Monday, August 16, 2010

Tenting Again

Wednesday, the 11th, found us back in Jasper being assigned Campsite C1 at the Wapiti Campground.  We were assigned what proved to be a pleasant site - enough privacy, forested although not as densely as at Grand Teton, level and easy to set up the tent.  (We aren't swift at making or breaking camp, but we think we get better each time we do.)
After the tent was set up and we had lunch, we explored the town of Jasper.  Jasper is more than 100 years old, predating the National Park.  Jasper started as a maintenance and crew change center for the Canadian National Railroad (CNR).  The main transcontinental line of the CNR still goes through Jasper and the railroad station is is central feature of the town.  As in the United States, Canadian passenger service has been spun off into an AMTRAK-like entity, VIA Rail Canada.
Steam Engine for the Mountains, circa 1925
The Canadian is VIA' Transcontinental Train

That afternoon we went for what the ranger at the visitors center in Jasper told us was a  pretty easy hike with gradual uphill segments and one short, steep segment to a knob termed Old Fort Point, overlooking Jasper.  So we thought we'd close the afternoon with the hike.  Not a good choice!  The trail proved to have steep segments punctuated by very steep ones.  And the trail was across glacial moraine (i.e., lots and lots of rocks.  To make matters worse, much of the trail was dry, hot, and uninteresting.  When we got to the interesting parts, overlooking the Athabasca River, we were pretty worn down.
View to the Northwest from Old Fort Point
Kayaks on the Athabasca River

Athabasca River from Old Fort Point - our Campsite is in the Upper Right Corner
We ended the afternoon/evening pretty exhausted.