Day 21: Jasper to Columbia Icefield

Distance: 106 km

Elevation: 1,511 m

Date: August 22, 2022

Today I cycled pretty much 100 km uphill. It was a smooth climb for the most part with a heavy push towards the end.

Nature here is absolutely breathtaking. It is beyond words. I often had to stop and stare to simply admire the rough beauty.

In the morning I had gotten myself a treat and bought a cappuccino, a cone and a croissant from a local food truck.

Then it was time to say goodbye to my new cycling friends Jean-Luc, Ethan, and Charles-Antoine.

I buckled up and was on the road by 9:30 AM. One of the highlights of today’s tour were the Athabasca falls where I also met a German cycling couple who were doing the distance from Banff to Jasper in 10 days. I had planned to do this in three. But in fact there is so much to see that I can fully understand them. If my wife was with me,I would want to do the same. I miss her a lot.

The route followed the Robson River the entire day. There were so many great views that you could only enjoy when you are on a bicycle. At one point I even saw wild mountain goats.

I hope you can see it for yourself when you watch the movie clip of today.

The last kilometer to the ice field was so steep that I had to push my bike. But it was worth it.

By 7 PM I reached a walk in campground directly by the ice fields. There were no showers so I had to wash myself in a creek that was flowing through. It was very refreshing.

I made contact with my neighbors. One family with four boys is originally from Quebec but now lives in the area and another couple came from Saskatchewan.

She is a member of the First Nation and he is in law enforcement specialized on finding dead bodies with his dog. They both were very different but connected via their love for nature and plant medicine.

In the past she had made a documentary film about the effects of residential schools on the life of members of the First Nation. And she had presented this film at a festival in Stuttgart, Germany. She had very fond memories of her time there and was impressed how sensitive the people she talked to were to the subject of her film. I was very happy to hear that.

The two guys, Chris and Mitch, told me about the wildlife here. Grizzlies, wolves and cougars. It was very encouraging. I was very happy that I was surrounded by them and that many of the tent crews had dogs with them.

As recommended, I packed out my bear spray and made it ready for use. I had it in my tent directly next to me in case of an emergency.

Since I had gotten in late, I was very concentrated on getting everything done before darkness: Setting up the tent, washing myself, making dinner, washing dishes, putting away the food and writing the blog of the day.

By 10 PM a thunderstorm started and it was time to go to bed. I am always amazed how my little tent can keep me dry in such a heavy rain.

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