Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Rest Days. Wonderful, Wonderful Rest Days

Location: Jasper, AB T0E, Canada
The straw bale house in Hinton was the first Warm Showers host we had had since leaving Terrace, 18 days ago. It was fantastic to have a destination and know that there would be a warm bed, showers and somewhere dry to relax. It cannot be overstated just how much these few little slivers of civilisation can boost morale and relax tired muscles. Our hosts, Sue, Bruce and their daughter Skye welcomed us into their home and made us feel welcome. We helped deliver some barbecued ribs and beers to the cowboys that were helping to look after Bruce's horse. The mare had been suffering from colic and wasn't eating or drinking so the ranch owners had walked the horse all night long and sat with her to help her eat and drink anything.  Emotions were high because colic can be very serious for horses; something that Sophie and I were unaware of.  After the trip to the ranch we headed back to the house and were offered a rest day if we wanted one.  We jumped at the chance and looked forward to a day off, in a house!!!

The next morning we had a lie in and then slowly sorted out our bikes (cleaning chains and switching tyres).  As were were sorting lunch we were informed by Sue that the mare had had to be put down as there was a complication with her intestines and it was the most humane course of action.  This, obviously, knocked everybody but still Sue and Skye were brilliant and continued to make us feel welcome and said it was no problem to stay a second night.  When Bruce returned from the vet's we talked and cooked dinner and learnt a lot about rodeos and cowboys.  It was sad to look at all the photos of the happy, smiling, very joyous Bruce but talk to a very upset and different person.

The next day we headed off to Jasper and the start of our "holiday" within our travels.  We were planning to reduce our mileage and do some easier days to get back into the mood of touring as we were both feeling a bit worse for wear.  Just after entering the park we bumped into Barbara and Matthias (we briefly talked about these two in Coyote Ugly and Beautiful Baby Bunnies), they carried on east as we headed north on the Stewart-Cassiar with Justin and Melissa.  They are two of the friendliest, warmest cyclists we have met on our journey.  After a brief, joyous reunion we again said goodbye as they headed to the hot springs and we headed into Jasper.  After a short day's ride we arrived in Jasper and went to the warm showers hosts, Greg and  Brittany's, place to chill out.  As it was our holiday we went out for a beer and ice cream and just walked around the town looking at all the tourists.

The next day we headed out to the SkyTram to do the hike up Whistlers Mountain.  I say hike but it's a 7 minute cable car ride followed by a 2km walk to the summit.  But summit it we did and now Sophie and I can class ourselves as mountaineers!!!!  The views from the top were astonishing.  We watched as the beautiful mountain scene was overrun with swirling clouds and rain; it was fantastic to watch.  Because of this we had the summit to ourselves and we drank in the vistas and enjoyed looking in every direction and viewing different scenes. (We took quite a few photos so check out the "Following the Trench" album for more).

After the descent (again cable car, but still mountaineers, like the late, great Edmund Hillary) we did have to walk back to Jasper as hitching a lift proved illusive.  The walk back in the rain wasn't fantastic but we chatted, joked and had a good fun time.  We even managed to get a great viewpoint to watch a herd of tourists.  These are such interesting beasts.  They had spotted some elk and proceeded to drive their cars every direction so that they didn't have to get out of their metal box.  There was shouting and sounding of horns and very questionable, dangerous maneuvers; some very animal interactions.  Whereas the elk were happy grazing and huddling under trees out of the rain.

After arriving in town we headed to a Chinese restaurant.  Sophie and I had a favourite place to eat noodles in Sheffield and in my slightly homesick state wanted to recreate a slice of home.  The noodles were not as good but they hit the spot all the ways we wanted and we headed back to Greg and Brittany's  place to crash out.  When we arrived they offered us to stay another day as the weather was forecast to turn.  That would mean that we would have cycled 1 day in 5 but we loved the idea to check out more of the town and sort a few more bits and pieces out.

Our last day in Jasper I spent the entire day indoors in my PJs (Sophie went out to get milk and cereal).  It was bliss to do absolutely nothing!! Our bikes were clean and laundry washed because of the day off in Hinton, so we watched some stuff on our laptop, updated our blog and planned our route down the Icefield Parkway.


  1. As always loved the photo's....Mr P

  2. Having some chill out days sounds wonderful :-D I love the descriptions of the wild tourists you've been watching!