Another fully planned packed day ahead had the alarm set to go off early today but we were instead rudely woken at 6.15am by a spam call from Busseys in Norwich. So we decided to get up and out even earlier as we were awake.
The Hotel provided a good breakfast very similar to the Holiday Inn Express fare. We sat at a table with a nice older couple who told us they had only been married a year as they had both recently lost their first partners in tragic circumstances. They were from Alberta travelling through to Vancouver and upon hearing of our travels urged us to add Alaska to our list. This amused me as just before our Hotel is a turning with a road-sign saying 'Scenic route to Alaska'. I had looked it up online and Alaska is over 1000 miles away. It must be one heck of a scenic route to warrant signage that far away.
We were on the road back to Jasper by 8am and with a little effort found the SkyTram where we had a flight up Whistler mountain booked for 9.39am. The only delay to our journey was a herd of Elk who crossed the road in front of me but somehow left a baby the other side of the road. This caused the Mum to stand in the road calling but the baby wouldn't cross and so we had to wait for them all to go back over to her again.
The Skytram was an older style cable car. There was only one going up and another going down at any one time. It was slow and took 7 minutes to get to the top. There was standing room only.
We had decided to then take the 45 minute trail to the very summit. The views were fantastic all the way up. It actually took us the best part of a hour as it was very steep and the air was noticeably thinner. We had several stops to catch our breathe as did everyone else doing the same thing. We get catching the same people up, overtaking them and then they would do the same to us. We know we are not the fittest people so it was reassuring to see that everyone else were also struggling. However we made it. I was very proud of Karen for doing so with the troubles she has with her foot.
It was quite windy at the top but not that cool. At 8000 feet we were above the snowline. We stayed a while and admired the scenery all around. The trail down was actually more perilous. Karen feels less confident walking downhill and in parts the trail was very steep and not firm. I walked slowly in front so she could lean on me. This was hard work on me and put a lot of pressure on my back so I was quite sore by the time we reached the Skytram upper station again.
We decided that we had earned a drink, so I had a tea. Karen thought she deserved more so ordered a coffee and a beer despite it being just about noon. We had been given a window table overlooking Jasper from above so we stayed a while before joining the queue for the ride back down.
From here we were driving the short distance back to Jasper and were on the look out for someone to stop to have a picnic where purely by accident we came across an unbelievably picturesque spot. It had some Adirondack chairs (which I love) on a sweeping bend of the river, with pine trees and mountains behind. It was absolutely idyllic and I could have sat there all day in the sun.
But our holidays don't have time for relaxing built in them so after about 45 minutes we were on our way into Jasper itself. We easily parked and walked the Main Street. It was nice but not as nice as we expected. Banff was much prettier despite being rather busy. By this time Karen was suffering with her foot from the climb and not helped by a bad blister. So when we came across a fantastic coffee shop called The Bears Paw where we 'paused' for a break to give the foot a rest.
But it was soon onwards and upwards. We drove to Maligne Canyon. This is a very deep but thin canyon with water gushing at a force through the bottom. There are six bridges along a trail that criss cross it at appropriate points where waterfalls etc are present. We managed 3 bridges (the whole 6 was a 6 hour walk one way). The views from each of the bridges we got to was amazing and was well worth the climb back up to the visitor centre. Karen decided as a reward that she had earned an ice cream this time which we sat on a lovely patio overlooking the stream in the sun. By now the temperature had hit 31c, almost matching Norwich!
It was then a 45 minute drive to the Hotel where we passed more Elk and sheep. Karen did another quick load of washing before we set out for some Dinner. The restaurant we chose was next to a small Walmart so we had a quick dash round there where Karen bought some PJ's. We ate in Mr Mikes Steakhouse. My steak was average but Karen really enjoyed her Coconut Cod with Rice.
Today I am pleased to report no incidents with any other tourists. In fact everyone we countered all day were all friendly and smiley. In particular almost every Canadian person we have spoken or dealt with the whole trip so far have been welcoming and pleased to see us. They have also all universally been proud of their country. This is very similar to everyone we met in New Zealand How different this is to us back home, where we can be unfriendly and it is unfashionable to be proud to be British. Although if anyone else asks me if I know Harry or Megan I will say 'Yes'.
My peeve for the day though is the lack of decent Wifi. I know I shouldn't expect it anywhere in the mountains. But lots of places we have been advertise they have it but then you can never access it for whatever reason. Either don't say you have it or sort it out!