On our final day in Jasper, we got up nice and early, in huge part to maximise our time at breakfast but mostly due to attempting to squeeze in as much of Jasper as possible before heading back to Edmonton in the afternoon.
We started pretty much immediately after breakfast with what was supposed to be snowshoeing around Jasper with our guide Paula (her website is www.walksntalks.com and she’s something of a fountain of knowledge on all things Jasper). Snowshoeing, by the way, is a much faster way of seeing snow-clad Jasper than just trying to do it in your regular shoes.
Contrary to what we expected, we started off our walk with a drive around Jasper in search of Canadian wildlife. To be honest, for the first few minutes, I was a bit skeptical that we would see anything at all (we’d been here two days and hadn’t seen as much as an elk) – lo and behold, in less than 5 minutes, we’d already spotted a coyote in the distance! (*I’ve got a photo of it but I didn’t pack my proper zoom lens with me so it’s not the greatest photo).
We drove on and within a few more minute, saw some male elks on the side of the road. I couldn’t quite believe how good Paula was at spotting the wildlife here – up until this morning with her, we’d seen nothing the entire time we’d been here.
We moved on in search of beavers (easier as they tend to stick round their dam and… er… I’m gonna say ‘hutch’ (the beaver house), in truth. I have no idea what you call the place a beaver lives in. Two secs while I go google it…
Lodge! Beaver lodge!!! (Literally on Wikipedia as we speak). That’s what a beaver’s home is called. It seems so silly now that I think of it as I’m pretty sure I’ve always know what it was – Beaver Lodge just sounds far too familiar for me to not have known it. But I digress…
We looked around the lake area that the beavers call home and due to the cold (and the fact that beavers are mostly nocturnal), we saw nothing – though by this point, seeing the elk alone (and the coyote in the distance), I was totally fine with that. I’d expected to see literally zero Canadian wildlife the entire time so this had already surpassed my expectations.
Snowshoeing here would usually take you across the Pyramid lake to the base of Pyramid mountain (remember them here?) but due to limited time, we did about half of this before heading back to the hotel to check out (saying farewell to Paula in the process), chuck our luggage in the boot and head back down to the lake for a special treat!
*Above is why you should never try to walk backwards in a snowshoe! 😀
The treat? Dog sledding!
Usually dog sledding (we went with Cold Fire Dog Sledding) is done in the middle of the woods and would last a fair bit of time, which would have meant we wouldn’t have been able to do it as we need to leave for Edmonton by noon but luckily for us, they’d brought it into Jasper (i.e. back at Pyramid Lake) and so, we could properly indulge in this before leaving Jasper.
The dogs are so adorable and so well trained, they’re also a lot smaller than I thought they would be to be honest – no one ever mentions that. I guess it’s because they’re Alaskan huskies, which I found out, aren’t actually pure-breed dogs, they’re a mix of several types of dogs with a dominant Siberian husky make-up so they can be all shapes, sizes and colours (some with those famous husky eyes) but there’s no other dog faster or more equipped than the Alaskan husky for sledding. (Little things you learn every day, eh?).
The ride itself was so much fun!
Zipping through the snow and frozen lake with the crisp Canadian air thoroughly re-invigorating you (the temperature had also changed to like 10C… not minus 10C – actually 10C!) and so it was the perfect day for dog-sledding.
We went around the lake, laughing the entire way (almost falling over at one point because I insisted on trying to assist in ‘driving’ and lost control from all the giggling). Eventually though, we had to say goodbye to the cute dogs and make our way back to Edmonton.
On the drive to grab lunch in Jasper, almost out of the blue, a couple of deer popped out onto the road! Talk about a day for seeing wildlife, eh? Then again, now that I think about it, it may have had something do with the drop in temperature?
For lunch, we stopped off at Coco’s café where I ended up getting an amazing grilled cheese sandwich, again – unlike any grilled cheese sandwich I’ve ever tasted (it had slices of apple in for starters and as it turned out, that works brilliantly with the grilled cheese). I also got a delicious quinoa salad (look at me being all good and healthy… ignore the cheese, of course). Lloyd went for a soup and a sandwich, which he assured me was absolutely delicious and the perfect thing to abate that hunger, which I insist was induced by all that fresh Canadian air!
For the road, I got a strawberry smoothie (oh, so good!).
Driving back, we bumped into even more elk (*like seriously, what are the odds) and before long we were on that stretch of road back to Edmonton.
In Edmonton, we stayed at the Crash Hotel and seeing as the flight back to London wasn’t leaving till the next day, we headed out to watch a proper match of that much-loved Canadian game – Ice Hockey.
Now, I have to admit, I barely (just barely) know the rules to Ice hockey (get the puck in the net, right?) but I’d been wanting to do this since the first time we visited Canada (I even have an Canucks puck from Vancouver that I got as a souvenir when we visited in 2010).Before that, we popped downstairs to the Crash bar (1st floor of the hotel) for a pre-game drink and some food, which we proceeded to wolf down almost as quickly as it appeared onto our table.
The hockey match was held at Roger place (the new centre I mentioned here) and the energy here was absolutely electric! Everyone was here to have fun and the sheer size of the place is absolutely incredible (if you told me you got lost here, I’d totally understand why 🙂 ).
The match itself was actually great fun, with some “Oooh!!!”-slash-“Ouch!”-slash- “Yay!!!” moments when the players (from both sides of the teams) got bumped into the sidelines… or when a puck went rogue and flew into the audience (don’t worry no one got hurt).
You’re not allowed to take your cameras in so I relied on my iPhone for photos but honestly, this was a blessing in disguise as I could actually kick back, relax and enjoy the match!
It was such a fantastic way to finish the night (and indeed the week) in the wonderful city that is Edmonton! 😀
By the time we left for the airport the next day morning, I just kept thinking how I’d love to do it all again – perhaps in summer (?) where I’ve been told everything changes (it gets really hot apparently) and hence creates the opportunity for a whole new and exciting set of experiences in fantastic Edmonton! 🙂