The Creative Beauty of Nature.
Jasper National Park is the silent larger sibling to Banff National Park to the south. Banff also benefits from having a large world class city within a short 90 minute drive. In fact you can see the beautiful rocky mountains from Calgary. The mountains are so large you think they would be closer. Jasper is the little town located within the Jasper Park boundaries. It is not quite the same hustle bustle of Banff with all it’s upscale retail stores. Banff is a tourist attraction with all the usual tourist cliche’s and trappings. Stunning, but still referred to by local Albertans as a big time tourist attraction. It’s the West Edmonton Mall for outdoor folks.
Jasper is a more about wilderness and wide open spaces. You get the sense of scale from the first time you pass through the front gates. After a four hour drive from the nearest International airport and you realize you are in the middle of nowhere Canada. That is exactly what makes it spectacular. I spent many years there as a kid growing up and as an adult camping or skiing. My favorite place was always the hike several kilometres up the Mount Edith Cavell trail to the Alpine Meadows. I found a sort of serenity there not found anywhere else. I think everybody needs the place to download your brain and recharge the creative. Unfortunately, years later seasonal workers had found the trailhead and popularized it so much that it required a charitable foundation to help protect it. You don’t have to protect things that don’t get damaged. The Alberta Government is trying to protect a lot of things right now. Trying to anyway.
The media has rediscoverd this lovely Rocky Mountain recreational playground. Back in 1953 Marilyn Monroe and Robert Mitchum filmed ‘River of No Return‘. Photographer John Vachon has released a book featuring the starlet and friends as they cavorted around the Canadian Rockies. Playing in theatres now is the movie ‘Alpha and Omega’ 3D about a couple of wolves. Of course the media exposure of Alberta recently by a James Cameron visit will bring added tourism dollars. I think it will be a good thing for people to visit this neck of the woods and realize that we shouldn’t be carving up the landscape to fill our gas tanks. As the old adage says ‘You have to take the good with the bad‘.
Interesting side notes – Dennis Hopper whom I enjoyed as an actor, artist and collector has all of his works up for auction. Dennis also is a voice for one of the wolves. Apple computer spokes person Justin Long is another recognizable voice.