Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Such Great Heights

"They'll see us waving from such great heights,
‘Come down now,’ they'll say.
But everything looks perfect from far away,
‘Come down now,’ but we'll stay."

I had an unexpectedly comfortable night at the McBride Hotel, one of those old-school western hotels on top of a bar. I thought it was going to be smoky and noisy, but it turned out to be clean and quiet. A stone's throw away is an old train station at the end of a pretty little main street. It is a stunning setting for a town, cradled between two large mountain ranges.

My $50 room above the bar is the third window

They get points for the room key chains

The old train station

The Main Street

The road farther up the valley is surprisingly gentle after crossing over on the Rocky Mountain side. It is a perfect cycling road with wide shoulders and great views of the peaks of the Columbia Range. The sky was spotless — there is an almost impossible beauty and other-worldliness to seeing snow-capped mountains against a clear blue sky with glaciers sparkling. I feel so lucky to be cycling here on a perfect day.

I stopped at a rest area to have lunch and a family on its way to a wedding in Edmonton was also having their picnic. They gave me an apple and couple of frozen bottles of water, one of which was half-melted and I drank with my meal. The other was frozen solid and came in handy in the heat of the afternoon. I just love people like that!

My lunch — Noodle soup, a can of salmon and some plums, plus an apple!

Mount Robson is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies and towers above the Yellowhead Highway as the road turns towards the headwaters of the Fraser River. It's a long steady climb up to Jasper, with lots of great viewpoints. I stopped for a short hike down to Rearguard Falls halfway up the first climb. I had miscalculated the location of the campground I wanted to stay in by 40 km, which made for a shorter day. I also had the advantage of the pick of the campsites, and scored the best one — a sweet spot right on the banks of the Fraser River with an unbeatable view of the Great Mountain!

People rafting down the Fraser

Rearguard Falls

First view of Mt Robson

View from my campsite

Later in the evening



"And when you scan the radio,
I hope this song will guide you home"

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