Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.






North to Alaska - Live!

by Kathy 17. August 2011 21:24

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Jasper National Park

From British Columbia, we ventured further east to Jasper National Park, one of the many protected areas within the Canadian Rockies. People sing praises about the beauty here, and for good reason.

The road to Jasper passed by Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies--almost 13,000 feet high:

Jasper National Park is located in the province of Alberta:

One of our first stops was to pick up trail maps at the Visitor’s Center, built in 1914 from local timber and cobblestones:

Genevieve was excited to learn that the park had a program called Parks Canada Xplorers, similar to the U.S. Jr. Ranger programs in which kids can earn a park badge by completing various activities, games, and puzzles.

We stayed in Whistlers Campground, which had spacious sites with lots of trees, as well as good bicycle trails connecting us to other parts of the park.

Elk were frequent visitors:

 

Jasper has an extensive bike trail system. On our first day, we opted for some easy/intermediate trails along the Athabasca River and through the Old Fort Point area.

Crossing the Athabasca River:

Some Canadian geese:

Our paper trail map was a bit confusing, as the intersections weren’t always where they were supposed to be. Here are Ben and Genevieve, trying to locate a trail crossing:

Sebastian, taking a rest:

Genevieve:

We were grateful to come across periodic signposts that let us know where we actually were, which was sometimes a bit far from where we thought we were:

Near the horse stables, we spotted a coyote trotting across the grass, completely indifferent to our quiet presence:

We pedaled along the edge of Lake Beauvert:


And then passed by the point where the milky green water of the Miette River flows into that of the Athabasca:

Almost back at the campground:

The following day was Sebastian’s 9th birthday. We began the celebration with a 4.5-mile hike through Maligne Canyon, a slot canyon with six different bridges that cross the Maligne River. Our starting point was Bridge #6, which is located almost a mile from the deep gorge and the other bridges.

The trail during this part was flat and paralleled the river:

Some of the leaves still had evidence of this morning’s showers:

Through the trees, we could hear the roar of the fast-moving river. Every so often, there was a clearing with a view of the water:

The second bridge we reached was Bridge #5:

The river below:

Bridge #5 crossed over the tail end of Maligne Canyon. From now on, the canyon would get deeper and much narrower. Here is a map showing the gorge and the locations of the bridges:

Continuing onward:


Ben and Sebastian, with Bridge #5 in the distance:

The slope of the river created a series of stepping-stone falls:


We were also treated to waterfalls trickling down the canyon walls.

Our trail became steeper, and we climbed higher along the gorge:

The canyon walls on this section were filled with underground caves that carried streams from points upriver. We could see water gushing out of several cave entrances:

Nearby was Bridge #4—a dead end bridge that crossed over a deep chasm:

Here is our view from the bridge, looking down into the water below:

The most photographed bridge on this hike must be Bridge #3, as we saw this same shot (minus Ben, Genevieve and Sebastian) on a lot of postcards:

Yes, we were there!

Not too far away was Bridge #2, high in the air:

Here, the Maligne River had gradually worn out a channel that measured over 165 feet deep. Peering over the edge of Bridge #2, we saw how the force of the water had long ago carved out a bowl-shaped cavity into the limestone wall:

The final bridge, #1, was originally built in 1914 and crossed over a raging waterfall.



Near Bridge #1 was a so-called “Tea House”, a quaint name for a modern café and large gift shop.

The Tea House had a big parking lot for cars and buses, with big tour groups coming to walk along the trails near the first three bridges. It served as our turn-around spot for hiking back, after we had enjoyed some fresh fruit salad there, combined with lunch items that we had packed with us.

We chose a different route on our hike back—a trail high above the canyon, with nice viewpoints near the beginning:

Many trees had fallen over in this area, revealing their shallow root systems:

The kids were fascinated by the sweeping curve of one tree trunk:

In this direction, the trail was mostly downhill until we reached Bridge #5, where it flattened out almost completely. We passed several people breathing hard, as they hiked past us in the opposite direction.

