Jasper AB and Transit to Great Falls MT

The past couple of days in Jasper we’ve done a bit of hiking in between the rain showers…then wandered down to Jasper Brewing in the afternoon for beer and Internet. Mostly the weather has cooperated…it hasn’t rained hard except during the overnight hours and just occasional showers and mostly cloudy during the day.

Our big hike so far was up to Old Fort Pointe…which overlooks Jasper from the east side…we got very nice views of the Athabasca River, Jasper, and the mountain peaks further to the north and east. We also spotted a mule deer up in the woods over by Beauvert Lake. Fort Pointe is about 550 feet above Jasper…we looked at the topographical map and decided to do the loop trail in the clockwise direction…that spread the climb out over 3.5 kilometers whereas the opposite direction has all the elevation in just over one. The good news is that made the ascent easier…the bad news is that the descent was on a steep rocky trail near the edge of the drop off that was slick by that time with some light drizzle…so we just kept to the inside of the trail and made it down pretty easily although Connie didn’t like it much. She did say that she would have liked going up that grade even less so it was the lesser of two evils for her. While at the top we did get some nice pictures though.

First up…some shots of another bull elk and harem right near the dump station in Whistler Campground where we are staying.

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Shots from on top of Old Fort Pointe.

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Float trip rafters on the Athabasca.

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Downtown Jasper.

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Mountains northeast of town.

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Mule deer near Beauvert Lake.

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Another bull elk and harem…right inside the campground loop next to us.

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Thursday we lazed around as it was raining in the morning…then headed over to Beauvert Lake for some shots over the water…too bad it wasn’t calm as the reflection shots would have been nice. It was beautifully calm the day before but heavily overcast and raining so you couldn’t even see the mountains…would have been no reflections then either.

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Pano shot of Beauvert Lake.

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Restaurant on east side of the lake.

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Friday we went into town to watch the stage of the Tour of Alberta bike race…this one started at Grand Cache northeast of Jasper and ended up with a climb to the top of the ridge at Miette Hot Springs. We watched it on the Jumbotron down at the visitor center and in between had Internet, brews, and street food snacks along with a little souvenir shopping.

Saturday we headed down to watch the start of stage 4 of the Tour of Alberta bike race…it started in town then looped around a part of Icefields Parkway for 3 loops then headed uphill 13 kilometers to the Marmot Basin ski area. We passed on taking the bus up to the top of the mountain and just watched the race on the jumbo TV down in downtown.

Connie and one of her favorite racers Christian Meier before the start of the race

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At the start line.

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And they’re off…one lap of parade through downtown Jasper before the race started.

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Coming back through…the race is on now.

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We did some souvenir shopping until the race came on TV then watched it there at the festival until it was over…then headed home for dinner and getting ready to depart.

Sunday morning we were up bright and early for the 275 mile transit from Jasper down the Icefields Parkway to Banff then over to Calgary and south to our overnight destination at Okotoks AB. We pulled to the Lions Club Campground in Okotoks in a slight drizzle, did minimal setup, had a quick nap then went over to the In Cahoots Bar and Grill for dinner then home for bed. Along the way down the Icefields Parkway…we only got a couple of photos up at the top of the pass at 6,000something feet…yes, the S word descended on us for awhile. It was just some very wet snow falling but it had clearly snowed pretty decently overnight.

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We got up early again Monday morning for our planned 175 mile trip to St Mary MT where we would try (again, for the 3rd time) to visit the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park. Connie checked the park site one last time…and it turned out that Logan Pass on the road got 12 inches of snow overnight so the road was closed. It was only supposed to be open another 2 or 3 weeks anyway…so we figure it probably would not get plowed at all and most definitely would not be open for our scheduled visit on Tuesday. With that in mind…we shook up the Jello again and after heading south from Okotoks instead of continuing south and a bit west to St. Mary we headed east and went through Lethbridge AB instead, then down to the US border near Shelby MT and then south on I-15 to Great Falls. Our destination some 275 miles later was the Fam Camp at Malmstrom AFB…they don’t take reservations but have 2 campgrounds with about 60 sites total but we had a backup at a local commercial campground. We got to Great Falls and pulled in quickly into site 2…there weren’t any sign in forms in the fee box and the camp host site was empty so we just wrote a check for the $24 camping fee, put the site number and date on it and stuck it in the box. We’ll be out of here in the AM anyway.

We looked at alternatives since we aren’t supposed to get to Devil’s Tower WY until Thursday afternoon. After some discussion…we’re headed out of Great Falls 279 miles in the morning to Garryowen MT which is right at the Little Bighorn National Monument. We’ll stop by the monument on the way to our campground (so we don’t have to unhitch) and visit it then go on over to our campground for the evening…then head on over on Wednesday morning to Devil’s Tower…we’ll either spend an extra day there or someplace on the way east to Indianapolis when we leave.


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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