Grande cache to Jasper – the new beginning 

Day 1
Well I was able to manage a ride to grande cache from a friend of mine. Thanks geoff! Good thing too, as there is no real shuttle service or bus or anything from hinton. It would have cost me a lot of money or time!

Alas I am here, back on the trail. My pack is lighter, I’m feeling better organized and ready. Right now I feel good and confidant. I hope this stays this way! Though my luck with river crossings seems to be  a little weak. Trying to cross the smokey river at a fording spot on the map was fruitless as the river was too high.

So day 1 I hiked 7km in to the forde location. Then 7 back, then another 4 to a road crossing then back 8km to the same spot I couldn’t ford across. Basically  a loss of a day but I won’t let it slow me down, just setting the pace and hoping to be in Jasper sooner than later!

 

Hiking begins!

Day 2

A slog to say the least. About 40 km.  I’m soaked from an afternoon shower. I’m not comfortable and I’m not sure I’m on the right trail…that’s all for now.
Day 3

Today I came across a cabin with some riders stating there. They had the cabin and a few tents set up and they let me sleep next to their site. This is great, I can feel safe and sleep easy, a comfort not often had.
A long day today too..  my knee is sore and my boots haven’t dried yet from yesterday’s events.  Another brief afternoon shower today and some thunder but not as bad as yesterday. It’s early and I could hike on but I’ll stay with these people, get some beta on the trail and look to push forward tomorrow…

 

Rain and more rain.

Day 4.

Rain and more rain. Though today I’m thankful for the clouds at least to keep the sun at bay.  It’s muggy and hot but at least it’s not scorching…

Also, I’ve noticed that my eye is getting more trained at spotting things. Like today I noticed a paw print in the mud. It looked fresh. It was really nicely formed and I should have taken a photo of it or the bear but the rain meant my camera was in my bag. And haha yes, a black bear. It was interesting, I saw the print then some scratch marks on the tree. I look around on the right side of the trail a young black bear was just sitting in the bushes eating berries. Good. Thing is he didn’t seem the least interested in me, as he didn’t even look up.

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Oh, and I have learned a valuable lesson today. Watch what you put your bag down on and always put straps up. Because if your backrest lays on a plant that’s an irritant, than that ends up on your sweaty back. You back is now itchy. Really f*cking itchy! Dumb move Ryan….

Today was good, I’ve been struggling with the loneliness these days. More than the north. I’m almost desperate for a hiking partner…. but I’m trying my best to keep moods up. My knees been bothering me but I feel strong. Two more nights and I’ll be in Jasper. Must just look forward to Jasper even though there is no one there waiting for me…..

Not very often do I take small hikes to points of interest while im through hiking, typically I want to reach the desintation. But I decided to check out some waterfalls slighty off of the beaten path and was greatly rewarded with this cool little place!

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The road less traveled?
Day 5

The trail here is good. The riders I met and recommended the new route were right in there advice.  The trail has been cleared and is well marked and matches my GPS. This is good, no more mistakes. I don’t want to back track anymore. Tonight I am on my own again and it’s lonely. I push as hard as I can during the day and as long as I can to make short work of the hike. I want to get to Jasper soon, the loneliness is getting harder for some reason.

I push as hard as I can during the day and as long as I can to make short work of the hike

The harder and faster I hike the more tired I am the quicker I fall asleep. The kobo I was gifted from the mom gives me reading material, I wasn’t sure how much I would read but being alone I read more than I thought. Already through one book and working on the second. If today goes well I will have one days hike to the highway and if I’m lucky I’ll snag a ride into town…
Day 6

Lucky I am I think haha. I am in Jasper with a ride from some locals working in the area heading back to town.
I am so excited to sleep in a camp where people are. As soon as I had cell service to look for a hotel, motel or bed n breakfast I was quick to learn my wallet could not afford anything there so campsite it is!

But to camp where people are!!

Once I arrived to Jasper I also found out that my brother Aaron is here and we were able to meet for a beer. It’s good to see family when you are alone for awhile.

Tonight i camped next to a Belgium guy, and struck conversation as well with other hikers and campers. A guy from Spain visiting in Oregon state and biked to Jasper. Another German guy who biked here from Vancouver.. I am not the only crazy guy! We all laugh and talk about how crazy we all are.. it’s been revitalizing to hear there stories. And we make bacon on the fire and talk until nearly midnight. Tonight I will sleep good.

And the Belgian guy is considering hiking with me!! Woo!

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Day 7.

A much needed rest day. The German and Belgian guy hiked with me to the top of the whistlers trail for some views. A rest day haha. At least no pack!!

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Max and Max