Preparations for Mountain Week

Six hours ago, I spent twenty-five minutes preparing a list of what to bring versus what not to bring on a week long hiking, mountain biking excursion which will take place for three-days in Canmore, Alberta just outside of Banff National Park followed by a couple days in Jasper National Park at a Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge.

Last year, some family members south of the boarder decided their “big summer road trip” would be to come up to Alberta, Canada. Then COVID-19 struck and in May we decided it best for them to cancel their reservations as it wasn’t looking good for them to make it across the boarder. Sitting here today, the only travellers allowed into Alberta from America are those seeking passage to Alaska. They are informed at the boarder the only reasons you can stop.

  1. You need fuel
  2. You need food
  3. You need a restroom

“IF you decide to stop for any other reason and you are caught then you will be fined and or sent to jail and or deported. Do you understand? Sign and date here,” says the Boarder Patrol person.

As I am reading the fine print on our Hotwire.com reservation it says in plain bold English;

No Refund, No Cancellation’

Laughing at the computer screen I say to the wife, “Looks like we are going to Canmore after all… who wanted to go to the badlands anyways?” She smiled and replied, “We can have dinner with our friends, get a massage, take it easy for a week, you do deserve it. You’ve been working this whole time without a break since our last vacation… that would have been… ummm… June last year?”

It was settled. Now all we needed to determine is where we would go after Canmore? That’s when I found this sweet deal at Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge and signed us up for a reservation in a cabin.

Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge is secluded along Highway 93 (Ice Fields Parkway) nestled between three mountain ranges: Queen Elizabeth Mountain Range, North Ice fields and South Jasper Ranges. The nearest town is Jasper, 55-kilometres to the north. The nearest tourist destination is the world famous Columbia Ice Fields, only 45-kilometres to the south.

We are substituting the normal ‘rest & relaxation’ for an extraneous trip of single track mountain biking, along with trailhead hiking, followed by fine dining, a bit of main street shopping and a bit of socialization with our local friends within Canmore.

After departing Canmore, it will be all Ice Fields Parkway exploration of trailheads, hiking up glaciers, looking for the next big waterfall and eventually a peaceful nap in our mountain cabin setting. We will see the thunderous Sunwapta Lower Falls and the quieter but much deeper canyon of the Upper Falls. We’ll find ourselves traversing across the highway to Osprey Lake and down to Honeymoon Lake.

The wildlife warnings are abundant this year due to the lack of tourists and the wildlife have been coming further down into the valley. Thus we will have multiple lines of protection with us besides the regular safety measures. We will both be carrying two knives, bear spray, bear bells and Fox40 whistles. We will have 2-medical kits and our good sense of adventure with us, too.

Until the next post check out this Road Trip classic: Discovering British Columbia Canada

~ Aaron JacksonCrabb

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