We left the grand old Athabascan Hotel this morning after eating a big ole brekkie and adding bear spray and fuel canisters to our bike bags. It’s always an exhilarating feeling to finally get moving on the bikes. No more worries about logistics. What we have now is what we are going to have. Settling in to a simple basic rhythm of life is the real key to these trips. All else is really just more static.
There had been rain in the night which left a low ceiling of mist. The mountains were obscured. The Parkway itself is paved with wide shoulders that gave us some security riding with quite a bit of traffic in the month of July. The beauty of this part of the world is well known internationally. It’s a busy place. Campsites need to be secured by three or four in the afternoon. There are no reservations for our tent sites – it’s on a first come first served basis. The plan was to reach the Icefields 65 miles away. Camping sites are located just a couple of miles beyond.
As we moved past midday the sun had melted much of the fog from the mountains. In the distance glaciers appeared on the slopes rising above the narrow valley the Parkway followed. A glacier fed river moved alongside the same path. These glaciers run out of the huge Columbia Icefield which lies above and beyond these close mountains. Larger mountains rise above the icefield but cannot be seen from our vantage point in the valley below.
We biked over 4500 feet of climbing and reached a high point of close to 7000 feet today. Two pretty tired puppy dogs got their tents put up just before the rains came. The steady sound of drops hitting our tent roofs will make for good sleep tonight. Let the sandman come.