Tour de Grizzlies – Scenic Photo Edition

  • Instagram redux
  • Fresh off the shuttle bus in Jasper. The cocktails and Tim Hortons donuts and pastries we had while waiting at the Edmonton airport kicked things off right.
  • Day 1: My trusty gal all loaded up and ready to roll. By the time a round of selfies and breakfast were complete, the rainstorm we were trying to beat had rolled in. That same storm dropped hail in town a few hours later.
  • Day 1: Athabasca Falls at the end of an optional side route -- with two bonus hills -- on 93A.
  • Day 1: Caribou warning on the Icefields Parkway.
  • Day 1: Open road and big sky.
  • Day 1: Closing in on Beauty Creek and the end of the day's riding. Hostel host Brian fetched then boiled a batch of hot water so arriving cyclists could rinse off.
  • Day 2: Columbia Icefield. This monster is thicker than the Eiffel Tower is tall.
  • Day 2: Climate change deniers beware. It's mind boggling when you see in person how far this glacier has receded.
  • Day 2: On the glacier of the Columbia Icefields. Here the custom is to snap a photo of the warning sign about child-swallowing crevasses then hike out and stand on the ice. If everyone is doing it, it must be safe, right?
  • Day 2: Sunwapta Pass (elevation 6676'). This secondary climb of the day had been looming on the elevation chart as a killer, but it turns out, it's not that bad. When we hit it, we interrupted singing along to Nirvana's MTV Unplugged in New York to spontaneously yell out, "That's it???!!" Sunwapta is the border between Jasper and Banff National Parks.
  • Day 2: As with any hill, the reward of a climb is the joy of the ride down the other side. In this case, Sunwapta rewarded with crazy speeds and breathtaking views. I've never felt so exhilarated in my life. The bikes were equally drained.
  • Day 2: Looking back after Sunwapta Pass in Banff National Park.
  • Day 2: Blue skies and beautiful riding in Banff National Park on the way to the campground.
  • Day 2: More mountains, glaciers, and wide open space. Traffic? What traffic?
  • Day 2: Waterfowl Lakes Campground. I was so tired that night I could have been on broken glass and nails and still slept like a baby.
  • Day 3: Bow Pass. Riders differ over which of the two climbs on this route is more challenging. Sunwapta had a steeper grade in sections but Bow was my heart breaker. It just went on and on and on.
  • Day 3: Still riding up Bow Pass. If nothing else, climbing for that long allows you to get into a good cadence and then snap selfies as a distraction.
  • Day 3: Bow Summit and the most welcome parking lot sign I have ever encountered.
  • Day 3: Bow Summit (elevation 6840'), the highest point on the Icefields Parkway.
  • Day 3: Another killer downhill on the way to Bow Lake and Simpson's Num-Ti-Jah Lodge for lunch. It turns out that Num-Ti-Jah is Canadian for "No Lunch Left." They'd sold out of food (??), and we were ravenous after a limited breakfast. Pleading with the front desk staff to see if the kitchen was open yielded nothing. I resorted to making sandwiches with what was available: crackers, baby carrots, and copious amounts of Heinz yellow mustard.
  • Day 3: Nighttime security behind the electrified bear fence at the Lake Louise Campground. Lake Louise would undergo a routine town-wide power outage the following night. In addition to spurring a panicked second search for food, it also sparked ideas for a B movie horror script.
  • Rest Day: Hiking above Lake Louise. This guy was hamming it up for the camera.
  • Rest Day: The view from the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse.
  • Rest Day: It's easy to forget where you are when you're up at the teahouse.
  • Rest Day: The glacier side of Lake Louise looking back toward the Fairmont.
  • Day 4: Riding into Banff town along the Vermilion Lakes Rd.
  • Day 4: A hard-earned reward in the form of a massage and spa time at the Fairmont Banff Springs.
  • Layover Day: With bike at the shop getting boxed up, I explored Banff on two feet and enjoyed some more rest and relaxation on a deck overlooking the Bow Falls river valley.
  • Layover Day: I couldn't get enough of this vintage beauty parked in the neighborhood in Banff.
  • End of the Road: Loading up for the ride to the airport and flight home.

Eventually I’ll write up a real post about the bike touring trip from Jasper to Banff. But in the meantime, here are some of the photos that I’ve been promising everyone.

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