Another incredible day cycling.
First, let me tell you about our camp ground from yesterday. It was the most amazing camp ground that I've ever seen. Well, I haven't seen a ton of campgrounds - OK - I've seen my fair share. This one was amazing! The washrooms were five star which was a nice welcome. Sometimes well, they look like an afterthought. But the best part is that the Fraser River flows right beside the campground. And when I say flows - I mean FAST. The color was spectacular and there were beautiful Muskoka (or Adirondack chairs) sitting on the river banks for us to enjoy.
At one point, I think the entire group was sitting on the chairs or lounging on the rocks at the river's edge. It was a fabulous way to spend the afternoon. I read a bit and then we noticed that some fish were jumping in the river. Our environmental specialist, Jamie, said they were likely salmon. Mike to the rescue with a bit of googling and yes they were likely salmon. We actually saw a couple of them jump several feet out of the water. No chance to get a picture, but very cool to watch.
As we were sitting there watching the river - I mean, how exciting is that - to just watch the river, we did notice some big clouds coming in and just before dinner we had our second shower at the campground. Didn't last long and wasn't super wet afterwards.
Another amazing dinner by Megan. She never ceases to amaze me with her talents in the kitchen.
Some of the group had a bonfire before bed, but seriously, I was already in bed and within a few minutes out like a light.
When we woke up this morning, it was cloudy. Got everything organized for our rest day tomorrow and that meant shuffling some stuff from one bag to another. No worries and then around 7:30 - I was off. I can't stand waiting around when I could be on the road.
So much for seeing Mount Robson - it was socked in with clouds and nothing was visible.
Shortly after passing Mount Robson, it started to rain. Not hard, but enough. Then it started to rain a bit more. Shoot - I put all my clothes on - my skimpy rain jacket and my sleeves. It was wet. Crap - I mean carp! But what are you going to do - you just suck it up and ride. And you know - it wasn't that bad. I've riden in a lot worse rain. This was a bit heavier than the rain from a couple of days ago, but not a downpour.
Some of the others passed me - that's a normal thing. I'm OK with that. Like I said the other day, you have hallucinations - well not really, but you imagine that the sky is getting lighter. In fact it was and I would say that about 1/3 of the distance, the rain stopped. The sun did not come out, but that's OK. I'm perfectly happy with a cloudy sky and no rain. It still looked like it could rain, but all I saw were wet roads in a couple of spots - no more rain. So by the time I arrived in Jasper, I was completely dry. Although my shoes are still a bit wet. Get out the newspaper.
The scenery is spectacular through this part even with all the clouds. It's a shame that it was so cloudy for those that haven't seen these mountains so they could appreciate them. I've been through many times, so it's no big deal. But the fact of riding alone with all those majestic mountains - well, it just doesn't get any better than that.
I met up with the fast group about half way - at Moose Lake which is a HUGE lake and beautiful color. Had my Snickers bar for energy and a quick bathroom break. I didn't realize anything was amiss, I thought they were just taking pictures. But when I caught up to them a bit further down the road, I realized that one of the riders was having trouble with her knee. OK - that's why I like to ride at MY pace and not someone else's. You're just asking for trouble. It's great to get out and push when you're only riding one or two days, but this is our ninth day of riding - you got to know what you're capable of. Pace yourself!!!
The Alberta border! While it isn't as big a milestone as when you're riding across Canada, it still significant enough for a picture and it just happened that the fast group was now behind me and they stopped to take my picture. What can I say - it's a tradition - cross the provincial border - take a picture!
For some reason in my mind, I had this idea that today's ride was 109K, but I kept seeing signs to Jasper that were off from my mileage. Then I looked at the map and realized that we only had 104 K today. Trust me, that 5K makes a huge difference.
So I rode into Jasper with the fast group which was nice. We locked up the bikes and went for a late lunch. I hadn't eaten too much on the road so I was starving. Earl's is right across the street from the hotel (yes - I said hotel!) and a bunch of us ended up there for lunch.
It was great, but with more cyclists coming in, it was taking a long time and by the end, I had to get moving. My legs were cramping up just sitting there.
I've now checked into the hotel, had to dig my luggage out from underneath everyone else's (of course!) and had a shower and now I'm sitting with a bunch of backpackers (or maybe just campers) as I do my laundry.
Tomorrow is a rest day which will be very welcome. Although these last four days have been amazing riding - the distances have been perfect and the hills just didn't seem too big. Oh my - did I say that? I think the highest that my GPS said today was 1,146 M or something like that. And we started the day around 800 M. The climbs were gentle and I didn't really mind any of them. My legs are stronger and my brain has become one with my bike!
The wash is done and now everything is in the dryer. Who cares about separating things - nope - all goes in one load. So now that I get laundry out of the way today, I'm not going to have to do anything tomorrow. I can sleep in, I can read, I can do nothing!!!!!! Which is good as we have four more days left to ride, but each of those days (well three of the four) are going to bring a huge challenge. And I mean HUGE. But I can say that I'm ready. Mike says I cheated as I "called a friend (DH) " for help. Based on the temperature and the past weather conditions in Calgary, I had him ship me my heavy duty rain gear. Let's hope I won't need it, but our first night camping is going to be a cold one (my prediction) and I'm going to need everything I got to keep warm.
On that note, I'm out of here. Happy, mosquito bites everywhere, and a bit of sun, but no burns.
Have a great day!!!