Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Great Parks Tour - Jasper to Jackson Hole

The Great Parks Tour started in Jasper AB and ended in Jackson Hole WY, a distance of 1,650 miles.  In between, we cycled the spine of the Rockies and visited seven national parks - four in Canada and three in the US.

The national parks in Canada were Jasper, Banff, Kootenay, and Waterton.  The three in the US were Glacier, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.

In a word, the tour was extraordinary.  Our brains and senses were red-lining from the spectacular and stunning scenery.  Each national park offers its own unique features and visuals and it's hard to say which one is my favorite.  They were all great.

Outside the national parks, two areas really caught my fancy.  The high plains region around Pincher Creek in AB referred to as "Where the Mountains meet the Plains", and the Big Hole Valley in MT.  There is something soothing and sublime following meandering pavement over rolling green hills dotted with haystacks, wheat fields and forests against the backdrop of majestic mountains.

The blue line on the map below delineates the route we followed.  We used Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) Great Parks maps which were invaluable for way-finding and services.  IPhones and an IPad were helpful supplements to the maps.

The total elevation gain for the 1,650 miles was 71,300'.  Over the roughly seven weeks of the tour (7/10 - 8/29), we averaged 41 miles/day.  We camped only seven times and stayed in hostels, motels, lodges and cabins the bulk of the trip.

The participants on this tour were Jay Okada from Los Osos, Bob Anderson from Santa Rosa, Mike Broderick, Frank Gerace, Dennis Engblom, Herb Lee and myself from Sacramento.

The Tour Blog is organized in 9 entries with each covering sections of the route including getting to the ride start by train from Sacramento to Jasper.  At the end of each post, click on "older posts" to continue the tour.

You can click on any photo to view an enlargement and continue to scroll to each photo at the bottom of the page.

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