Section D, Day 4: Back to Reality
Updated: Aug 7, 2019
I wake up and make coffees for myself and Fireball, who slept great after finally having a proper dinner.
The morning is uneventful and the trail improves steadily until we hit the highway before noon at another tourist attraction - the Mistaya Canyon, where the Mistaya river plunges into a cauldron of water, frothing and shampooing the rocks below. The bridge over the abyss is filled with tourists and I recognize the now-familiar feeling of alienation as we re-enter the civilized world. Everyone smells strongly of soap and cosmetic products and they look far too clean and put-together. We walk a final highway stretch, crossing the North Saskatchewan river to The Crossing resort from where I'm writing these posts.
We are immediately assaulted by colour and movement and sound. It seems as though nearly 300 people are all jostling for gas and sandwiches and souvenirs and WiFi passwords on this one major stopover on the popular Icefields Parkway. Everything is extremely overwhelming and I wander in a daze for a bit. Eventually we manage to focus enough to get some burgers which we devour in mere moments, grinning and moaning, overwhelmed by the pleasure of food. After that it's all town chores: Laundry, resupply, check emails. In the common room, I find Brownbag again! He's reading a book and waiting for some new shoes to arrive in the mail, his old ones have completely split where the mesh meets the sole.
Tomorrow I start section E - another long stretch at 7 days and ending in the popular Skyline Trail: A 45k stretch for which I couldn't get a campsite reservation. While It's usually 3 day affair for most hikers, the parks staff I spoke to on the phone said it's "doable" to beast it and do it in one long day, so, challenge accepted.
Wish me luck! I'll update some more (and add pictures to these last few posts) when I reach Jasper.