From Lake Louise we cycled up the
Icefields Parkway. We met lots of other cyclists, most of
them riding an organized tour. It was again a beautiful
sunny day and all along the way we passed beautiful
mountain scenery with turquoise lakes, rugged mountains
with glaciers and waterfalls.At the Saskatchewan River
Crossing a large group of cyclists ended their day, but
we continued our ride.
At Rampart Creek hostel I left a message for Ashley,
maybe he was cycling behind us? The hostel manager saw a
couple of grizzlies this morning, but despite all the
warning signs along the road, we hadn't seen one single
bear in the whole park yet.
Just after the Weeping Wall viewpoint the ten
kilometers long climb of Sunwapta pass started. Although
it was a bit lower than Bow pass, it was a tougher one.
The steep section just after the strange wide curve wasn't
too bad due to the tail wind, but near the view point of
Bridal Veil Falls there seemed no end to the climb.
The higher we went, the more impressive the glaciers.
Finally we arrived at the top. The sign was too heavy to
take it with me on the bike as souvenir...A few miles
further down hill, we camped at the Icefields campground
opposite of the foot of the Athabasca Glacier. On the
bulletin board someone left a message for me...???
Sunwapta pass/Athabasca Glacier
It was no surprise to me the message on
the bulletin board was from Ashley and soon we found him
at the campground. We spent the whole evening exchanging
stories of the past weeks. The next day the three of us
cycled to the Icefields information center, close to the
campground. A ride with the snow coaches on top of the
glacier was a bit too expensive, so we decided to hike up
the opposite mountain slope for a better view on the
It was a strenuous and steep hike through the shrubs.
From the rim we enjoyed the excellent views over the
valley and the glaciers. Back at the visitor center we
were looking for Andy, who turned back half way the climb.
It was very crowded with tourists and we couldn't find
him, so we headed for Jasper, supposing he was already on
The bumpy road to Jasper was a bit of a bummer, not a
nice long descent as we'd expected. After a stop at the
scenic Athabasca falls we took the old, narrow highway 93a,
a very scenic detour. On our way to Jasper we met again
two other cyclists, who started at the same campground
and helped them with some mechanical problems. It seemed
they met our pal Andy, who was cycling behind us! Later
that day we found him at Whistlers campground, he saw us
leaving the visitor center while he was still there...
Jasper seemed to be the place where a lot
of other cyclists ended their trip. Andy's trip is also
finished and he's happy going back home. Ashley is a bit
tired of cycling, being on the road for three months as
well. He's longing for the Alaskan coast and didn't like
to cycle all the way to Prince Rupert. After gathering
information at the bus and train station, we'd decided to
ride the next day to Mount Robson. From there I was
planning to cycle to Prince George. Ashley preferred to
hitchhike to Prince Rupert.
On the Yellowhead highway to Mount Robson
we encountered some head winds and it became clear our
pace was a bit different. I arrived alone at Mount Robson,
the highest mountain of the Canadian Rockies, rising high
above the valley floor, a spectacular sight. I asked some
people on motor bikes if they'd seen Ashley, but nobody
had seen another cycle tourist behind me. I also saw
someone waving from a car while I was cycling, so I
assumed Ashley got a ride to Prince George. I put a note
on the bulletin board and went looking for a campground.
At the campground I met a Dutch couple, Mariette and
Robert, making a bike trip through the USA, Canada,
Australia and New Zealand. They left Fairbanks, Alaska 6
weeks ago! It was nice to speak Dutch again after several
weeks, we roasted some marshmallows and time went by very
fast. It was already dark when I pitched my tent at their
site and forgot to look for Ashley at the visitor center.
Yellowhead Highway and Mount Robson
The following morning I got up very early to watch the
sunrise from Kinney Lake. A deep blue lake at the foot of
Mount Robson and accessible by a trail. Back at the
visitor center I met Ashley again! He couldn't find me
and pitched his tent elsewhere on the campground. After
breakfast we cycled together to Tete Jaune, from where
Ashley started hitchhiking. Maybe we would meet again
somewhere along the Alaskan coast, maybe not. And a few
hours later I met him in McBride waiting for another ride!
After two days of cycling the remote Yellowhead
highway I arrived in Prince George. Along the highway I
saw the first bears of my trip! The weather deteriorated,
it kept on raining the whole day and I finally decided to
take the train to Prince Rupert. Since there was no
luggage coach, it was not possible to take bicycles on
the train. I didn't like the alternative (taking the
Greyhound bus) and decided to try my luck in hitchhiking
the following morning. Luck was not on my side, but the
weather improved a bit and I started heading for the next
town Vanderhoof. After checking out the local campground
(didn't like the gravel sites, too much mosquitoes and
too expensive) I pitched my tent behind a baseball field.
The next day I bought a bus ticket to Prince Rupert,
wrapped my bike in cardboard and boarded the bus. The
whole day the weather was awful and I was glad I was now
busing instead of cycling. The rain had stopped as soon
as we arrived in Prince Rupert, the port to the Great
Alaska, my next adventure...