Day two began with sunshine. What?! The forecast had been saying rain and clouds all week long. We weren't going to complain though; we had a white water rafting trip scheduled with Jasper Rafting Adventures for this morning and the water was already cold enough without it raining on us. None of us had ever gone rafting before so we were all really excited to hit the water. Getting into our wetsuits wasn't too bad but the booties (including plastic bag "socks") were interesting.
We exited the water cold but exhilarated. Both Betty and I were definitely up for doing it again (and maybe going up to level 3 rapids!). Mom wasn't so sure but she loved it.
After a trip back to the cabin to change and lunch in town, we decided to take the Jasper Tramway up the Whistlers. I had received mixed reviews from my coworkers on whether it was worth the money or not (most said no). I had told Mom about this and part of me didn't really want to go however both Betty and Mom were excited about it so off we went. Boy oh boy am I glad we went! The ride up wasn't too bad for me but the last 100 yards or so right before we stopped at the top made me slightly panicky (as did the entire ride down!). The tram ride costs $32 for an adult ($16 for children) but it was definitely worth it.
Check out this view of the Jasper townsite. Its shaped like a J.
See that view though? I don't mind not making it to the top. That shot makes it worth it even making it that far.
Mom went inside the restaurant to wait and I sat outside. Despite being on top of a mountain and windy, it wasn't as cold as you'd expect. While I waited, I wanted to see a hoary marmot, one of the few animals in Jasper I've never seen (including bears). Instead, I met little Geoff, a chipmunk of some sorts who thought I was da bomb. He crawled across the bench and sat beside me three times! I was sure he was going to climb up my arm at one point. And yes, I named him Geoff, just like the mountain. Uh, I mean... yeah.
After spending a few hours up in the clouds above the tree line, we headed back down thinking we'd relax at the cabin and then head out for dinner. As we drove back down towards town, I stared out the window as usual, off in my own little world. Suddenly, I shouted out, Betty slammed on the breaks and put the car in reverse. There, off to the side of the road, was a brownish lump. Just as we stopped, it began moving and turned to look at us. It was a grizzly bear! Not one of those massive bears you see on TV and nature documentaries but he was probably a year old or so. Young enough definitely that you'd expect to see Mama close by. We decided to quickly snap a picture and be on our way before we met her. And that's when we learned our biggest lesson. ALWAYS keep at least ONE camera in the car with you at all times. Do NOT stick all four cameras in the trunk of the car because you're "done for the day". So, sadly, no picture but all three of us definitely saw him.
Best moment of the entire trip.
I spent the rest of the evening sitting outside looking out over the river and writing cards to friends and family. I even treated myself to a Caesar. Life doesn't get a whole lot better than today.