05.08.10 Jasper

Today was a day of some much needed exercise, as after the long eight or nine hour drive to Jasper yesterday the team ventured out to explore a little bit of the Rockies.

The majority of the team took to the Jasper Tramway, a cable car up Whistler’s Mountain to a height of 7472ft (2277m). Once there we enjoyed a short one and a half km walk up to the summit. However, those who had sampled the (rather limited) Jasper nightlife the night before perhaps didn’t enjoy the steep inclines quite so much, with one team member making it up the tramway, declining the walk and returning to the bottom to have a snooze.

At the top those who had done the climb were rewarded by some spectacular views of the surrounding Rocky mountains and lakes - as well as some expert tuition by the team’s Geographer. After taking in the views and meeting the local marmots (who do indeed issue a piercing warning whistle, for example when confronted by a Cambridge student sprinting straight for them), the team enjoyed a short impromptu snowball fight before heading back down for lunch.

Those who had not done the mountain trip also enjoyed plenty of exercise walking around the various shops and museums to be found in Jasper.

After lunch the team headed off to spend the afternoon by Patricia Lake. Some of the team were satisfied, having ‘believed’ they’d seen ‘part of’ a bear, so enjoyed a late lunch and lazy paddle by the shore. A select few who hadn’t got quite enough exercise from climbing Mount Whistler that morning went on an adventurous five mile ramble through the forest and around the lake in search of bears and other wild life, but discovered only a chipmunk and two butterflies, despite climbing up to a little visited lake that they were assured by the locals was ‘bear central’. This was followed by some well-deserved tea and cake and some more shopping, to the dismay of the main coach.

Meanwhile, the Dickenson family not only enjoyed a serene day out at Lake Maligne and Canyon, but also spotted a photogenic bear and returned with incontrovertible proof of the encounter.

The team later made up for their extraneous activities by filling up on Mega Game Burgers containing Elk, Venison and Moose.