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Canadian Rockies Adventure - Day Four

Jasper Park Lodge Day One - Vancouver
P.O. Box 40 Day Two - Kamloops
Jasper, Alberta, Canada Day Three - Jasper
780-852-3301 Day Four - Jasper
Day Five - Lake Louise
Jasper Park Lodge Home Page Day Six - Banff
Day Seven - Calgary

Tuesday, June 27, 2000

We boarded our motorcoach at 8 a.m. Our driver was Mario, a quick-witted tour guide who was extremely knowledgeable and took great pride in Alberta and in his bus. The buses used by Rocky Mountaineer were beautiful and had spiral staircases in the front. The buses were "kneeling" buses that hydraulically lowered themselves towards the ground, which made embarking and disembarking a piece of cake. Since our hotel was the first pick-up, we got to see the outside of the other hotels where people on the tour were staying. They were nice enough, as Jasper is a nice, neat, small town, but we were glad we were staying at JPL.
Our first stop was the Jasper tramway. The passengers in the tram stood up, and they crammed as many people in the tram as was safely possible (well over 20 people). The views were beautiful, but Lori found it extremely claustrophobic on the way up. Surprisingly, it was not very cold at the top of the mountain, although there was snow in patches. We werenít quite at the summit of the mountain (but close enough for our tastes). We were above the tree line (trees do not grow at an elevation more than 7,000 feet above sea level). We took in the views and snapped some pictures. We spent a little time watching one of the marmots who lived on the mountain. Lori was glad that the tram we took back down the mountain was considerably less crowded.
Our next stop was Pyramid Lake (so named because of the Pyramid Mountain above it). There was a footbridge leading out to an island, which we explored briefly. We also stopped at Patricia Lake (pictured to the left), which acted as a mirror and reflected the surrounding mountains. We stopped at a lookout over Maligne Canyon. As the morning wore on, it got warmer, and we found ourselves wishing we had chosen shorts over jeans. At Maligne, we hiked along the falls and had lunch.
We returned to JPL at 2 p.m. and were happy that we had the rest of the day to ourselves. It was still warm, and we were overheated from our morning activity, so we put on our bathing suits and went to JPLís pool. The pool area is entered from the health club on the lower Promenade level. There was an entrance to the pool indoors as well as outdoors. The pool was heated to a nice temperature, and we could wade right in. It was refreshing. Lori ventured back into the health club and spent a few minutes in the very clean and not-too-hot whirlpool spa.

After a nice relaxing couple hours by the pool, we returned to our room, showered, and changed. We went back to the main lodge and asked the concierge for a suggestion for dinner. Keith has heard good things about Alberta beef, so we were interested in a steak house. The concierge recommended Villa Caruso. We caught the 5 p.m. Shuttle to town ($3.50 each) and walked around for a little bit. We had a 6 p.m. reservation, but went to the restaurant early and sat down at the bar for a drink. The restaurant was located on the second level and overlooked the main street in town (also on the edge of town, where the railroad station was located). The decor of the restaurant was reminiscent of the Adirondacks, combined with a lodge one would expect to find in Montana ("big sky" country). In addition, there were many mission-style lights and decorations throughout. The restaurant was upscale but casual (we quickly learned nearly all public restaurants in the Canadian Rockies were casual, with the exception of some of the most upscale restaurants in the Canadian Pacific hotels which required jackets...and which we avoided). It was another beautiful day, and the snow-topped peaks were stunning to look at, so we requested a table out on one of the terraces (the side not facing the still very-hot sun).

Keith ordered carpaccio as an appetizer, Caesar salad, and the 8-ounce Alberta beef tenderloin. The steak was very good and sweet. His only disappointment was that the entree was served almost immediately after the salad. Because the table was small, he had to give up his salad after only a few bites. Lori ordered the phyllo with feta, peppers, and tomato as an appetizer, and the Shrimp Saganaki (red Ouzo sauce). The owner was Greek. We ordered another bottle of British Columbia wine (Gewurtztraminer) with dinner. The server did the right thing and subtracted the cost for the salad from the bill.

Keith was hankering for some grappa after dinner. They didnít have any, but suggested the Whistler Inn several blocks away. We found the Whistler Inn and sat down at the bar. Keith ordered grappa and the bartender, who was quite friendly, didnít even realize that had any (we told him Villa Caruso told us they did). He found the grappa and served some to a happy Keith. Lori had some Sambuca as well and we sat there for a bit and chatted with the very sports-minded bartender. We cannot stress how friendly the people who work in the hospitality/service industry in the Canadian Rockies truly are. We needed a cab to go back to JPL. The bartender called, and told us the cab would be there in 30 seconds. (It was a very small town). We all laughed when we saw the cab right out front backing up to the front of the Inn.

Sunset was at 10:20 p.m., but it stayed light much later than that. We returned to JPL, went back down to Tent City, and talked to Laurie, the very friendly bartender. She told us the closest town to Jasper is 45 minutes away (but they have a Wal-Mart!). We walked back to our room and fell soundly asleep.

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