We were happy to be sailing downward:

One of the highlights on this hike occurred when we were within a few hundred feet of Bridge #6, our starting point. Genevieve and I were walking in front, chatting away, when a large black bear lumbered onto the trail about 50 feet in front of us. The bear must have heard Genevieve cry out, “A bear!” because it paused in the middle of the trail, and swung its head towards us to take a look. We were frozen in place. I think I even stopped breathing. Then the bear swung its head forward and picked up its pace, loping off into the shrubbery.

I fumbled for my camera and managed to get a quick shot right before the bear disappeared:

We were so elated!

Sebastian’s birthday celebration continued with a ride on the Jasper Tramway:

The aerial tramway is the longest in Canada, extending 1.3 miles up into the alpine tundra. With the rain and the low clouds, we weren’t sure what type of view we would have from the top. But up we went anyway!


Genevieve at the outdoor viewing platform, in the rain:

Through the misty clouds, we could see the town of Jasper and the Athabasca River far below:


Hiking trails led up to the barren mountain top:

We briefly considered a trek upwards, but the cold wind was piercing our thin jackets, and we realized that we should have worn an extra layer of fleece at this higher altitude.

The clouds were constantly moving around us, revealing distant peaks and then hiding them again.  As we waited for a return tram to carry us downward, the air started to clear. And then a rainbow appeared!

At the end of the day, Sebastian felt that his birthday had been “perfect.” And we did too.

Happy 9th birthday, my beautiful son!

 

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Comments (4) -

8/22/2011 11:08:17 PM #

Kathie Kenaston

HHHHAAAAAPPPPPYYYYYYY Birthday Dear Sebastian!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kathie Kenaston United States | Reply

8/24/2011 7:38:57 AM #

Kathy

Sebastian's word-for-word response:  "Thank you for the great birthday message!  I enjoyed going on the hike with you in Fairbanks."

Kathy United States | Reply

7/18/2014 12:20:05 PM #

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7/18/2014 12:24:25 PM #

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Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

Bhutan
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Canada
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   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
   Burns Lake Bike Park
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   Jasper National Park
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China
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Costa Rica
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France
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Ecuador
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   Napo Wildlife Center
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   Proyecto DCR
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India
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Mexico
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Namibia
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Portugal
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United States National Parks
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   Cahokia Mounds (UNESCO site), IL
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   Civil Rights Memorial, AL
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   Joshua Tree National Park, CA
   Kaloko-Honokohau Nat'l Hist. Park, HI
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   Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Nat'l Hist Pk, HI
   Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historic Site, HI
   San Antonio Missions Nat'l Hist. Park, TX
   Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ
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   White Sands National Monument, NM
   Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK
   Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC
   Yellowstone National Park, WY
   Yosemite National Park, CA

United States, Cities and Places
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   Barrel Oak Winery in VA
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   Carter Caves State Park in KY
   Chappie-Shasta OHV Area, CA
   Child's Glacier, AK
   Circle B Chuckwagon Show in SD
   City Museum in MO
   Cody, WY
   Corn Palace in SD
   Crazy Horse Memorial in SD
   Custer State Park, SD
   Dalton Highway, AK
   Dinosaur Tracks in AZ
   Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC
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   Fairbanks, AK
   Front Royal, VA
   Gallup, NM
   Goffs, CA
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   Grand Canyon Skywalk, AZ
   Grave Digger Monster Truck in NC
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   Las Vegas, NV (winter 2010)
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   Loneliest Road in America, Hwy. 50, NV
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   Lowe’s Speedway in NC
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   Million Dollar Highway, CO
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   Moab, UT (dirt biking)
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   Niagara Falls 
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   Portland, OR
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   Riverside State Park, WA
   Rock City in TN
   Rosa Parks Library and Museum in AL
   Roswell, NM
   Russian River, AK
   Salt Lake City, UT
   San Antonio, TX
   San Diego, CA
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   San Francisco, CA
   Santa Catalina Island, CA
   Seattle, WA
   Sedona, AZ
   Shoe Tree in CA
   Shoe Tree in NV
   Silverton, CO
   Sonora, TX
   St. Louis, MO
   St. Paul, MN
   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
   Twin Knobs Recreation Area in KY
   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
   Williamsburg, VA
   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.


Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin