Jasper by starlight
Up the road from the bustle of Banff lies its quiet, often unnoticed cousin,
Jasper National Park, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year
By Linda Goyette with photography by Mike Grandmaison
ONE NIGHT LAST SUMMER, I left my tent after midnight to
look up at stars I had not seen before, so clear and so close, and
they sent down a question. Where have you been?
|Click map to enlarge|
When you live in northern Alberta, Jasper National Park is
a place you take for granted. On my first visit at 13, slouched in
the back seat of the family car with my nose in a book, I muttered
the words that defined the snootiness of adolescence to my
dismayed parents: "When you've seen one mountain, you've
seen them all." At 23, I returned to camp at Snaring River on
summer nights and to cross-country ski at Maligne Lake under
a soft snowfall. I discovered a place that had much to teach me.
One trip to Jasper tumbled into another, punctuating my life
and deepening my attachment to the place. I came to the banks
of the Athabasca River to celebrate on the day I learned I was
pregnant with my first child. Soon, I was tucking babies and
toddlers into my sleeping bag to keep them warm on nights at
Wabasso or walking with the same children on twisting trails
to find the eight waterfalls along Beauty Creek or the wildflowers
in the Valley of Five Lakes. In the flash of a dragonfly, they
grew up to pack their snowboards or tattered tents into borrowed
cars for independent adventures in the park.
How walk/bike friendly is your neighbourhood?