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Day 36

We woke up this morning planning to make it all the way up to the Icefield, if not further. We were up fairly early (around 6) in order to bust through the day! Our first stop was the hotel we stopped at last night to fill our water bottles (so much easier than to filter!). They were very nice and let us fill the water with ice water at the bar! Then we went to check out the Sunwapta Falls. We didn't realize they were so close to the hotel at first, so we overshot the road at first and had to backtrack. The falls were nice, but not overly spectacular (don't get me wrong, they were really nice, but not as stunning as some of the other falls we've seen so far). It was really cloudy out (you couldn't tell we were in the mountains, which sucked! Since we saw where we were yesterday, we knew what we were missing out on! Not long after leaving the falls, it started raining! We only cycled like 10km before a white SUV type vehicle stopped about 200m ahead of us. As we cycled past, we said hello and he asked if we were the people who called the warden last night. We then realized his car said "Parks Canada" on it. We stopped and started talking, and he asked if we drink coffee. We said we did, so he said to come to the warden's office, which is just down the road (no more than 10km away) and he would have a pot of coffee ready for us, and that way we can talk out of the rain! We got there and he asked about our plans for the Icefiled, and for our cross-canada cycle. It turns out, he cycled across Canada about ten years ago, so he went over our route with us and made some suggestions and told some stories. He also pointed out some suggestions for the Icefield, and told us that some of the hikes we planned on doing were a no go because it was still covered in snow (which was good to know!). We also told him about Travis, that he would be traveling on his own, and meeting us in Lake Louise, and asked if he could look out for him. He took our info, and Travis' and said he would keep an eye out for him! He then said that he didn't check on us because he was obligated, but because we were honest and decided to call in to let them know we were there. He then said because of that, he will make a suggestion. He said, if we wanted a day off (especially in this rain), we are more than welcome to stay at his for the night. We can eat, do laundry, watch tv, call home (he has a good long distance plan), shower, do some bike repair, etc. the offer was way too good to refuse! He showed us around the house, and told us to keep our food for the road, and just eat his. He was so nice! He then went to work and let us hang out. We first made lunch (we were so hungry!) then did laundry, called home to let them know we were safe, wrote in the journal, showered, and then watched a movie! Neither Michael or I have seen "Million Dollar Baby" and I thought it might be a good movie (I've heard good things, and they reference it a lot, and I thought, I'm a girl who does karate, she's a girl who wanted to get into fighting, maybe I could relate). What a depressing movie! Oh my god! And I do NOT want to relate! What a brutally depressing movie! Not going to lie, I cried. Just as the movie was finishing, Mike (the warden) called and asked if we talked to Travis. He offered to pick Travis up from Jasper and bring him over to his house so we could all three be together for the rest of the ride down the Icefield (for safety reasons, and so we don't miss each other along the way). But, since Jen still had another day off, he decided to stay in Jasper for the night and leave early. Fortunately, since we didn't cover too much distance yet, it would make it easier for Travis to catch up to us sooner (when Michael and Travis talked on the phone, we told him about the first National Parks booth, and where to meet up tomorrow night. We would stay at a campground called Waterfowl Lake). Mike then came back with food for dinner. He was such good company! We were so glad we stayed for the night and got to meet him! For dinner we had burgers and sausages (Michael was in charge of the bbq), and home made potato chips (which we burned) and fries (to make up for the chips). He offered us beer (he had President's choice beer, which was actually pretty good! I had no idea they even made beer! What don't they do?! And he also had Budlight lime, which was SO good! That's what I opted for the rest of the night!). Dinner was really good! We talked about our plans, and listened to his stories about his cross-Canada trip, and he told us a bit about his job. He is essentially getting paid to do what Bruce does with the North Shore rescue team. Apparently the rescue where the victim is air lifted by helicopter was invented (or started) in the national park, which is really cool! But he said in the winter he does the avalanche reports, closes roads, etc. His job sounds really cool! He's such an interesting person! Then, after dinner, he brought out his bike stand and his tool box with everything we would need to clean and lube our chains and do any other maintenance necessary. Just as I was starting my bike, I was called off it so Mike could take us for a drive and show us the hill we would meet tomorrow. Not too far from where we were staying tonight was "the hill." It was a pretty steep 5-ish km hill up to the Columbian glacier. We drove up, and the clouds had more or less cleared. It was gorgeous! We were so glad we waited the day out at Mikes so we didn't have to miss the scenery! He also pointed out a good hike for us to do tomorrow and took us to the base of the glacier. We walked up to it (but not on it). Along the way, he pointed out an Inukshuk and said those things breed and multiply. So, he kicked it down. He said he has to otherwise they would be all over the place (and by had to, I think he more meant he really enjoys it). It was so funny! We helped with one or two! But along the glacier, he told us about some of the glacier-related deaths and rescues. The glacier can be one scary place! But we had a really good chat on the way back, where he left us with some words of wisdom for our trip, and life in general. And he said in return for his kindness, he asks only that we do the same for someone else when they are in need, and we would know when that time came (and he said he was doing this and had this same philosophy before the movie "pay it forward
" came out). He also lent me "Three cups of tea," which I have wanted to read for a while! He said I can mail it back to him when I'm done. I can't wait to read it! When we went back to his house, I finished cleaning up my bike, he gave us some frozen yogurt, and then we went to bed (and set the alarm for 6am).