Our Trip to Jasper National Park
As I had mentioned in my last Friday Five Post we were going to travel to many different National Parks this year since the pass was free and I wanted to travel more with my family. Now even though Banff is technically closer we decided to take our first trip to Jasper. I have only been there twice and my husband only once (he was born and raised in Alberta ~:)~)
Jasper is such a pretty area and so many things to see!! We travelled up through Edmonton and came into Jasper on Highway 16. This is a nice double laned highway, but the weather had snowed the few days before so the road was slick with Black ICE. If you don't drive a lot, and even if you do, Black Ice is scary to drive on, your vehicle just slips and slides and there is really nothing you can do. So from just outside of Edson to the park entrance it was a pretty white knuckle drive and me in the passenger seat trying to find a break or a way to brace myself for impact.
The one thing I do not like about driving into Jasper on highway 16 is you never feel like you are driving or climbing into the Mountains and all of a sudden you are just there. My favourite part of Mountain driving is the climbing and descending and you kind of miss that when you are on highway 16.
Now onto Five things we did and loved in Jasper
1) We ate at Jasper Pizza. This is a little restaurant right on Connaught street. It was amazing and the food was delicious. The kids enjoyed colouring and watching the sports on television, I was able to visit with my husband and children without a lot of background noise. The waitress was excellent and super friendly! So if you go to Jasper and want a place to eat check out Jasper Pizza!!
After Pizza we explored the townsite and walked around until our feet got too cold!! My husband and I both agree that we like that the storefronts are all similar and that there are no obnoxious billboards or signages for chain restaurants like you see in the city.
2) In the morning we set out to explore many different areas of Jasper National Park. Our first stop was Pyramid Lake and Pyramid Island. As we drove up we noticed that Pyramid Lake Resort had ice skating areas cleared off, included a .7km loop around the lake. Definitely, bringing our skates next time we come up to Jasper in the winter. We walked out to Pyramid Island and I showed my family where my good friend Tara had gotten married. Leigham thought it was pretty cool.
I don't know if this is all kids or just my kids, but they had such a fascination with the snow and with wiping it off surfaces and picking it up. And I make them play outside all the time, but they were seriously behaving like they had never seen snow before and would never see it again. I promise you there is a boat load in my backyard and they are forever welcome to play with it!!
3) We left Jasper and headed south along highway 93, we figured it couldn't be worse than highway 16 and we were in no rush. So it was a lot of meandering and moseying along the highway with frequent stops. Our first stop was at Athabasca Falls. I am a sucker for Waterfalls, like of my top three natural things, waterfalls are probably number 2, the ocean is number one and mountains are number 3. Athabasca falls was spectacular, it did not disappoint. I love the blues and they ice formations, and Leigham was enthralled, he even had to make a short little instagram video about it!! lol
4) our next stop was Sunwapta Falls, just 24 km south of Athabasca Falls. I had initially thought this would be a 2.6 km hike but it turned out to be much closer. We took Theo in the sled and we all walked to see the falls. It's a super easy trip and no one froze!!
5) Glacier!! All things water seem to enthrall me, maybe it's because I am a water sign (Go Pisces) or maybe it's something else, I don't know, but all things water just capture my attention and really humble me. I was like a kid in a Candy store making my husband stop so I could get some pictures of the Glacier, and had I not had my two year old with me and had it been just a little warmer I would have walked much closer to the Glacier. So next time..... oh yeah I am going as close as I can. I just think it's amazing that this frozen body of water is still here (thank goodness) and that it has been here for thousands and millions of years. Wow is the only way I can describe how I feel about this natural phenomena.
Added bonus, we left Jasper National park and took Highway 11 home so we drove by Abraham Lake. I love this place and next time I come out here in the winter I will have ice cleats so I can go down on the lake to take pictures of the bubbles in the ice!! There were so many people down there doing that but I didn't have the gear, so next time I am doing it! Abraham lake is beautiful, it can be super windy too, but it is well worth the short trek out of the park to see!! Welcome to Back Country!!