Super Bicycling–Jasper National Park

Jasper Valley
July ’80

There were quite a few college age kids in the bar car, and everybody was having a pretty good time. All there was to do was look out at the falling rain and drink beer. Before Jean went back to her friends, she invited me to visit her in Saskatoon. That was a little out of the way for me, but you never say no to a pretty girl. She was a waitress at a steak house, and she promised me a beer if I showed up. I told her we had a date.

It was cold when I got off the train in Jasper. Fortunately, I found a place to get hot coffee and donuts. By 6 a.m. I was headed south. Before sunrise I had already taken a couple pictures of a deer and an elk; that is, when I realized I had forgot to buy film. It would be awhile before I could buy more. I had four shots left. The mountains were very large and beautiful, and the road ran straight down a natural valley with mountains rising high on both sides—a super bicycle ride. Off and on throughout the day, clouds covered the peaks, and a few raindrops fell, but not enough to dampen my spirits. By late afternoon the sky had cleared and the sun was everywhere.

I was up pretty high in the mountains and by nightfall I arrived at a youth hostel. Most of the beds were empty. It was a beautiful spot; more or less perched on the mountain pass. The only problem was that the cold climbed with the elevation. At the youth hostel, I met Peter. He was planning a hike into the back-country and he asked me if I would accompany him. I didn’t have the equipment for that kind of hiking, but Peter’s energy was contagious. I told him “Sure, let’s do it.” We would leave tomorrow and make a two or three-day hike out of it.

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About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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