I had the bear spray firmly tucked down the back of my shorts – just in case – and couldn’t quite believe I was doing what I said I would never do…. hiking in the mountains in bear country. Well Jasper that is. And I am glad I did. What a paradise. I am so used to finding idyllic destinations after hours of flying time from Calgary and here on the banks of the Athabasca River is a retreat that I think Europeans treasure far more than we do.
All around me at the Jasper Park Lodge foreign accents prevailed. Germans, Brits, French – out hiking, canoeing and enjoying stunning sunsets.
The Lodge is situated on beautiful Lac Beauvert and started life as a collection of tents in 1915. It was taken over by CN Rail in 1921 and the tents were converted to log cabins – some of which still stand today. The Lodge has enjoyed a number of distinguished visitors over the years including Bing Crosby, Marilyn Monroe and Jimmy Stewart – as well as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The Queen Mother obviously loved Jasper as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited the Lodge in 2005.
I had the best sleeps there with windows wide open and not a sound at night. The air is crisp and clean and those Fairmont beds are the best. For an authentic Canadian experience in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage site you cannot do better than the Jasper Park Lodge. I loved it and will return for rest and renewal when the rat race in Calgary gets too much.