Our days of remote riding and isolation were well and truly over as we hit Jasper National Park to join a long queue resembling rush hour on a Monday morning in Worcester. However, the views were somewhat more breathtaking, azure blue lakes and snow-capped mountains with lush green Pine trees in-between.
Our campsite for the evening was a pleasant 3k walk from Jasper town centre and for once the sun was shining, we hoped it would hold out. Jasper was a cool town with a familiar vibe reminding us both of Chamonix. Our campsite treated us to a family off Elk wandering through at dusk. We were pleased it wasn’t a pack of hungry wolves!
The following day we hiked up Mount Edith, taking advantage of the sunshine to see some stunning views. The mountain trail led us past a hanging glacier and through beautiful wild flower meadows. Being ever prepared we carried our bear spray, just in case!
Unfortunately, we had picked the busiest time of year to visit the Rockies so with no campsite spaces in any of the sites in Jasper National Park, we decided to head south to Banff on the Ice fields Parkway. On this journey we encountered bears, caribou, wild goats, deer and some of the most magnificent scenery to date. To top it off we zipped up our man suits and wild camped on the side of a river, in a beautiful spot off the beaten track with the bear spray in easy reach. And guess what… it rained all night. In fact a storm broke out with humongous flashes of light and crashes of thunder that echoed around the valley, keeping us up most of the night.
As our favourite road so far came to an end our attention focused on our impending half marathon. We were keen to find a campsite that could accommodate us for 4 nights. But no such joy! The rain continued to fall and the weather looked uncertain for the next few days. With no accommodation available all of in Banff National Park, it was time to explore alternative options. Lorna took to Booking.com and suggested a city break in Calgary, where the sun was shining!
Calgary was a welcome break from the masses, the temperature was low twenties and to add to this, the apartment Lorna had booked was rather special and in a great location for exploring the city. After a night of serial box set watching on a 50inch TV, we ventured out of our luxury apartment and into the city to follow the tourist trail. The city presented itself as wealthy and modern with a laid back vibe.
After us spending a week’s budget on our two days rest, we hopped back onto the bike and into the mountains. This time the sun was out just long enough for Lorna to show Tom around Banff and for us to enjoy a cheeky beer on a rooftop terrace. Feeling refreshed we headed to the signing in station for our half marathon, that was to take place the following day. As we arrived it quickly became clear there was no half marathon in Banff, in fact that half marathon was over 2 hours away on the other side of Banff National Park. Admitting defeat we went back to our tent just in time for… you’ve guessed it… the heavens opened and it rained solidly for the next 24 hours. Luckily, we had a pack of cards, Uno, our Kindles and each other for company.
Not deterred, we were up bright and early and headed to one of the most famous tourist spots in the Rockies, Lake Louise, we were not disappointed by its beauty. We decided to get away from the masses and headed for a hike up into the mountains to truly admire the view of the lake.
Target for the night was Golden with Kamloops booked for the following day. Out of the mountains it was refreshing to camp in a green field, much like back home. Tom got chatting to two old easy riders over a couple of beers, we both enjoyed a good night sleep at last.
It rained the following day and whistler became a refuge for the weather before pushing onto the Vancouver. Lorna assured Tom that this is where the sun would be waiting for us, and it was! Due to the good weather, 3 nights became 4 with a party on Granville Street to kick it off!
We sunbathed, we explored, we eat and we drank, we even hired bicycles to explore the city. It felt great to relax and feel like regular tourist enjoying a summer holiday.
So that is that, over 3000 miles into our epic adventure and it is farewell to Canada. Next stop- The USA! Below is a little video of our fun so far, we have also made a video for our mascot Charlie Charford. He has his own blog so the children of Charford (Lorna’s School) and Monique and Max can follow our adventure, see Charford First School tab and link below.