As you saw in yesterday’s post, we had lots of little outings in Jasper. But that took up a relatively small amount of our time in the biggest park of the Canadian Rockies. Most of our time in Jasper was about spending time doing ordinary things against an extraordinary backdrop.
Going to the playground with mountains in the background (Centennial playground in the town of Jasper)
More going to the playground with mountains in the background, and also elk (Whistlers campground with Whistlers mountain)
Driving with mountains in the background (lots of that). There was such a variety of mountain forms, like this gently curved one…
My favorite, this angular cathedral-like peak…
And lots of these, where rock millions of years old looks to have been peeled up like the crust of an orange. Some looked black, many grey, some red.
There was homework with mountains in the background…
Library with mountains in the background…
And of course, becoming Canadian citizens with mountains in the background. Ok, that wasn’t really everyday, but I had to squeak that in there.
While we were going about our everyday lives in this extraordinary landscape, we saw a surprising number of animals doing the same thing. I already mentioned that we saw several bears in Banff and Jasper. A highlight was seeing these two baby bears, high up in a tree. They were probably eating the little leaf shoots, or parked out of harm’s way while mama bear ran errands, or maybe both.
We did spot two bull elk, with very furry spring antlers.
But most of what we saw were female elk. They wandered through our campground constantly. One night, while Jared was doing dishes outside, this lady wandered close. She barely took notice of us while she grazed, even though she couldn’t have been more than ten yards away.
Let’s call her Shirley.
She wasn’t alone; others were grazing nearby. When another approached, whom we’ll call Gladys, I thought they were going to nuzzle or something.
Gladys: “Hi dear, I hope you’ve been enjoying the fresh grass. Nice weather we’re having today.”
Shirley: “The nerve of you talking to me. I saw you hanging around with Bill last fall, don’t think I didn’t.”
Gladys: “Oh my word. Shirley, you won’t say anything to Buck, will you? He thinks this calf is his.”
Shirley: “You made your own bed, you harlot; it’s not my fault if the straw pokes.”
Gladys: “How could you!”
Mabel and Donna: “Hey ladies! How’s the breeze this side of the pines?”
Gladys: [Makes a hasty exit, stage right. Sniffling.]
After our friends left, we had a couple of days left in Jasper. We did a lot of relaxing, but we did make time for one more side trip. This was back down the Icefields Parkway a little bit, to Athabasca Falls.
The short walk starts right by the highway, underneath this impressive slanting peak.
Before long, you are at the falls themselves.
The water has carved out the granite into curves which are highlighted by the horizontal lines of compressed strata. As we crossed a footbridge from which these pictures were taken, a sign informed us that less than a hundred years ago, this bridge would have gone directly over the falls. That’s how quickly the falls is eroding this canyon.
On the far side of the falls, paths meander through the rocks, allowing you to explore where former watercourses ran. And at the bottom of some steps, the canyon ends at a curve of the river with a rocky beach to explore.
I added a few pebbles to one of the inukshuks built on the shore. The blocks of granite make for perfect inukshuk blocks. Its humanoid shape is iconic, and to me symbolic of learning to just be, in a different place. It was good.