Jasper, AB, Tuesday August 6
Today’s theme was water, some planned and some unplanned. We left Kamloops early under sunny skies for Jasper National Park in Alberta. Our plans were to make a stop at Wells Gray Provincial Park. It would be about 30% of the way to Jasper.
Wells Gray is a large park, most of it devoted to wilderness area. It is the location of numerous waterfalls. We thought it possible that 2 or 3 of them would be easily accessible and that we could view them without ruining our timetable to Jasper. (We also lost an hour when we cross over into Alberta, time that we will gain back when we head home via portions of British Columbia.)
British Columbia has an impressive number and quality of visitor centers and the one in Clearwater (just outside the park) did not disappoint us. The informative staff indicated that there were three waterfalls we could access via paved roads in about 2.5 hours.
The skies had become overcast so now it was a race against rain. Luckily, we pretty much won-for the time being.
We drove to the furthest most waterfall, Helmcken Falls. This is a 460 foot falls. Niagara Falls is only about 1/3 the height of Helmcken-but greater flow of course. Helmcken is one free flow drop, not like Yosemite which actually has 3 falls. No rainbow today with the clouds but still a great sight.
The second falls was Dawson Falls. This was a small falls with cascades. We were able to get close to the falls and the volume and velocity were still great even though we were in mid-summer. By now the clouds were drizzling.
The third falls was Spahats. It is about 200 feet tall and the volume seemed less. It is more difficult to get a clear shot of it, part of the creek leading to the falls is hidden behind overhanging rock. However, the gorge it has carved is quite deep for a small creek.
Lunch was at a small bakery in Clearwater that served great food. Then we continued our journey along the Yellowhead Highway. Unfortunately, the rains began just as Chris took over and along with fog and mountain driving, the journey was slowed a bit.
Our last stop on the journey was at Mt. Robson Provincial Park. Mt. Robson is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies and presents a massive presence-when you can see it all. Like our first day at Mt. Ranier, the top of the mountain was shrouded in low lying clouds. Unlike Mt. Ranier, we did not have a second day to spend so seeing 2/3 of the mountain will have to suffice.
As we drove the last leg of the day’s journey, we crossed the Canadian Rockies one more time. Mt. Robson may have been the highest peak, but this route had many other peaks also. This road had some of the heaviest traffic we have encountered in non-urban areas; including plentiful truck traffic. With the rain and the traffic we only made two picture-taking stop although the scenery justified more. The first was a quick and better shot of the Fraser River while the second was at Moose Lake.
Jasper is like many other mountainous park towns, cute shops and galleries. Jasper does seem to have a larger train yard than others, this time the Canadian National vs. Canadian Pacific.
We walked the downtown and saw two laundromats. One had a coffer bar open to the public as well as laundry facilities. The other had an ice cream store inside the laundromat. Neat.
Ed and Chris August 7 8 pm