11 February 2009

Into the Mountains [Day 22 & 23]

Hello all! We have arrived safely in Jasper. I hope you all like mountains - otherwise you may want to skip this post...

Day 22: We had a good sleep in again... I think we are getting lazy! I sorted out our hire car then Rob took us to get it in the afternoon. A nice little Hyundai, looked pretty tidy.

Once we had the car we went to visit my brother Daniel who is studying at the university. We caught up for a bit, went shopping, then went out for wings and beer. Good times :) But during the evening I noticed the engine check light came on... We have such great luck with rental cars huh?

Day 23: I got up bright and early to call the rental place to sort out the car. We wanted to get it sorted as soon as - because we were meant to be heading into the mountains that day. We packed the car up and drove down to the place. The guy took it around the back for about 10 minutes then came back telling us it was a "sensor"... though he didn't say which one. The light had gone out anyway so we didn't really mind. He did say it may come back though, but not to worry... A bit dodge, but the car seemed to run fine when the light was on, so off we went.

When we were at the rental place it started snowing for the first time since we have been in Canada! Rochelle was so excited. Only problem was the weather was so overcast and shitty, we were worried we wouldn't be able to see the mountains - which was the whole point of the trip. As we headed out of the city, the weather cleared up all of a sudden, and we were looking at the huge mountains against a blue sky. So lucky!

So our plan for the next few days is:

Start from Calgary (Point D)
Point B is Jasper (where we are now)
Point C is Radium hot springs
Back to Calgary the long way.

We were going to check out Revelstoke aswell but we had to go through another 2 national parks, which cost about $30 each to get through, and the accommodation there is through the roof! Plus its just more mountains... and you see the best of them on the drive up to Jasper apparently, so we aren't phased.

Today's drive was amazing, even better than we thought it would be. The further we drove, the larger and more snow covered the mountains became! There are these HUGE vertical rock faces that rise straight up from the side of the road. And they go forever... After every corner there is another wall of mountains in front of you.

Our first stop was Banff. Its a small touristy town with huge mountains on either side.

The last picture is this huge resort we came across. It was like a castle! I also noticed the engine check light come on just after Banff... great.

One funny thing we saw is these 'overpasses' that have been built for the animals to get across the road. Rob told me they spent 10 million on these things... for the animals... to get across the road... Yeah, I don't get it either...

Next stop was Lake Louise. Another small, touristy town with a huge resort, plus an enormous frozen lake. We also saw these cool sled dogs (sorry I don't know what they are called).

After Louise we turned off the main highway onto a smaller mountain road. This was just plain scary. In most places the road was completely covered in ice - making turning and braking quite difficult... Buuut we took our time and we were fine.

We didn't have a lot of other stops, but got lots of awesome pictures of the mountains. We also saw amazing frozen lakes and a glacier. Some looked as if the water was still flowing.

We got to Jasper and found a hotel. Quite nice but expensive compared to what we are used to. We got settled in, then decided to go out for some dinner. We walked out the door and were met by these enourmous elk less than 5m away. We drove past in our car right beside them and they didnt even flinch.

The food was unbelievably expensive... but that's what you get in a remote mountain village I guess.

Plans have changed slightly for next week. We now plan to go to Toronto. It just makes more sense as we can get flights directly from there to Dublin (rather than coming back to Calgary). It is also closer to the Niagra falls which we are both really keen to see.

Next Post - 'In the Mountains'

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