Jul 202015
Day 13 Jonas Creek to Waterfowl Lakes (18.07.2015) 96km (1080); 1160 alt. In the morning it was not wet! Hooray! I left camp at 6:15, I'm getting better at packing.... Today would be a true climbing day: 96 km with 1160 altitude metres up. After the first long climb - which I had to pause on several times cursing my granny gear which just wasn't "granny" enough! - I reached one of the attractions of the Jasper National Park: The Glacier Skywalk. At 80$ entrance fee I normally would have declined but I was almost the first visitor that day and Matt, a friendly young attendant told me that cyclists who come up the steep way get in for free! So I spent an hour in a very interesting information centre on the formation of the Rockies, its plantlife, wildlife etc. before continuing up to today's ultimate goal: the Athabasca Glacier on the Columbia Icefield with its fantastic appearance. Andreas Roth, a German immigrant painter, created impressions of the glacier in the 1930s which clearly show the glacier's withdrawal of more than 1.5 km since that time ... I had seen pictures so often I recognized it immediately. I first had the impulse to ride the half kilometer to the parking lot at the glacier and then walk up to the ice itself but three things made me change my mind: I saw hundreds of cars, RVs and buses crowding the parking lot; the lower part of the icefield had three buses with hundreds of people on it; I needed coffee and to air my wet clothes in the sun! So I spent an hour in the center, spreading out some wet clothes on their patio, which was closed anyhow due to maintenance work. After setting off again to the Sumwapta Pass at over 2000m, I was passed by two cyclists on road bikes, no panniers and slick tires. They slowed, we talked. They were part of the group I had noticed at camp the night before and it turned out we were all heading to the same spot for the evening: Waterfowl Lakes. They invited me to come to their site in the evening. But first I got the most wonderful, spectacular, exciting tour of my life! The descent from Sumwapta Pass to Coleman Creek was the longest descent ever! Going 50 to 60 on a relatively empty road (most of the traffic went the other way up to the Glacier - it was still early in the day) I went by the most beautiful landscape imaginable - I could not stop to take pictures, but I will for ever have them before my eyes. In the evening I got to meet the whole group at the campsite and we had a really enjoyable evening. I was offered a couple of beers, again the hoppy variant I had first tasted in Vancouver and then a specialty from girl-scouts, which seems to be universal because its made by  girl scouts in New  Zealand as well as in Canada and who knows where else: A "Banana Boat" (A slit banana with chocolate baked on the campfire, very yummy!) Well, Simon, Karen, Jeff, Trish, Darren and little Emma were a really fun group to spend the evening with. Darren recently did a 100 mile run! Wow! Instigated by these people I will check out Josef Boydon and Pica Iyer as authors - possibly some reading food there ...      
 Posted by at 1:34 AM

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