Day 19: Mount Robson to Jasper

Distance: 106 km

Elevation: 860 m

Date: August 20, 2022

Today I crossed a time zone on my bike. That only happened once before one my cycling journey when I was crossing a river from Portugal into Spain. Awesome feeling!

In the morning I had breakfast and said farewell to my Austrian friends.

I stopped by the nearby visitor center to check my messages and upload some stuff. Unfortunately, I can’t get videos to upload here. The bandwidth is simply too small.

Mount Robson

The visitor center was so full of “regular”tourists taking pictures of Mount Robson that I only wanted to get away, Today started with a solid climb and only one km into the climb I realized that I had forgotten to do some grocery shopping.

So, I took this as a lesson in humility, drove back downhill to the visitor center and did the shopping. All tourist have a right to be here and to see the spectacular nature. I am not any better than them.

After 10 km of climbing I reached the Overlander Falls. These falls are named after a group of Europeans who came to Canada during the gold rush in northern British Columbia. While all other settlers took a ship and sailed around South America, this group took the 6000 km hike through entire Canada on them. Not many of them survived or reached to gold mines of BC. The waterfall is named in memory of their dedication.

Also I came by Robson Lake with its beautifully turquoise water.

Robson Lake

The mountain scenery was absolutely stunning and I had to stop many time to just stare at it in awe.

I also came by an interesting historical site in which the Canadian government apologized for their wrongdoings with respect to the Japanese-Canadian people after World War II. They had detained them as state enemies and forced them to build large parts of the Yellowhead Highway.

Right after this place I crossed the border from British Columbia to Alberta and with this I crossed a time zone.

As I had completed 2/3 of my route to Jasper a severe thunderstorm started to develop. It started to rain and the temperatures fell quickly. There was a lot of thunder and lightning when I entered the National Park. There was no protection for me so I did not see any other approach as to continue cycling.

About 10 km before Jasper there were two thunderstorm cells. One to my left and one to my right. The road went right through them. On both sides lightning was constantly hitting. It was really scary.

When I reached Jasper, I was soaking wet and cold. There was hail and snow on the side of the road and I could see my own breath.

Since I had no place to stay yet, my first approach was to go to a cycling shop. I knew from the Warmshowers website that one of the host that I had contacted owned a cycling shop in Jasper. He had not replied so far but maybe that was an alternative way to get in touch. Also I had some issues with my front derailer which needed to be fixed.

I tried two different cycling shops but I had no luck. Then I tried the youth hostel to see if they had capacity but it looked like the entire town of Jasper was full of people. So, no dry bed with clean sheets for me tonight.

Eventually, I ended up on the campground next to Whistler Mountain. They had a walk-in camp area which could not be reserved and was designated especially for hiker-bikers.

When I arrived, the entire town of Jasper was out of power since a lightning had hit the nearby power plant.

When they were finally able to check me in, I went to my site, set up my tent in the pouring rain and went for a shower.

Even though I was tired, I was also ready to celebrate reaching Jasper. So after it had stopped raining I got myself ready, put all my bags in the bear cache and went to the town of Jasper.

I found a nice Irish Pub, had a burger, a salad, and a couple of Guinness and it felt just awesome!

When I returned I ran into Rob who had a nice campfire going next to his tent. He actually was from Jasper and stayed here a couple of days to relax.

He invited me to his fireplace and we started chatting up until late. He essentially told me his entire life story plus everything there is to know about wildlife in the backcountry. When I went into my tent it was pitch black night and I almost did not find it.

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