Sunday, September 16, 2012

Searching for Lake Annette

Jasper, Alberta, turns out to be a top place. After much needed freshening up we stroll around this mountain tourist town. Supper at the Jasper Pizza Place, next door to the Hotel Astoria, on the rooftop patio, in the company of a bunch of boisterous Aussies, turning the air blue. This town is not cheap but suffering somewhat in the recession. A shop assistant, where Annette bought some sunglasses, said: "last year was the worst ever." Apparently the high-rolling Yanks on $5,000 fishing trips aren't showing up and the Europeans are also staying home.
It was freezing overnight so we breakfast at Papa George's, next to the Hotel - special $6.95. We rent some cheap 'Suede' bicycles, at Jasper Source for Sports, $20 each for 4 hours, helmet, lock, map, provided. I also buy some new cycling gloves.
We set off down Highway 16 to find Lake Annette, across the Athabasca River. Superb scenery on quiet backroads in the company of elk and friendly Gray Jay or Whiskey Jack birds. We are constantly consulting the map, which also takes us to Lake Edith. While returning cars parked on the highway prove an obstacle as gawkers stop to stare at the wildlife. The trip of about twelve miles was glorious and seemed to be downhill all the way. Back for a snack lunch outdoors at the train station. An afternoon visit to the museum reveals that the Yellowhead Pass was named for a person.
While searching for a restaurant we see the Rocky Mountaineer train arriving from the west. We eventually take supper at Cassio's, 602 Connaught Drive, good Italian food, not cheap ($84 incl tip for two), but the wait staff are overwhelmed by the arrival of a grupo. An ordered coffee never materialises. We beat the retreat.
P.S. Jasper is at 3,800 feet, but we didn't experience any difficulty cycling.
Pic by Annette.

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