A Look Back: Matters of Pride, Camping with an Elk in Jasper National Park and the Columbia Icefields
|Warm and wonderful in Jasper National Park.|
After driving along the rest of the Alcan, through the Yukon, Liard Hot Springs and part of British Columbia, we stopped to camp in Jasper National Park. The journal excerpts continue with an account of our unexpected early morning visitor and moving on from Jasper into the Columbia Icefields for some of the most incredible terrain I'd ever seen.
I awoke feeling restless at 5:30am with an urge to use the facilities. I spend a good length of time arguing internally about whether or not extracting myself from the warm sleeping bag was worth it, or if I could manage a little more sleep until the sun rose and warmed the tent. It's one of those impossibly constant cool weather camping problems; one I was glad to have. Dan and I had switched sleeping bags on account of his being warmer and my body's inability to regulate its own temperature. I'd warmed sufficiently by that point to have shed my very top insulating layer, which included my big, marshmallowy Cornell Athletics sweatpants. (To the Athletics Office: I'm not sorry I didn't return them after graduation. After surviving four years of college swimming, I deserve them.) I'd shoved them to the bottom of the sleeping bag and a walk to the bathroom meant retrieving them. Ah, well.
|Dan and the fire I finally managed to make!|
I'd wanted to make a fire in the morning and was determined to do so before Dan got up. I collected an armful of dead spruce branches and thought I'd have a roaring blaze in no time. Wrong. After crouching near the kindling and fiddling with my lighter, all I'd managed to do was turn the pile of pine needles and bark from brown to black. I was about to surrender when I heard Dan stir in the tent. It had become a matter of pride. I must get the fire started! I must!! I flicked the lighter one last time and managed to ignite the bundle of wet sticks. Victory! It was almost as difficult to keep the little flame lit, but I managed to avoid embarrassment and ridicule by doing so...barely.
|Our early morning campsite guest in Jasper National Park.|
|The beginning of the Columbia Icefields. There are no words.|
In the next "A Look Back" post on May 13th, the journey continues through the Columbia Icefields and on a backpacking trip to one of the largest backcountry glacial lakes in Banff National Park!