Our plan today was to do a hike up to Parkers Ridge in the morning (just 6 km from the camp site) and it should be a steady descent towards the first campground about 35 km away.
I was up at 6:30 and by the time we packed up and had b’fast it was 8 when we got on the road. We were just hoping the day would remain cooler and rode up to the Sunwapta Pass (the highest point on the road in Jasper NP and the entrance to Banff NP). After that the road gently descended to the trailhead. It was cold in the morning, but with a bit of sun peeking out, it warmed up fast.
The hike was like a nice walk (it feels good to be fit, it takes 3 weeks for me to feel this well) and we got up to the ridge with expansive views. We could have gone on for hours exploring instead, we found a nice spot to sit down and enjoy the quietness that shows up only on high mountains. After a while some other hikers showed up and we decided to head down ad the place started to feel crowded.
Once at the trailhead, we had a little snack (peanut butter and honey sandwiches for me) and pushed on with the descent. There is no better way to express this ride, except to say, epic descent. The grade was gentle and most of the corners were wide enough to ride thro at speed. Awesome. At one point though, the dreaded animal jam happened, the traffic ahead was a standstill and I had to pull hard on the brakes to stop in time. Turned out to be mountain goats licking something off the road. A couple of pictures and We left the traffic behind and continued with the descent.
The mountains on this side of the pass were different and stunning. They were rugged and masculine compared to the ones in Jasper, which seemed gentler. By the side of the road, vertical cliffs rose up to km above us and some parts had stunning waterfalls dropping down.
We stopped off for pictures once in a while and before it was 1 PM, we reached our campsite. I walked down to a river and since no one was around, I skinny dipped in the icy cold water and it was refreshing indeed.
We considered options of going further, but with prospect of another hike in 70 km’s we decided to do a short day again tomorrow, summit the next pass and a hike the day after. Guess we are taking sweet time to leave this place, but really, its worth spending every minute here.
PS. I have been on a diet of Oatmeals for b’fast and couscous for dinner. Krissi, does a variety of fresh vegetables and makes salads, pastas and multi grains for dinner. But, hey, my repertoire for couscous is getting better everyday. consider this for dinner tonight:
An exotic fusion of tastes from around the world, a mild concoction of asian spices and vegetables in a soup boiled to perfection. Couscous is the staple with the addition of a fresh cucumber and deep-fried chickpeas adding an Indian Flavor. A whiff of soy sauce finishes the ensemble.!
(In reality, 1 packed to knorr soup mixl half a packet of fried rice powder (unknown brand), 1 tiny cucumber (bought 5 days ago), Leftover chickpeas from 10 days back and half a packet of single serve soy sauce (stolen from the ice field centre). Heh. )
Distance: 41 km (36 km biking, 5 km hiking)
Time in saddle: hrs
Expenses: Sg$ 0.00
Comments: Balancing karma feels so good!