On the Road Adventures

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sept 5-7 Prince George to Jasper

We stayed the weekend in Prince George since it is Labor Day weekend. The Canadians invented Labor Day and according to our campground host, anyone who doesn't go camping goes over to Edmonton to the Mall to shop for back-to-school. But they'd all be coming home on Monday and we'd have any park we wanted to stay at all to ourselves. There were a couple of caravans in South Park RV while we were there, one of them a retired military group that had spent two months on the Alaska trek. Nice folks, and we'll probably join the organization, but we're still not inclined to go on a caravan. Too much planning and structure. I do planning, but I prefer to do it myself, and I don’t do structure at all.

A side note: I asked our camp hosts what Canadians do with so much Cheese Whiz. Remember my photo of the dozens of quart sized jars of Cheese Whiz in the grocery store? Seems they use it like peanut butter and slather it on bread. A Cheese Whiz sandwich. Makes my arteries harden just thinking about it.

We left on Monday the 7th with no firm destination in mind. We could either go down through Valemont and Kamloops, or go over to Jasper and down through the Jasper/Banff park. The closer we got to the decision point, the more inclined we were to do Jasper/Banff, just because it's rated as one of the top ten scenic drives in the world.

Photo: Mt Robson, at 12,976' the tallest peak in British Columbia. The Canadian Rockies are different; all the layers of marine sediments were just pushed up instead of being scrambled and smooshed like the ranges farther south, so when the snow lands on them, it defines every layer so clearly. I need to find out more about this geology.

We got to Jasper about 4 in the afternoon and sat in a very long line to check into the campground. All the hook-up sites were full, so it's a good thing we don't mind dry camping, but so much for "have the park all to ourselves!" There were a lot of Europeans in the campground, which is a good thing. I'm glad to see them enjoying the scenery here, too. Our camp was in the middle of an old aspen forest, very pretty.

After setting up, we went into the town of Jasper, which looks as if it were designed by Disney. Dozens of gift shops, shoulder to shoulder, all selling the same stuff. We tried the visitor information center for the park, but it closed a minute before we got there. Oh, well, first stop tomorrow.

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