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Day 35

We woke up at 8am this morning, showered, and packed up all our gear. Because Travis wasn't coming with us when we hit the road today (he was staying back in Jasper with Jen while we hit the road so we could do hikes and not waste too much time (we don't really have many days to waste because Michael needs to get into Montreal sometime between the 5th and 19th of July so he can get his thesis signed off to graduate!), it took a while to rearrange and redistribute the gear. We met Travis and Jen in town for breakfast (more like lunch). We went to Loulou's for pizza (which was really good!). Travis and Jen were spending the night at the Fairmount Lodge, so we didn't have too long of a lunch (they needed to check in and return the car by 2:30 or something). We went grocery shopping and then hit the road MUCH later than initially planned (around 3:30). Fortunately, we were meeting Travis on the 9th at Lake Louise, so we had some time to play with (which is what we wanted to really properly see the Icefield Parkway!). So we thought we would enjoy it! We were initially trying to aim for the campground just after the Columbian glacier, but since we left late, we were thinking the Jonas Creek campground, but then decided to camp even earlier at Honeymoon lake. Just outside of Jasper (like, not even 5km outside of town) there was a National Parks booth. We showed our parks pass and told them that Travis would be coming through Tuesday afternoon, and he's part of our family pass, but he won't have a card with him. They said it wouldn't be a problem at all. We then decided to take the 93A when it branched off because we were told it was more scenic. It was definitely more hilly (it must have been!). But it was a nice route! There weren't a lot of cars on the road at all, which was nice! And there was only one area of 5-10km with rough concrete, and there were a lot of lakes, and the Athabasca River alongside the highway at times! That highway led us straight to the Athabasca Falls. They were really nice (they were falls that carved their way into a canyon). We just enjoyed the ride the rest of the day, and got to Honeymoon with tons of daylight left. Unfortunately, there was a sign saying the campground was closed. We didn't know why it was closed (because it wasn't safe for some reason, or because it just wasn't open yet). We noticed on the map there was a hotel only 4km away so we cycled to it to ask if we could hopefully camp out on their lawn, or somewhere nearby. We were warned that if we camp illegally in a national park, they fine heavily! We didn't want that, so were really hoping to be able to camp at the Sunwapta Falls hotel. Turns out the manager was not very sympathetic at all to cyclists. He told us we can just walk our bikes around the barricade in the national park and just stay there. So, that's what we did. I felt safer to call the warden and let them know we were there (in case the park was closed for a reason, or in case there was a bear warning, or a forest fire or something, then they would know to look for two cyclists on the road). Michael also thought it was probably a good idea (and that way they knew we did what we could to be legit so hopefully we wouldn't get fined if someone drove by). The woman who answered the phone was lovely! Turns out it's not peak season, and that's the only reason some campgrounds are closed. She also explained where everything was in the (small) park and told us we could light a fire and she would let the warden know. We picked a spot right on the water. The lake was gorgeous! It was like a mirror, where the mountains in the background were reflected so clearly in the lake. It was stunning, really. It was also weird and cool to have the ENTIRE place to ourselves! And it made me feel much better to know that the warden knew we were there! We lit a fire, had some tea, put our food away in the bear lockers, then went to bed!