Jasper Sky Tram and some culture…..

John did his usual, got chatting to some locals (well Liverpudlians) and as a result decided the Jasper Sky-Tram was worth a visit.

The Sky-Tram takes you almost to the top of Whistlers Mountain, from 1258m above sea level to 2263m in about 7 minutes. On a clear day, you can see mountain ranges 80 miles away. It wasn’t a clear day, we could just about see Jasper with Pyramid Lake at the top of the picture.

Whistlers Mountain gets its name from Marmots that live there, they have a strange whistling call. The only wildlife on show today was a Pika, a cross between a rabbit and tailless squirrel, munching its way through the alpines.

The wildlife has been very shy, no bears and only a fleeting glimpse of elk or moose….unless you count Jasper the Bear, the local mascot. He may be the best we get

Matt did the last 1km climb to the top of the mountain, Kim and John declined, taking the option to explore less demanding paths instead. They’re still suffering from the Lake Agnes expedition.

On the way back down, Larch trees provided a reminder of how rapidly Autumn is approaching as their deciduous needles start to turn yellow and red in the early season fall.

Back in Jasper, we visited the local Museum specifically to see an exhibition about Alien Internment 1916 – 1920. Canada, desperately short of labour, had encouraged immigrants from Europe with offers of free land. These same people became Aliens on the outbreak of WW1 and were interned.

Germans were categorised as Class 1 and lived in camps where they didn’t have to work and were well fed. Immigrants from the Austro-Hungarian Empire were classified as Class 2, they were put to work, lived in poor conditions and fed very little. They started building the infrastructure of the national parks, including the Icefields Parkway driven yesterday. The Canadian Government quickly realised that loss of these labourers was detrimental to the economy and many were released after only a few months. Others, mainly Germans remained in camps until as late as 1920.

Patricia Lake, which is just down the road from us, was the site of an interesting WW2 experiment, Operation Habakkuk. Oxford Graduate, Geoffrey Pyke, had designed a ship to withstand torpedoes, made out of glacial ice which is virtually indestructible. There was some wood pulp in there too! Unfortunately the project was deemed too expensive and disbanded. If you don’t believe us…….Google Pykrete.

Jasper is small, with a disproportionately large railway station, and very pretty. Kim will be checking out the Canadian equivalent of Rightmove later, she’s very taken with the town which is no larger than Ampthill, has a population of 5000 and a free book exchange scheme

One thought on “Jasper Sky Tram and some culture…..”

  1. From Gillian and Ray: Thank you all for whetting our appetites (again) for all things Canadian. It’s been a while for us……. Re the lack of moose etc. we have tried, in vain, to spot the more exotic wildlife species in the western edge of the Rockies, Algonquin Nat. Park (on many occasions) and many points between and all we’ve chalked up is the odd chipmunk! We were warned once that the bear poo we saw was ‘fresh’ and to sing loudly. So good were we at this lark that we saw no bears. hahaha So, good luck. The blog is so good we’re considering checking into a Travel Lodge and not going to California!! Keep enjoying.
    Gillian and Ray


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