Where I left off, the Blue Whales were basking in the glory of the Canadian Rockies. We were exhausted but blissful, and after a much-needed day of rest, we were excited to head out on our drive to Jasper along “the most beautiful drive in America”, the Icefields Parkway.
Mother Nature had other plans. While we slept peacefully in a lower level guesthouse, we were unable to hear the rain that was falling all night. As we drove out of Field, both of us commented on how high the river had risen overnight. “We must have gotten some rain,” I said.
About twenty minutes later, we were at the entrance to the parkway. As we pulled up to the station to have our park pass checked, we noticed something wasn’t quite right. When we finally reached the station, we were told, “The road is closed. There were several landslides this morning, and the road is washed out.” This, hive, is when things took a turn for the worse.
We were told that the road might open back up in a few hours. So we turned our car around and headed back to Field and stayed close to the visitor’s center so that we could get the latest information. Once inside the visitor’s center, we explored all our options. Mr. Whale’s first suggestion was to drive out of the park going southeast and loop around to the east. This would have approximately doubled our driving time to six hours instead of three, but we could deal with that. But alas, that road out was literally washed away.
The only other option other than waiting was to drive out to the west and loop around. This would more than triple our driving time (for a total of about 10 hours). Confused? Here’s a map.
We decided to wait for the road to open. And luckily, we got news that the road would open at 3:30, and we could get going. So we headed out there. While waiting for the road to open, we listened to Catching Fire [having an audiobook was a lifesaver! (Also, aren’t you jealous that I have a husband that wants to listen to The Hunger Games trilogy with me? He loves it. I’m so lucky.)] Around 4:00, we got the all clear, so we headed out on the road. Things were fab. We were so excited to finally be on the road. And then… after about 30 miles, a highway truck pulled out and blocked the road. We were told that another landslide had just occurred, and we had to turn around. NOOOOOOOO!!!
Back to Field we went. And in Field we stayed. By this point, it was almost 6:00pm, and if we drove the long way, we wouldn’t get to Jasper until 4:00am… We were so close to just making the drive, but we decided to wait and see if the road would open in the morning. By some miracle, the guest house that we had just left didn’t have anyone else staying that night, so we just let ourselves back in and got the suitcases back out of the car.
We walked down to the liquor store (because it was seriously time for a drink), popped open a beer and tried to relax. After a couple of hours, we decided that we wanted more pork belly nachos from the awesome restaurant down the street. So we headed that way. Inside, we were greeted by several employees of the visitors centre who were sitting at the bar (gotta love a small town). We each got our own order of nachos. It was glorious.
The next morning, we were up bright and early and headed out to the visitors centre to get the latest update on the road. Still closed. BUT, they were very hopeful that it would be open later that day. So we waited again. (Think this post is getting dragged out a bit? Imagine living it.) I’ll cut this part short. Around 1:00, we got the news that the road would be closed for another 48 hours. And so our decision was made. We were taking the long way.
Luckily, I had downloaded Mockingjay onto my iPod, so we finished Catching Fire and headed straight into the third book in the trilogy. The drive was beautiful. It was honestly the best ten hour drive I’ve ever made. We arrived in Jasper just before midnight, and because it was still a bit light out (crazy, right?), we were able to get just a glimpse of the beautiful town where we were staying. It was about 36 hours after we had planned on arriving in Jasper, but truthfully, it wasn’t so bad. We are so lucky that this was the worst way we were affected by the floods.
If you’re in the US and didn’t hear about the floods, please read about it here, here, or here. I know there are quite a few Calgary and Alberta bees out there. I hope you all are doing okay with the recovery.
Did anyone else face off with Mother Nature during your honeymoon? How did it go?