Day 22: To Beauty Creek hostel - Western Canada 2007 - CycleBlaze

July 21, 2007

Day 22: To Beauty Creek hostel

I got up at 8:15 and was on the road at 9:45. Some of my bunkmates were still sleeping. The morning was cool and mostly cloudy. Definitely a long sleeves kind of day. The road follows the Athabasca river for a while, then climbs a big hill and drops down to the Sunwapta river.

Athabasca river.
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I had lunch at the Sunwapta Resort, then went down the short spur road to see Sunwapta falls. It was very impressive, but also very crowded. Best I can tell, most visitors simply went onto the footbridge that gives a view of the upper falls. They didn't notice that they were standing right on top of an even bigger falls that is only visible if you go 100 meters down the trail to the right.

Below Sunwapta Falls.
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Upper Sunwapta falls.
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It appears that most visitors never notice lower Sunwapta falls.
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Watching Sunwapta falls.
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Mosquitoes weren't bad for the third consecutive day. I could get used to this. Maybe even start camping again.

Caribou (reindeer) crossing. I never saw any, though.
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Sunwapta River.
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The scenery was excellent all day. The Icefields Parkway is probably the most scenic route I've ever pedaled. Nonstop mountain views. My only complaint is the condition of the pavement. The main lanes of the road were in good shape but the shoulder pavement was often in terrible condition.

Scenic parking spot.
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Sunwapta river.
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Tilted mountains to the east.
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I spent the night at the Beauty Creek rustic hostel. It's off the electrical grid. They use propane for lighting, refrigeration, and cooking. The kitchen has two sinks but there is no indoor plumbing. Water is in big jugs and you have to go outside to the well to fill the jugs. The kitchen and bunkhouse buildings were both cramped and crowded. I used the shower, where you heat a giant pot of water and pour it into the gravity-feed tank above the shower enclosure. Unfortunately, the water situation made it difficult for me to wash my clothes. The buildings were about 30 meters from the Sunwapta river with great mountain views. The mosquitoes were even tolerable at night when sitting around the campfire. There were a lot of interesting conversations. The guests probably represented 10 different nations.

I had a tailwind most of the day but the wind shifted to a headwind near the end of the day as a storm blew in. There was some rain in the evening and more rain overnight and in the morning.

Today I saw 3 northbound touring cyclists. I also saw the occasional unloaded cyclist out for a ride. The high temperature was about 19C (66F). It hardly feels like summer. I wish it wasn't so relentlessly cloudy.

Distance: 58.6 km / 36.7 mi

Climbing: 541 m / 1785 ft

Average speed: 12.7 km/h / 7.9 mph

Maximum speed: 61 km/h / 38.1 mph

Today's ride: 59 km (37 miles)
Total: 1,810 km (1,124 miles)

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