We woke up in the morning to the relief of being alive. Staying in those creepy-ass log cabins was NOT fun when you have an imagination as overactive as mine!
On the other hand, it was rather nice being able to slip into my flip-flops whilst everyone else still slept to sneak out and enjoy the absolute stillness of the morning forest. There was hardly a sound but the occasional heavy drop of water on pine needles.
As I made my way to the decrepit shack of a toilet (if the cabins we slept in looked nightmarish, this looked positively trap-like), I half hoped to see a bear out in the woods... but no luck. Although in hindsight this was probably a very good thing.
We packed up camp and hopped in the van, making our way out of Wells Gray and towards Jasper National Park!
(That's not it)
We stopped for a picnic break by the Mt. Robson visitor centre before heading off on a hike from there.
In the van, I'd been reading about the history of trade in Alberta (in my basic guidebook, no less) and the displacement of the First Nations people across the country. It really got me thinking about what those people would have seen at that time; what the country would have looked like, what those first European settlers would have thought (and why the hell they thought it would be a good idea to start getting all destructive up in nature's face - what is it with humanity?! See George Monbiot's website for more on returning the earth to it's natural wilderness if you're into that stuff like me)
The track we followed was well-worn and inclined gently through the gloom of the forest. Along the way, it hugged a river which was just crying out to us for a spot of white-water rafting.
The milky aqua of the water made me think of spas and bubble baths. I imagined jumping in and finding that the river was deliciously warm but when we came to a clearing and dipped our fingers in, we quickly discovered that it was ice cold.
And I mean ice cold in the true sense of the word; these waters come straight from the glaciers higher up in the mountains. Whenever you see water this colour in a mountainous region, you can be pretty sure that there's one big load of ice somewhere nearby.
The path eventually levelled out and we found ourselves before an absolutely magnificent view across the water.
There were only a few other hikers around to enjoy the scenery (although we managed to grab hold of one unlucky passerby to take about 500 group photos). Soon, the rain began to pattern the glassy surface of the water and we turned around, heading straight back down the track to where we'd started.
Back in the van, it was full steam ahead to Jasper!
We spotted a few elk lurking around en route...
And when we got to our next stop, we were rather alarmed to find notices up in the toilets warning us to stay clear of the grizzlies which were hunting elk calves on that very same campsite!
As such, Claire and Michele started practicing their self-defence techniques...
And then, finally, we all settled down around the campfire (at which point I ate an obscene amount of fajitas) and watched the dusk roll in.