Jasper to Banff Bike Ride, The Second Posting For The Last Day – The Pictures

Perhaps you will sense a different feeling to this post when compared to the earlier ones from the ride.  Of course, one of the reasons this post is different is because of what I did to myself at the end of the day.  The other reason is more sentimental.  I want to acknowledge my travel companions. The focus is not just on the scenery but on the people who accompanied me.  I am going to break my own unspoken rule and specifically mention names.  I am hoping that nobody minds.  We start in the morning as we get ready to depart Lake Louise.

Being his usual helpful self, Rick had packed our luggage into the back of Ben’s van for the last day’s ride. He was quite proud of his effort.   Rick also did his bit to keep us entertained as we rode every day.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere is Ben giving us instructions for the last day.   Ben was very thorough in his support.  Go ahead and take a tour with him at Mountain Madness Tours.  You will not be disappointed!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe had been riding thus far on the Icefields Parkway.  From now on we are on the Bow Valley Parkway.  The funny thing is that my bear sighting was pretty soon after we saw this sign. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe road ran beside the Bow River.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere is a picture of the riders on the move.  You may notice that the road markings here are very different from those encountered on the Icefields Parkway.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA freight train awaits beside the road.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKoushik, the heart and soul of our riding team.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne way to smell the flowers, perhaps on another planet (get it!?).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANancy and Stacy, old college mates.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABen in his vehicle, after overtaking one of the riders.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI stopped with KP at a memorial point for the Castle Camp internment camp.  Even though this episode happened during WW1, it is not difficult to imagine something like this happening even  in our modern times.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe last paragraph in the wayside marker for the internment camp below reads “In total, eight thousand five hundred and seventy-nine men became prisoners of war in twenty-four camps located across Canada during the internment operations of 1914-1920.  Most were foreign nationals, a few were British subjects or Canadian citizens.  The majority were non-combatant, unemployed civilians – victims of the 1913 depression, racial prejudice and wartime hysteria. Many of the internees came from western regions of Ukraine, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.”OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStacy, Nancy and Sally.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Bow river.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABen’s van and trailer at the last stopping point.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAResting before the last push.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASally and Bob, our riding leaders.  They were the youngest and the oldest in the group. Bob, a former triathlete, took on the hills we encountered as if he was on a mission. Sally was not too far behind.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA squirrel observing the goings-on at this last stop.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis was the last picture I found on the camera after the trip.  I did not take this picture.  The time stamp on the picture leads me to believe that it was taken after I fell off the bike.  I suspect that Bob, who had retrieved the camera and eventually delivered it to my home, took a picture to see if the camera was working. A great picture from that perspective.  The camera ended up in better shape than I did!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA That was the end of the ride, but not the end of my adventures.

Jasper to Banff Bike Ride – Day 5

As usual, I am up at 5:00am in the morning, and this is my excuse for quickly trying to type up a blog for the previous day.  My pictures for the blog have been preprocessed the previous night and are ready to go.  My roommate has been up late in the night taking pictures of the skies and the stars until 12:45am. (The dark skies above Bow Lake and the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge are free of light pollution and are ideal for this endeavor.) He manages to sleep through the clickety-clack of my computer keyboard as I try to bang out another blog quickly before going down to breakfast.

Ben is already at work when I go down for breakfast. He also has to to take care of the rest of the business and plans for other tour groups while with us since he is a solo operator. While we are chatting he shows me a gorgeous picture he has taken of the lake earlier that morning. That is my cue to run out and take pictures before the others arrive. Here is some of what I saw. (If you click on the first picture, it will open out in full resolution.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPlans for today are a little different than usual.  Since the ride is going to be shorter and mainly downhill, we are going to do a three hour hike to the Bow Glacier Falls at the far end of the lake before we start riding. The falls are probably visible in the first picture above if you look at the full resolution version of the picture. The picture below was taken with a zoom lens as we start our hike.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese are pictures from the hike. Note how the color of the water is already beginning to change.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere was time to slow down and take pictures of the flowers that lined the trail.  Here is one sample.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe other side of the lake is pictured in the morning light below. The sun has yet to make its way completely over the mountains in the east.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe early sections of the trail ran along the lake shore.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWild flowers grow among the rocks.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere is where the trail left the lake shore.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen it was time to begin the trek back.  We had to make it back in time to the lodge to check out by noon.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe noticed that the color of the waters of the lake had changed in the meantime.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd then it was time to get on our bikes once again and ride!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome of us stopped at a location on the Icefield Parkway to take parting pictures of Bow Lake.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere is a picture of the Crowfoot glacier from the road. The picture did not turn out as well as I hope for.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe bike ride to Lake Louise today runs along the Bow river.  Bow river is a tributary of the South Saskatchewan river.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a picture of Hector Lake from our lunch stop.  The Bow river flows in and out of the lake.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd then it was time to speed down the hill into Lake Louise.  Folks had told me that it is possible to ride much faster on a road than on a trail. I could not believe how fast one can ride consistently at under the conditions.  We arrived at Lake Louise in no time.  All in all, this was a short riding day.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter resting for some time, we went to the Lake Louise Station restaurant for an early dinner.  The trains pass right by the station.  It was delightful dinner in a delightful setting with delightful friends.  We even had a squirrel wander into the restaurant looking for scraps. (It was chased away by a waitress who did not seem the least bit annoyed by the squirrel’s antics.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Rocky Mountaineer also stopped beside the restaurant as we were leaving.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter dinner Ben then took us on a ride to Lake Moraine in the mountains. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We passed by Temple Mountain on the way.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Here are some pictures from the lake.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy camera battery ran out at this point, and I could not take pictures at our next stop, Lake Louise.

The crowds that we found at these lakes made me feel like we had wandered back from the wilderness into the thick of civilization, and it was not necessarily a good feeling.  Having experienced what I did during this ride, it is going to be hard to to go back to being a traditional tourist, joining the massive crowds that tend to throng the more popular tourist sites.

Some of us sat ourselves outside the hotel eating ice-cream and chatting after we returned.  It was very relaxing.

We are going to do our longest ride of the trip tomorrow, but Ben assures us that it is all downhill. We might need to be more disciplined with time management since all of us have flights to catch from Calgary later in the day.  The vacation will inevitably come to an end at that point.

(This blog, in its current form, requires much more work for cleanup, but I have limited time on my hands.  I will take care of that later.)