasonable wi-fi signal.  There is no guarantee that that I will be able to continue to do this going forward. We are in the middle of a Canadian National Park, and somewhat far away from the crowds.  Lets begin the story regardless of the uncertainty of my being able to complete it in a timely manner.

We began to gather over the weekend. I arrived in Edmonton on a late evening flight.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was surprised to find that Edmonton was in the plains.   There was no distinctive feature to be seen in the surroundings.  The city is a center for the oil industry.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATwo of us stayed at a hotel in Leduc, next to the airport.  Leduc appeared to essentially be a highway stop with a lot of motels near the airport.  The sun rises early in these parts at this time of year.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe headed for Jasper, the start of the bike ride in the morning.  It took us about three hours to get to the park, where we began to see scenes like this from the vehicle as we were traveling.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis picture was taken in Jasper. This is the support vehicle.  We had stopped to pick up some of our other riders.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere we are just outside of Jasper where we are getting ready to get on our bikes.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere we are getting instructions from Ben, our guide for the trip.  He runs an operation called the Mountain Madness tours.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd off we go! This picture was taken when we were crossing the Athabasca river.  The color of the water is due to the silt from the glaciers.  I cannot believe I am doing this!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome of the riders in our group. We are riding along the shoulder of the road that goes from Jasper to Banff.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt a stop along the way to regroup and replenish.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt Athabasca Falls.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABen had set up a snack stop for us at the parking lot.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd we kept riding upstream along the river.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the Goats and Glaciers viewpoint.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADinner at the restaurant at Sunwapta Falls. Great meal arranged by Ben!  This is where we stayed the night.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe went for a walk (turned into a hike for some of us) after dinner. This is the upper Sunwapta Falls.  The sun is beginning to set and the mountains in the background are still lit up.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese are the lower Sunwapta Falls.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd now we are getting ready for the second day of the ride.  The first day was awesome, and quite an challenge for me.  The second day is going to bring more of the same as I ride through this awesomely beautiful land amidst the mountains and beside the river, ready for whatever challenge and adventure lies ahead.  I feel so fortunate to be in this place at this time.  It is indeed an otherworldly and out-of-body experience for me in many ways, and I am so humbled by it.

Before I leave, I have to note that there was a bear sighting by others in the group.  It was apparently just walking across the road while the others were approaching.  Some of us had already gone by and missed it!  Hopefully there will be other opportunities during the next few days to see bear, mountain goats, elk, and maybe even a moose!

This is a warning to those reading, and maybe hoping to read more as the the days go by, that there is no guarantee that I will be able to continue these blogs on a regular basis, but I intend to try.  At the least I will try to catch you up on our adventures as time permits at a later date, perhaps when there is a sufficient break from the activities and a good network connection.

And please excuse any mistakes I make in the blog because of the circumstances in which I am trying to post them.  I might return to fix obvious mistakes at a later date.

Cheers!