I thought of talking a rest day in Jasper but the weather was just so perfect, it felt like a good day to ride. I did take it slow, beckoned by a local bakery with the smell of fresh baked bread. Shared a table with a couple of young climbers who drove all the way to Jasper from Victoria in one day. She, a nurse, he am engineer. I am humbled a bit to think what has taken me nearly three weeks to cover, albeit a very different route, they did in a day. But I am on a bike tour not a race.
Walking through town I hear my name called out from a restaurant door. It is Chris, Pearson College Year 38. He lives in Jasper. In my effort to find alumni as I travel,I realize I am neglecting current students. I will remind them all.
The ride out of Jasper is aided by a nice tailwind and made interesting by showers drifting into and out of the valley that is leading me away from the Rocky Mountains.
Soon I see a herd of something I’ve never seen before. Bighorned sheep? First they move away from me then the circle back and check me out.
Some of the small glacier fed lakes look like water in the Caribbean.
The park is a geologists paradise.
Before long, I am out of the park and on my way to the town of Hinton. The interesting thing to watch now is the sky. But a look back into the park first.
Outside the park looking east, the view is now very different.
The wider road shoulders in Alberta are welcome and, after a shower, along with a nice tailwind, it is like the Zamboni just put down a new surface for me to ride on.
At a rest stop I am surprised to notice that my chain, changed less than a week ago, is already rusting. These frequent showers are tough on the equipment.
I find myself a full meal at a family style restaurant in Hinton then cycle another 16 km to the Willowbrook Campsite. The sky cannot decide what it is going to do next.
And one last look back from where I have come.
It is unusual for me to get to a campground before sunset but as the sun is now setting at about 10:30 pm, it is hard not to.
I set up the tent next to my own little pond and fishing dock and settle in for what will be about twelve hours of rain. But I am cozy and dry and thankful the temperature got no lower than about 2 degrees Celsius.
Stats – for Monday 18 June 2012
Finish: Hinton (16 km east of)
Distance: 92 km
Average Speed: 20.9 km/hr
Time on Bike: 4:23
Distance to Date: 2,068 km