I have recently (March 7) had a total hip replacement and as I sit here between physio sessions, am beginning to think about a summer tour. I have already ridden around the neighbourhood to see if I can sit on my bike, and so far so good, but all it really served to do was whet my appetite for a tour.
I hav ridden th Icefields Parkway 7 times in the last 10 years and (obviously) never tire of its beauty and ideal rididng conditions (even if the weather can be unpredictable). I plan to begin riding seriously in June in preparation for an Aug. tour.
The tour itself would likely entail 5 days on the road with 4 days riding and (at least) one day of hiking and/or scrambling along the way. This does not include travel to Jasper, or time spent at Lake Louise after the tour.
If anyone is interested in joinig me for part or all of the trip, get in touch. Here is a potential itinerary:
JASPER - BANFF via the Icefields Parkway
Drive to Jasper, camp at Whistlers campground.
Day 1 Arrange to leave vehicles. Hike, sight see in Jasper.
The trail up Whistlers offers great views of the area.
The "Something Else Taverna" has great Greek food, pizza, Etc.
Day 2 Cycle Jasper to Jonas Creek 78K.
Rolling terrain, net gain 400 m. En route - Athabasca Falls 32K.
Lunch at Sunwapta Falls 56K. Dinner at campground.
NO plumbing here, but you can cool off in the (glacier fed) creek!
Day 3 & 4 Start early and cycle Jonas Creek to Icefields campground 28K.
Ride to Parkers ridge trailhead and explore the region in the afternoon.
Next day, Wilcox pass is a premier hike, which can be extended to an all
day ramble through alpine meadows, or combined with a scramble up Mt. Wilcox
Day 5 Icefields to Waterfowl lake 68k.
Start with an exhilarating descent around the "Big Bend"
and an easy ride down to Saskatchewan Crossing - a good lunch stop.
A steady uphill ride takes us to Waterfowl Lakes campground which
has flush toilets, and hot and cold running water, but no showers.
If you are brave (crazy?) enough, quick dip in the lake will wash off the road dust
Day 6 Begin by climbing 17Kto Bow summit and the Peyto lake viewpoint.
At 20K, Num-Ti-Jah Lodge is a great place to stop for lunch.
From here to Lake Louise is mostly flat to slightly downhill - 42K.
Dinner at Lake Louise.
We may need to camp at Protection mountain
(17k further if Lake Louise is still closed to tents due to bears)
Day 7 Rest day. Site seeing, hiking. Loads of hikes ranging from 3-4K to 25-30K.
If you go there are some essentials:
- a good quality bike in good repair is essential. At least two spare tubes,
patch kit, and pump. Basic bike tools.
- a good quality tent in good repair is essential.
No Canadian tire or Sears specials!!!
- A warm sleeping bag. I have woken up in Dayust at the Icefields
with snow on my tent.
- Clothes for everything from sweltering heat to snow and rain.
If you are lucky, you will encounter all three on the same day!
- Cooking supplies ( small stove, pot, utensils, cup)
Food as for a backpacking trip.
- Panniers to carry all the above, and a properly mounted sturdy rear rack
to carry them.
- Remember what they say about packing. Lay out everything you need,
then cut it in half and you will be just right!
- Be in shape before you go! It is hard to enjoy the scenery when your legs
are screaming at you to stop, and your butt is hurting from not being used
to sitting on a bike seat for 4-5 hours a day. Build up gradually.
Try some long rides (35-45k) with your panniers loaded with a few pounds.
Better still; go for a "mini trip" on your bike with all your gear.
An overnighter would give you an idea of what bike touring is like.