Erin and I had a pretty crazy weekend, it appeared we were double booked, plus we wanted to go hiking. Naturally, there was no compromise. First, we took our young Jasper to the Vermillion fair where we learned that he doesnt mind crowds, but has a real problem with heavy draft horses… I think its the bells that make him go so crazy. I also came to the realization the a fairway is dog heaven.. its covered in food and interesting smells.
After the fair we went to the farm where he just ran and ran to his heart’s content. The following day we went on a four hour drive to meet up with some friends to go camping. Again, Jasper was in his own version of heaven, the campsite was full of dogs and people willing to feed him.
The following day we drove another three hours to the town of Jasper. I giggled most of the way at the thought of taking Jasper to Jasper. We arrived late in the day and scrambled to find a campsite, as we pulled in there was a big no vacancy sign. I decided to go ask if they knew about the other camp grounds.. it turns out that sign was lying and they had a site we could take. We took it, set up camp, and made dinner.. smokies, cooked on the camp stove, with caramelized onions… because I’m fancy. The three of us cuddled up in our tent and froze all night. Erin was cold from the air mattress bringing the cold up from the ground and I was cold because Jasper stole my blankets. The things we do for our pets.
In the morning I made my super secret homemade pancakes and some homemade bacon I got from my step-dad at the farm. It was exactly what I needed. In fact, I was so set on that breakfast that I made a trip into town the night before to round up some maple syrup, we took Jasper to the dog park at the same time, it was quite nice. After overfilling ourselves on breakfast, we broke down camp and headed to the trail head. We decided to do Whistlers, its a hike that takes us up to the gondola which we can then ride down and hike along the road back to our car. Its also one of the few pet friendly hikes in the park. The higher alpine ones they are worried about dogs harassing the caribou.
The start of the trail was heavily treed and consisted mainly of switchbacks. Jasper loved it, so much to smell. As we approached the treeline we had to cross a few rock slides. The trail was very well marked and not too treacherous but from Jasper’s low vantage point it was quite daunting. So Erin carried him, which allowed me to snap the best picture I have ever taken.
All along the hike we crossed paths with people who had to stop and pet him and ask his name. All were excited about his name. We also crossed paths with a few marmots, Jasper was not a fan but luckily we kept him on his leash so he wouldn’t harass the wildlife and they were inclined to keep their distance. We reached the gondola and decided to go a little farther up the trail. Im out of shape so my legs were killing me from the 7km uphill, Jasper was still pulling me up the hill. Along the route we met a friendly stranger who stopped to pet Jasper and poured some water from his bottle into his hand so the dog could have a drink. It was a very kind gesture.
We reached the first summit and I had decided I was tired enough, we still had a gondola ride down. We headed back to the gondola and purchased tickets for the ride down.. and an “I heart Jasper” sticker for my water bottle, I couldn’t resist. While in line we started talking to the kind stranger who had given Jasper some water, he had a family with him and they all had English accents. We crammed in the gondola like sardines and made the 15 minute ride down. We still had to walk from the parking lot to our trail-head, about a 5km walk along the road. As I readjusted the gear in my pack and dug out my sweater, the English family took one more chance to pet Jasper before heading to their vehicle.
Erin and I were walking back along the road to our car when a camper pulled up beside us and yelled “hey Jasper, want a ride?” Erin and I shrugged and said “sure” so we hopped in with the English family and chatted while they drove us. It turns out the gentleman who shared his water was from Vancouver and everyone else was visiting from England. My guess was they were his aunt, uncle, and cousins, but that’s purely a guess. I asked him to drop us off at the turnoff about a mile from our car as the road was really rough and there was no sense subjecting that nice family and their rented camper to those kinds of roads. We hopped out and thanked them for the ride. They waved and were on their way to explore more of our country. I got the impression they’ll fit right in.
After we reached our car we headed for home and I finally made a point of stopping and walking around in that nice shallow water just off the road outside of town. For years I had been driving passed and saying “eh, next time”.
P.S. Sorry mom, I got into a vehicle with strangers. But don’t worry, I had a terrier to protect me.
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