31 July – Day 9
The weather couldn’t have been better… warm and sunny with a sparkling blue sky; the kind of day that just smells like summer. It was a day full of that lovely feeling that your skin is being gently kissed by the sun. Not burned, just tenderly embraced.
We decided to walk from town to the start of the Jasper Tramway (a cable car going up to the top of Whistler mountain)… or rather we negotiated and then agreed that we’d walk there and bus it back. Although Adrian likes bushwalking, and will happily go for a hike, I don’t think he’s particularly fond of walking as a form of commuting. Whereas I love it!
According to the map, it was only 5kms. Easy! Except… the map lied. Or possibly, we misread the map. It was about 8kms I’d say, with about 5 of those straight uphill, on a road with no verge, meaning we had to step into the bushes any time a car came past. Did I mention that it was a gorgeous summer’s day, so we had the sun beaming down on us for all 8kms?!
And then there was a bear incident. Well, a sort of incident. Which made me wonder why I’d even considered walking up to the start of the tramway in the first place. Anyway, we were trotting along at a reasonable pace when we saw cars start to pull over up ahead, 50 metres or so in front of us. That can only mean one thing in Jasper National Park: native wildlife has been spotted. Sometimes it’s a bison, or a goat, or a caribou. Or, a bear. We reached the first car, and the driver wound down his window to tell us “So a black bear just crossed the road. Just up there, 20 yards that-a-way. We thought you should know. Be careful.” My first though was to check if there was room in the car, in case we needed to jump in. However it was chock full of kids. However the car behind it, which we walked past next, only had two adults in the front seats so there was plenty of room if necessary. Just at that moment, the black bear crossed back across the road no more than 20 m from where we were standing. As Adrian helpfully pointed out, he was at least three times further away from the last bear when I kept telling him to get back on the bike. Yeah, thanks.
The bear disappeared into the bushes, the cars drove off and we continued on our merry way… although for me it was slightly less merry, given that all I could think about was if/where/when we’d see the next bear. And we were only 2km in at this point – so there was still a loooong way to go.
Anyway, we made it up to the tramway without any other bear sightings, rode the tramway up the 1,000m to the almost-summit and then walked about another 1.5kms to the summit. It was beautiful! Jasper really is a gorgeous, albeit tourist-filled, town.
We ended up lunching atop the mountain before slowly making our way back down the mountain into town – by tramway then by bus.
I finished the day with a 1.5 hour yin yoga class at the Jasper yoga studio – bliss after a long day of walking and a week of sitting on a motorbike.