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Missoula, MT to Jasper, AB - Four National Parks in 4 weeks
Day 23: A short ride through hail

Date Starting Place Ending Place Author Last Update

07-27-13 Lake Louise,
Alberta, Canada
Mosquito Creek Hostel,
Alberta, Canada
ray 11-13-13 13:54:49

One of the new guys snored, as he said he did and I went for earplugs but they only deadened the rasp so I got my usual fitful hostel sleep. I was up before 7 and hungry, so I went for an early breakfast.

Given the closed campground and my switch to a hostel for tonight's lodging, I only had 15 miles to ride today. I wasn't in any hurry to leave, but the weather report said storms, so I was a bit concerned.

After eating, I went up and starting packing. It took awhile to get everything situated as the rooms are shared 4 ways and all my stuff, including all the extra food, was in a pile on the floor. I went to the kitchen to make my sandwiches and it was so busy that it took much longer to find counter space, gather utensils, make my lunch, and clean my mess.

As I was leaving, I saw John, the Faroe Islander, who had told me he had lost his wallet. I asked if he had any money. He said $10. I gave him $60 so he'd have some spending money to tide him over. It reminded me of the time in Mexico when I didn't have the money to pay the exit tax and had to beg it from someone at the airport. I now feel as if I have paid that one debt off!

It also took a quite a bit of effort to get my gear up to the front of the hostel (up 2 flights of stairs), the bike up to the porch, and the gear all on the bike. I was off about 10am.

It was sunny at the hostel and the skies toward the south were clear with broken clouds.

But, there were storm clouds toward the north, where I was headed.

I only hoped I could ride the 15 miles before it started.

The ride starts with a couple miles on the TransCanada highway. I took the first exit through the ranger fee booth and then started climbing. The road has a wide shoulder and is crowned with impossibly beautiful mountains.

After a mile or so, I passed Herbert Lake. It's reflective surface was simply stunning. The view north.

The view south.

Even without a reflection, the view was fabulous.

But, the clouds were looming and coming my way and the storm was making noise in the distance.

I kept pushing but the storm came over me and it started to rain. First, it was steady, then it intensified, and then hail began. I couldn't see anything but dark, low clouds. The rain/hail hurt when it blew into my face and I had forgotten to put my plastic shoe covers on, so my shoes were soaked, as well.
I heard thunder but saw no lightening (stage 2 of 4, in my book, with (3) being seeing lightning and (4) seeing lightening and hearing thunder simultaneously).

As I was riding through the storm, with water beginning to run down the road, I wondered if I should duck into the trees off the road, but there was a gully, now filling with water, between them and the road so I just kept peddling, trying to see the humor in the situation.

Here was the view to (hidden) peaks toward the end of the storm.

As the rain thinned to drizzle, I could again see both the peaks and blue sky.

There now were rivulets of water rushing down well-worn paths all along the road.

The remaining clouds actually enhanced the views.

While mostly trees and snow-covered peaks, the views were actually quite varied. This bit of mountain looked like it belonged in a Utah canyon.

As if the stunning vistas weren't enough, there were also huge patches of wildflowers.

Once I was over the top of the rise, I was shocked to see the incredible setting of Hector Lake.

I took many photos of this lake and was never able to capture just how amazing it looks in person.

There were beautiful scenes in every direction.

I was also beginning to appreciate the glaciers that topped many of the peaks.

View from my bicycle seat.

I arrived at the Mosquito Creek hostel about 12:30. Here is the creek.

I was concerned that I'd have to hang around until 5 when the hostel is supposed to open. But, there were 4 women there sitting around a fire pit and the hostel manager said I could put my gear in the dormitory.

After changing my shoes, I took a couple more creek photos. This one looks northwest, back toward the road (notice the bridge in the distance).

This one looks northeast toward the campground on the other side of the creek (notice the RV).

Once I took a seat around the fire, the women and I fell into easy conversation that continued for the next several hours.

They were either old friends or siblings. There was actually 8 of them and eventually, the 4 others, who had been hiking returned, and the conversations and appetizers continued.

I never knew the name of the man in the photo, but I referred to him as Fresno Man. I tried to stay out of his way, but it was inevitable that we'd have to verbally spar as our political views were so different.

This hostels didn't have showers or running water (sticky alcohol gel is available in the pit toilets). But, it has abundant wood and a sauna. About 6:30, I made dinner and then "started" the sauna, which means I stacked wood in the stove, lit it, and fed it wood while waiting for it to heat up.

It took about an hour of constant attention to get the sauna very warm (not hot) and to get both a good sweat and enough water warm enough to wash off with. I was the only one to take a sauna and I felt cleaned off and a bit wired.

After that, I talked to the hostel manager, James, for a while about music production and the went to bed.

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