Jasper National Park Orientation Drive

Tuesday dawned and looked like a pretty decent day would be had; so after we had coffee and breakfast we headed off. Before Fun we stopped by the Visitor Center about miles north in downtown Jasper to download email, contact some repairman for the broken slide, and upload yesterday’s blog post.

Fair warning…posts for Fun Days from here on out will probably be pretty photo intensive as there is and will be lots to see and pass along. We had email and then a phone conversation with Ken from New Horizons; I think he’s going to give us a hard time on the warranty on the slide issue…the slide operating mechanism is made by Lippert and he said we would have to deal with them directly to get reimbursed. We’re going to go ahead and pay for the repairs ourselves  and then Neil will be pushing the point on getting New Horizons to deal with Lippert for reimbursement; the rig isn’t even a year old yet and neither of the adults will be bashful about emailing the owner directly. Anyway; once that was done we contacted a local RV repair guy who is coming tomorrow morning supposedly to troubleshoot the slide mechanism; either it will get fixed or if it’s beyond his capability to fix we will have to probably pull up and relocated to Hinton for a couple of days to find a full service RV dealer.

Once that was done we headed off for some fun. Since it was already getting pretty late in the morning we elected to just drive about 30 miles south to Sunwapta Falls (or Chutes Sunwapta as the French up here would call them); then stop by the Athabasca Falls on the way back; both are supposed to be pretty decent falls.

Our first find however; was this guy who crossed the road about 100 yards in front of the car and stopped to eat on the side of the road. We got the camera ready and then rolled up next to him on the lightly trafficked highway…these shots were taken through the window from about 10 yards away or so. Connie had her hand on the window control to put it up just in case; and Neil left the car in gear with the clutch disengaged (again, just in case). However, he was more interested in a snack than in us; never even looked in our direction. We couldn’t decide if it’s a grizzly or a brown bear.



Next up we stopped by a roadside and grabbed some shots of the Maligne Range; this is Athabasca Pass at the norther end. We’ll be stopping by the Athabasca Glacier later in the week and see the glacier in the southern end of this same pass.


The next roadside pullout featured a hike of a couple hundred yards down to the southern end of Horseshoe Lake. Neil is going to stop by the next time we’re coming up Highway 93 (Icefields Parkway) to get some shots at a better viewpoint; but he saw the view too late to stop and we took an alternate route back north on Highway 93A which is a much more rural, 2 lane country road rather than a high speed highway.


Next up was a series of stops alongside the Athabasca River; Icefields Parkway parallels it most of the way through the valley. Here’s a shot looking downstream at the river and the mountains on the west side of the river…and also a 170 degree panorama shot of the river and mountains from this same location.



We arrived at Sunwapta Falls; the total drop here is about 120 feet or so in two sections; the first photo is the lower section where there is a very narrow chute into a gorge; the second is the upper falls which is wider but not as tall; and finally the little island with both sides of the stream. You can just see the island in the upper left of the second photo.




We headed back north after grabbing some lunch and stopping at one of the Athabasca River overlooks for a picnic. Our second stop was at Athabasca Falls where the entire river falls about 80 feet or so over a split cascade. After that it runs through a narrow canyon; we got a lot of varying views from this one on a hike that was about a mile or so total.

First up was a pothole in the canyon; this is caused by the swirling water carrying sand and gravel. Over the centuries it carves a pothole shaped depression in the rock. Second is a shot of the total drop of the split cascade itself. The third shot is 180 degrees from the second one and shows the entrance into the canyon…it’s maybe 30 or 40 feet wide at the top and probably about 100 feet or so deep.




Next we hiked around to the top of the falls for a close up of the split cascade top of the falls.and a view of the smaller right cascade looking out toward the Maligne Range again.



Neil also grabbed a short video of Athabasca Falls which is located here. We then hiked down an old canyon that the river no longer flows through and got a couple of shots of the water exiting the canyon and a shot of a cairn that somebody had built as well as Connie grabbing a shot of Neil as he hiked out to the edge of the rocks to try and take a picture up the canyon (he almost failed, couldn’t get far enough around without walking out into the water and it was (a) 35 degrees or so and (b) deep so he settled for the shot here).





Climbing back up from the riverbed we took a short side trip to the canyon overlook…you can see the railing of it in the third picture back…and got a better shot up the canyon itself and looking downstream toward the peaks to the west.



Continuing up Highway 93A we spotted a bunch of small lakes including one with a flock of Mallard Ducks in it and another that is definitely kayak worthy if we get a warm enough day so that we don’t freeze when we get wet. The water was as clear as tap water; Neil could easily see fish 5 or 6 feet down in the lake when he was taking the photo.



Here are a couple of other shots Connie took; the first is of the layered rocks in the old canyon with a pine tree growing out of the rocks at Athabasca Falls that we climbed down the river through and the second is what she called her artsy photo of one of the mountains.



Shortly after we got the Mallard photo above we arrived back at the campground where we rested outside for a bit until the mosquitos showed up and then came in to rest. I think we’re having hamburgers from Walmart tonight. (Change of plans…Neil decided we’re going to the Jasper Brewing Company for a brewski and some bar food.) Tomorrow we’ll get the slide fixed in the morning hopefully and then do something Fun later on.

**Updated Wednesday morning. Our slide issue is fixed. The mechanic was out this morning and discovered a sheared bolt in the actuating mechanism which was what Neil thought it most likely was. The bolt has been replaced and the slide is working perfectly again. Yea!! Connie’s really happy to have all of her living space back.


About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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5 Responses to Jasper National Park Orientation Drive

  1. ronlaubenthal says:


  2. Mj Trainor says:

    OMG, what wonderful pix! Must frame the Bear!!

  3. ronlaubenthal says:

    mornin’… found these for ya…
    1- bear spray – counterassault,com
    2- go to youtube, type in “man fights bear for salmon” – hilarious…
    3- watch “The Edge” with anthony hopkins and alec baldwin, and bart – but only if you are feeling brave – an absolutely mesmerizing movie…

    • Neil Laubenthal says:

      We’ll have to get some bear spray from the outdoor store heremail order would take too long. We liked the man vs bear video; I think the same guy has done a whole series of these.

      Will keep the recommendation for The Edge for later when we have better internet.

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