Switchback, because the grade was too steep otherwise.

My former friend, Alastair, not former because we had a falling out but because he moved back to England and we lost touch, and I rented a tandem and rode it for one glorious week through the Canadian Rockies. I’ve mentioned it before.


But I didn’t tell you this part of the story.


Accompanying us on the trip – we were with a group – was a sag vehicle. An old school bus which carried our gear and our food. Two young people were hired to man/woman it. It was great to ride up on it midday and have a wonderful lunch awaiting us.  The food was really good, and not just because we had burned a zillion calories since breakfast.

Toward the end of the trip we came upon Athabasca Falls. Amazing! That day, the owner of the company that provided our trip, who was riding with us, received a call that someone had taken his other bus – the one back at the ranch.  Some sort of domestic dispute involving a love interest was the whisper among the group. I didn’t ask for details.

He quickly hightailed it home to retrieve half of his livelihood, instructing us to wait there, leaving us sag-vehicleless and without any of our gear.

So we killed an hour or so on the deck of a lovely restaurant near the falls and, when he still hadn’t returned by nightfall, checked in to a nearby lodge.

After dinner, Alastair and I pedaled the tandem 20 miles back to the falls, back to the gift shop, so I could buy a beautiful picture book full of gorgeous photos of  all the places our bike had just been.

The Canadian Rockies by Douglas Leighton. It’s still right here on my coffee table.


I wanted to hike back down to those magnificent falls for one last look, but it was getting dark and there were signs posted about bears at dusk.  There was a story circulating about a young woman who had recently been attacked and killed by a bear at dusk.  She had her earbuds in as she jogged and probably didn’t hear the bear approach. There were signs posted in the campground the night before warning us to beware of bears in the bathrooms after dark.  I peed just outside the tent that night.

So with all the warnings, I decided against that last look. A momma, who has a young daughter waiting for her to come home safely, can’t take chances.

Banff National Park, Lake Louise, Mt. Athabasca, the Sunwapta River, The Columbia Icefield, Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks, I loved you all!




3 thoughts on “Athabasca

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