Today is the birthday of an old friend. We go back a long way, all the way back to elementary school. My friend is a remarkable person – full of joy, sweet, smart, kind, curious, adventurous, and always helpful. He is one terrific guy. I went on a bike ride with him this summer in the Rockies in Canada. Here are some pictures from the ride that capture his spirit, including his sometimes playful, dare I say, cheeky nature.
At the start of the ride.At the Goats and Glaciers viewpoint.The lovely couple.Do not know what happened here!Supporting a fellow rider up a challenging slope.He is his own man,but I am not sure what he is doing here.They both have one foot in the Banff National Park and the other in the Jasper National Park.The explorer on Parker Ridgeprobably looking at Saskatchewan Glacier (not in the picture) in the distance.He gives a friendly wave as we head out to our stop for the evening at The Crossing Resort.He was the first to venture into the glacier fed waters of Waterfowl lake. It was cold!Here he is returning from an exploration in the vicinity of Bow Summit.The friendly wave. Happy birthday and happy trails, my friend!
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.I 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.Two 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.We 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.This picture was taken in Jasper. This is the support vehicle. We had stopped to pick up some of our other riders.Here we are just outside of Jasper where we are getting ready to get on our bikes.Here we are getting instructions from Ben, our guide for the trip. He runs an operation called the Mountain Madness tours.And 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!Some of the riders in our group. We are riding along the shoulder of the road that goes from Jasper to Banff.At a stop along the way to regroup and replenish.At Athabasca Falls.Ben had set up a snack stop for us at the parking lot.And we kept riding upstream along the river.At the Goats and Glaciers viewpoint.Dinner at the restaurant at Sunwapta Falls. Great meal arranged by Ben! This is where we stayed the night.We 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.These are the lower Sunwapta Falls.And 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.