Day Fourteen

Hikey hikey mountains mountains. That’s about all brain can handle after today! My feet are dead, and I might as well keep my eyes closed forever because I can’t imagine much that could beat the vistas I saw today.

I woke up for the second time today after being very rudely awakened around 5:00 am by one of the larger groups staying in the hostel. One of them had set a very loud alarm meant to wake their whole group, but God forbid they turn it off within ten minutes. I lay in bed plotting for quite a while this morning, and I doubt I was alone. Finally, one of them had the decency to realize they were sleeping in a room with about 40 people who didn’t need to be awake at 5:00 am and turned the thing off. Wake-Up Number Two was much more pleasant than Wake-Up Number One, and after packing my things to move to my new bed later in the day, I went up for a bit of breakfast before heading off to town for the day.

I started walking down the highway into town, thinking that would be as much of a hike as anything else I had planned for the day. A white truck passed me after a few minutes, then turned around to ask if I was headed into town. My instincts said the guys in the truck were not serial killers (and clearly I was right, as I am indeed still alive), so I gratefully jumped in the back. They dropped me off at Patricia Street, where I stood staring at a map for a good ten minutes trying to decided which hike to do. Someone tattle front desk of the hostel had told me that Old Fort Point had great views when you reached the summit, and after seeing that it wasn’t far to the trailhead I set off in that direction.

I took Red Squirrel Trail out of town, following the Athabasca River. As I was walking, I came across an absolutely gorgeous spot where you could see the glacial blue color of the water and a few different landmark mountains. I decided it would be a lovely place to sit down and have a snack. While I was enjoying the view, a Greek man (who came to visit Jasper and wound up living here for the past 35 years) and his granddaughter walked by and struck up a conversation. They pointed out the way to Old Fort Point before asking me if I’d like to join them on their hike. Unfortunately, their route would put me back in town too late to catch the last shuttle back the hostel, so we parted ways. I kept on eating my snack (breakfast wasn’t much to brag about), when a couple came walking by. The woman exclaimed, “What a beautiful spot you’ve got here!” before asking if I would like her to take my picture. I was very thankful and took her up on the offer; there are really only so many selfies you can take before you wish you could get a better shot, and she was able to give me just that.

After a little while more at the spot by the river, I continued on my way towards Old Fort Point. I crossed a bridge over the river and saw the trailhead across the parking lot where all the rafting tours park their buses. When I got to the trailhead, I saw that I could take Trail 1 to Old Fort Point or Trail 7 to the Five Lakes. I had heard the Five Lakes are really awesome, but that hike was an estimated four to five hours, whereas Old Fort Point was supposed to be one. Knowing it would probably take me longer than the estimated time, I stuck with my original plan. This wound up being a great choice, since I overheard a group later saying that Five Lakes was closed after a certain point because it was absolutely crawling with bears.

The hike was amazing! It took my through the forest before starting to wrap it’s way up the mountain. I hit two false summits that I thought were spectacular until I finally hit the actual summit. I could see the Athabasca River, the town of Jasper, and a deep blue alpine lake by the Jasper Park Lodge all from that point. I can’t wait to share the pictures! After gaping at the point for quite a while, I started picking my way back down towards town. The trail spit me out right by the bridge I had crossed, and I was immediately thankful I took the trail in the direction I did; I don’t think I could have made it up the steep grade of the hill I had to climb down to get off the trail.

I walked back into town and stopped to get some drinks for the night. I still had almost an hour before the shuttle would come in, so I shopped around for a Jasper patch for my pack. I also couldn’t resist grabbing an ice cream cone and iceberg chocolate from a cute little shop on the man drag of town called Candy Bear’s Lair. I sat leaning against the stuffed candy bear outside, enjoying my ice cream and the summer sun until the shuttle came to take me back to the hostel.

Once I was back I had a quick drink on the lawn, a rinse in the shower, changed out of my sweaty, gross clothes, and took a much needed nap. Once I woke up I made myself the dinner of champions (i.e. – KD) and curled up on the couch to read my book.

Casper came in from his much more arduous hike up Whistler Mountain and we caught up on our day. We were joined by a man, Ryan, from Florida on his way up to Denali to start a new job. The three of us spent most of the night talking movies before Ryan went to bed.

Casper and I started talking about the kinds of questions people always ask us when they find out where we’re from. He said he had no idea how good Belgian chocolate is or how famous it is until he got outside the country and everyone started asking him about it. He said he also gets a lot of questions about beer and about the bilingual nature of Belgium. At one point, I asked him if Belgium had any kind of open container laws, and seeing as I had to explain to him what one of those was, it made sense that his eventual answer was “no.” He was horrified when I explained North American open container laws to him. I think he was honestly genuinely disturbed. He was face priceless.

The hostel staff started turning the lights off for quiet hours and Casper and I decided to turn in for the night. Tomorrow, I take the bus down to Lake Louise for a few days! I saw pictures of the lake from yesterday and apparently there’s still ice on it, but I’m hoping it will be mostly melted my the time I’m ready to take my picture there!

Also, I’d like to wish a happy closing to the cast and crew of BSM’s production of The Drowsy Chaperone. I heard the show was fabulous, and like I’ve said before, it was very weird not to be home working on it with all of you. To all the seniors for whom this was their last show, I hope you enjoyed every minute. You will never forget the experiences you had on that stage (or in the booth); I know I haven’t. I’d like to give a special shout-out to the graduating booth crew. With the exception of Adam, you were the first group of students I worked with entirely after having graduated, and you are all very special to me. It was so wonderful to work with you all and see you grow as you learned more about your jobs. I have so many fond and funny memories of our early mornings, skipped lunches, and late nights, and I hope you feel the same way about them. I know you’ll all do well with where you’re headed next (Im excited to see your announcements on Decision Day tomorrow) and hope you’ll still come back to visit every now and again!

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