Hometown Tourist Project Week # 5 ~ Jasper, Alberta, Canada
Welcome to my Hometown Tourist Project! Each week we will be treated to a new blogger giving us a tour of their hometown. Throughout the year we will be going all over the country and even up into Canada! Today I am pleased to introduce you to Jen Stolfa, who blogs at Take Them Outside. Jen’s blog is about finding time to bring nature into your busy family lives. But, today Jen is going to introduce us to her hometown of Jasper, a small town in Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada.
Jasper National Park ~ What You Need to Know
By: Jen Stolfa
It’s hard to tell you about my hometown without boasting a little… or a lot! Even after five years of living here, I wake up, look out the window and am amazed to see such a wild world surrounding us.
Some mornings there might be misty clouds invading the valley, maybe the mountains have been dusted with snow. We might see elk sauntering down the street (or evidence of their recent passing), and maybe an eagle circling off in the distance. Yet, no matter what I find that morning, I always find I feel blessed and happy to call Jasper home.
Obviously, I’m still in love with Jasper. Jasper can do that to a person. Try not to fall in love after you’ve been kissed by its fresh mountain air!
Jasper National Park
The town of Jasper is the commercial and residential hub for Canada’s Jasper National Park. The park is over 3,800 square miles of thick forest, jagged mountains, rivers, and glaciers. It sits on the edge of the Alberta-British Columbia border and covers a vast chunk of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Chain.
Below Jasper National Park is Banff National Park and connecting the two is the spectacular Icefields Parkway. Yes, I said spectacular. No, I’m not exaggerating. The Icefields Parkway is a breathtaking drive. Heading south from Jasper, the Parkway takes you along the valley into the Columbia Icefields, then continuing on south past Lake Louise into Banff. Every time I do the drive, the scenery takes me by surprise!
This summer I finally had the opportunity to hike up Parker’s Ridge. From this hike, you get a view down onto Saskatchewan Glacier. Being a little higher than the valley bottom helps give a sense of just how immense the Columbia Icefields really are. The roads below offer just a tiny glimpse. But, from up a little higher, it seems easier to contemplate the vastness and timelessness to these seemingly eternal rivers of ice.
I don’t think I always thought of glaciers as mysterious and majestic. After moving to Jasper, a neighbor leant me a book called Icefields by Thomas Wharton. Icefields is set in Jasper of the late 1800’s. Although not entirely geographically correct, I appreciated being able to look out my window and see the scenery and the story move through his eyes. It is a lyrically written tale of geology, history, human determination, and love.
Jasper’s frontier history is a very interesting one. Because, explorers and traders used Jasper as a resting and restocking point as they continued on through Yellowhead Pass or acquired furs for sale. Sometimes I meet people on the hiking trail all decked out in performance hiking gear and synthetic fibers. I look at these hikers and it makes me wonder what it was really like to forge trails through these thick forests wearing pounds of wet wool and heavy leather.
If history and culture interests you, I’d strongly recommend visiting the Jasper-Yellowhead Museum and Archives. Exploring the small museum is a nice way to spend an extra hour or two (especially if the weather is cool or rainy). It has an extensive historical photo gallery and frequently rotates through themed exhibits and events.
Culture & Art
Another lovely way to spend an hour indoors is to visit Jasper’s newly renovated Library and Cultural Centre. You could sit by the fire and browse some local books or visit the Art Gallery and appreciate the many talented artists that Jasper’s scenery has inspired. Artists staff the gallery themselves and are always happy to share stories and chat.
That’s another thing that’s a certainty here… there’s always beauty, there’s always happy people, and there are a lot of stories to be told and be heard.
Living in Jasper has given me and my family so many new and unique opportunities. It is a pleasure to know I can share this little bit of our wondrous world with others. I’m just another traveller who fell for Jasper but was lucky enough to make this my home. So, I’m here raising my children hoping that they’ll listen to Jasper’s tales and learn to appreciate growing up in this truly beautiful and special place.
Take Them Outside blog
Meanwhile, I too have caught the bug to share Jasper’s stories with the world as I write about family adventure and nature appreciation on TakeThemOutside.com. I know that family life is busy these days. Even for myself, with nature so close by just waiting to be explored, I still struggle with both motivating my kids to go play outside and finding the time to get out as a family. On the Take Them Outside Blog, I help you learn how to bring nature into your home. I help you get your family connecting more with nature. And, I will show you how to make family outdoor adventure both fun and easy.
If connecting your family with nature is something you’d like to do more of, you may want to check out the Family Nature Challenge. For 5 days, you’ll receive an activity challenge to help you squeeze nature into even the busiest family schedule. In minutes a day, you’ll be challenged to grow an appreciation of nature. It will encourage learning and play with the natural world, exploring nearby nature, and encourage you to plan and go on a fun outdoor adventure.
Keep In Touch With Jen and Take Them Outside
You can keep in touch with Jen and the latest from her blog, Take Them Outside, through the following social media links:
Click here to follow on Pinterest
Click here to follow on Facebook
And, click here to follow on Twitter
And, here’s the link to her Website