When we near the snow-capped peaks of Jasper National Park, the sun burns off the drizzle, welcoming us with great expanses of clear blue skies and white, cotton-candy clouds. A quick stop to pay the entrance fee, and we're ushered into what is reportedly one of Canada's most beautiful natural parks.
It would be nice if we could spend lots of time here, hiking and camping, but we have to be on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia by Sunday—just two days from now. Cruising straight through feels like rushing by our slow standards! Even so, the drive through the park is a fun one, filled with crystal-blue lakes, icy, jagged mountains, and dark evergreens.
Besides its scenery, this area is known for its wildlife, and it isn't long before we're spotting foxes and even a wolf(!) by the side of the road. The smaller animals dash away before we can photograph them, but this young elk is too busy eating grass to pay any mind to our camera. Spotting wildlife is such a thrill—we can't wait until we're living in our woods, where it will probably be part of our daily routine!
So as not to zip through all of this gorgeous scenery in one go, we're keen to pitch a tent in one of the park's campsites. Unfortunately, according to our park guide, only one or two of them are open for the season. When we arrive at the one where we had planned to stay, we find that it's closed too, blocked by deep snow, and marked with a camping fermé sign. It looks like we'll be stealth camping in the park tonight.
As the miles and hours tick by, the wintery world around us grows increasingly icy as we pass glaciers on either side in the Columbia Icefields. Eventually, we find a safe, secluded spot, and make our home under the silvery night sky.