Western Canada: The Almost-Road to Jasper – Part Two


Note:  Our trip to Canada was taken in May 2008

Just past Peyto Lake in Banff National Park was the unmarked Upper Waterfowl, little more than a tree-lined turnout on the west side of the road.  

A fifty-something Scotsman and a young woman were taking a lunch break at the turnout, their heavily-laden bicycles cast aside for the moment; they encouraged us to check out the lake at the bottom of the hill and said they’d join us presently to enjoy their pudding by the water.

The Upper Waterfowl Lake was dark and wide, entirely melted in late May, and peppered with graceful loons.  The shore was a pebbly marsh, so standing was our best option to enjoy the view.  

We were soon joined by our fellow travelers, who turned out to be biking across Canada from end to end.  Never did figure out what a shy 19 year-old girl from Germany, about to return to Dresden to start university, was doing traipsing across North America with a twinkly, small bald man old enough to be her dad, but I’m sure it was a good story. 

To my overworked husband, the Scotsman seemed a portent from the future, a millionaire businessman who’d worked himself around the clock from year to year until one day he chucked it all (except the money) and ran away from Scotland.  Since then, he’d been everywhere at least once. 

About to wrap up this latest adventure, he was planning to head up to Anchorage and pick up a motorcycle he’d left there two years prior.  He’d ridden it up there…from Chile.  

After Alaska, he was set on indulging a dream: To spend a year living on the northern tip of Vancouver Island, in the small fishing village of Telegraph Cove, watching whales and taking a long, deep breath. 

A few days later, we’d discover that we hadn’t left enough time on our own Vancouver Island trip to see the far northern Telegraph Cove for ourselves.  But believe me, if this guy’s willing to settle there, it must be a real gem.  It’s now on our list.

Leaving the lake, and several dozen insanely gorgeous mountains, lakes, and river bridges later, we arrived tired and hungry at the multi-purpose rest stop of Saskatchewan Crossing.  Here we grabbed a nutritious meal of Canadian potato chips, bottled Starbucks, and the afore-mentioned maple candy.  (No one can say we don’t know how to live.)  

By now it was 4pm, and according to the cheerful teenage guys “manning” the gift shop, we were facing 45 more minutes of driving before even reaching the Columbia Icefield, much less waiting in line for tickets and then touring them for two hours.  At that point, all we could picture was the azure-tiled, always-empty hot tub back at the Post Hotel…and sagely chose to turn back.

After all, not everyone has the same spirit of adventure.  How much natural beauty do you need in one day?  

*For more photos on this leg of our Western Canadian journey, click here.


Continued in Through Kootenay to Radium Hot Springs


  1. I wanted to thank you for stopping by my blog. You have great stories here on yours.
    I remember seeing Jasper. I did an elective training in Edmonton Alberta for a month years ago and my parents and sister at that time came to visit for a month and every weekend we take off to see something around the rocky mountains. One weekend we set off that day. We packed my small Rav4 with 4 adults and weekend packing including wanting to have a grill and picnic so once we finally got to Jasper rested and found out where to picnic we drove to the suggested site and started setting for our picnic just as we are almost starting our picnic and then suddenly there is a bear near the lake now coming form Jeddah my family never seen a bear up close so in a frenzy packed and got into my small again. We ended up eating in the park in Jasper it self.
    I still remember the scenery there its breath taking with amazing weather.


Speak Your Mind