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With the masses in Jasper National Park

August 16, 2010

OK, so much for being able to stay put for a few days in Jasper National Park.  Didn’t happen.  I think everyone, and their brother, decided to descend upon the Park over the past few days.  There are a total of 1,861 individual campsites within the Park.  None were available when I arrived, which was in the afternoon instead of the morning as I had planned due to the fact that I had to drive halfway to Edmonton to get my water pump replaced.  Anyway, upon arrival I was instructed to go to the “Overflow Campground”, which I did and found a spot in the shade with a nice view.  While it surely wasn’t even close to a prime spot relatively speaking, I was perfectly happy to call it home for 3 days or so while I explored the Park.  A broom closet would have been acceptable, if it meant I could stay put.  Didn’t happen.  The next morning I, along with 100 or so other overflow campers, was told I had to move along and find another spot in one of the regular campgrounds as many had now opened up.  My reaction to this news was not very Buddha like, but I packed up and set about finding one of these allusive available spots that would accommodate my size and girth.  With the help of a Ranger, I was able to locate one and headed that way immediately.  Once there, Wabasso Campground, I paid for 3 nights and set up camp accordingly.  It wasn’t long after I had settled in that a Ranger came by to explain that a mistake had been made and that I could only stay in this particular spot for one night.  Who believes it?  Well, clearly it wasn’t my time to be in Jasper, so I decided to make the best of the little time I had and move on down the road to the Lake Louise area.  Even with these inconveniences, the sun was shining and all was still right with the world.  I did some sightseeing and was appropriately awed by the beauty and this morning went on a 4-5 mile wildflower filled, high meadow hike before pulling stakes.  Good thing I got to the trailhead early as by the time I got back to the parking lot (10am) it was full, the overflow parking was full, and cars were strung out along the narrow road.  Goodness, are there any people left in any other parts of the Country?  Where are you guys?  Are you here too?

Fast forward to the driving of the famous and scenic Icefields Parkway which runs between Jasper and Banff, with the plan to stay in one of the many area campgrounds surrounding Lake Louise.  The drive was lovely although on the hazy side.  The rivers are greenish white from the glaciers and the mountains are high and rocky.  Traffic and people were everywhere, though I did finally see a bear.  A beautiful sleek black bear with the sun glinting off its fur as it loped across the road in front of me.  Wonderful.  He stayed in view for a few minutes until others had a chance to park, jump out of their cars with children and cameras in tow and proceed to chase after it into the woods.  Poor fella.  I am learning that August is definitely not the time to visit the more popular National Parks and perhaps I should be taking the road less traveled during this busy time.  Lesson learned.  Now to apply it while I find myself traveling during peak season.

You may have already guessed that there were no available campsites in the Lake Louise area either.  I did try to find a place to buy some groceries (i.e. diet coke) and some wireless and was successful, but had to work at it.  Since available parking was nonexistent, I parked on the side of the road and walked over to the shopping area.  The little grocery store was overrun with tourists paying $4 for an apple and $9 for a box of cereal, so I grabbed a 12 pack of diet coke, mortgaged my house to pay for it, and got out of there quick.  Some of you may have had a very rushed email from me today.  I was online at the Lake Louise Post Office and the minutes were ticking away so I sent quick emails and checked to see what the Instructor had to say about my first writing assignment which I had turned in a few days ago.  Also while on line, I tried to make reservations for my upcoming stay in Glacier National Park, MT.  Didn’t happen.   Only so many sites are available for reservation and those that are suitable for us are already taken.   The rest are all first come, first served.   I’ll try to time it so I arrive early in the morning for a better shot at a spot.

I am currently “camped’ for the night at a pleasant roadside rest area in Vermilion Pass on the Continental Divide, which also marks the border between Alberta and British Columbia.  5382 ft elevation.  Who knows where I’ll stay tomorrow night or when I’ll be able to stop for a few days without moving, but I hope it’s soon.  I’ve got my fingers crossed for Glacier NP, but I’m not holding my breath.

This is the Maligne River in Jasper NP.

And here is a view in the East side of the Park.  Sorry, but I can’t remember the name of the river.

And this is Mt. Edith Cavell.  The high meadow hike I took ran beside this mountain for much of the way.  Lovely.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Lil Eubanks permalink
    August 17, 2010 2:58 pm

    Sorry, I should have warned you that parks like Waterton, Glacier, Yellowstone, etc. need reservations a long time in advance or you need to get there early in the day. We camped in Gardiner, almost outside Yellowstone’s gates even though we did have reservations. Those parks were the few places where I did make reservations. You might want to pick up a Trailer Life Directory for 2010, if you don’t have one, at a camping store for those times you are feeling desperate enough to look for a private campground. Good luck! Hope you get to stop for a few days

    • August 19, 2010 12:39 pm

      Thanks Lil. I do have one of those guides, but have not had to resort to a private campground yet…thank goodness. Am in Glacier NP and all is well. I’m here and booked for 4 nights. Lovely. Will see what I can do about Yellowstone reservations today.

  2. Sue C. permalink
    August 20, 2010 4:07 am

    Margie, I’m just reading this today. For some reason I’m not getting all the notifications of your posts. I’ll have to figure this system out. I love your pictures! They’re awesome as usual! Enjoy all that sunshine! We’re finally getting some here – wahoo!

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