Mozzie hell!

Trip Start Jun 24, 2012
Trip End Sep 21, 2012

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Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Monday, July 16, 2012

This morning, we woke up in a very grumpy mood. Our stupidly tiny pitch for ours and Gellie's tents meant that we were over the border and I was laying on a wonky plank of wood, which kept me from sleeping soundly, and meant that I kept rolling into Laura and waking her up. Plus, the mosquitos were even worse than they were last night, so we couldn't stay outside of our tent at all without being swarmed, and eating our breakfast was impossible.

Casey told us last night that he was going to take us on a hike this morning, so we got ourselves ready; me in long trousers and fleece, with a buff wrapped around my head to ward off the mozzies, despite it being really hot.

The hike was quite nice; we went to the Valley of the Five Lakes where each of the five is a different colour due to the differing depths of them, and we were well into grizzly territory which was exciting; other hikers in the area recently had reported seeing up to six different bears on a 3 hour trek, so we were hoping that our chances for seeing one before we head out of grizzly country would be high. This, however, would turn out not to be the case.

We hiked for about an hour and both Laura and I were getting very frustrated with the amount of mosquitos around; although the hike and scenery was lovely, it was so distressing having to constantly bat them away and cover our faces in the heat that where the trail split into longer and shorter hikes, Laura and I decided to take the shorter one back to the bus, whilst the rest of the group did the longer one. Casey gave us his keys to let us back into the bus away from the mozzies and I used them to jangle all the way back to let ears know we were near, whilst Laura did the obligatory 'hey bear'.

I was a little disappointed that we were missing out on the longer hike, but it did mean that we could have a little nap in the van whilst waiting for the others to return, and when they got back they reported that not only had they seen no bears either, but the mozzies had gotten worse and the end point of the hike hadn't really justified the bother that they'd had....I felt relieved that we'd decided to skip it!

We returned to the camp for lunch and to pick up our laundry to take into the town of Jasper - the campsite doesn't have one for some reason, and everyone was getting a little desperate, so we decided to spend some of our free afternoon catching up with it. Casey dropped us off in town and we headed to a huge coin operated laundry. There were families in there doing what looked like all the clothes they owned, and I've never seen a laundry so big, so I assume people in Canada don't have their own washing machines for some reason. Anyway, we got our loads in, and decided to wait the time out by visiting a store down the road which sold Native American/Canadian artwork and books. Shellie and I both bought the same book on totemic art from the Pacific Northwest; me to help me decide which tattoo I would like next, since my totem pole from Dani will be a bigger job than anticipated, and Shellie as she thinks she would like a similar style tattoo as well (copy cat! haha). I also bought a print of a bear in the Haida style by Terry Starr and a temporary tattoo of an eagle feather- not to use on me, but as inspiration as I love feathers. I literally could have spent a fortune in the store had I been able to carry it all around with me for three's a good job I have the rest of the trip to make me stop!

We returned to the laundry to move our clothes into the dryers, and stayed in there having a tea to wait for them to finish. It was also a good chance to have a read of my new book, and to wash our coats, which have become filthy with all the camping and hiking we've been doing! After they were done, we chucked our stuff in the van and then got started on having a proper look of Jasper finally. It's much like a smaller version of Banff, but it isn't as scenic and pretty. However, it does appear to be very gay friendly, with rainbow flags in nearly every window and lots of gay people around, which is nice to see. Certainly, Gemma, Shellie, Laura and I didn't seem to draw much attention which was cool. We met up with Rachel, Rhys and Josh and popped into a couple of the shops to have a look around, and we also walked around the main section of the town. We went into a pharmacy to get some bits and pieces, and they had completely sold out of every make and model of bug spray, due to the major mozzie infestation the area is experiencing- it was nice to know that it wasn't just us being affected by them! We popped into a health food store to look for the neema oil that the woman in Medicine Hat had told us about, and we're sad to find that they didn't have any, however they did have bottles of Fentimans, which Laura was buzzing about.

We bought a cheeky ice cream to eat on the way home and headed back to the van to meet Casey, who asked if anyone in the group wanted to ride the Gondola to Whistler Mountain. There was only Helen and Vince who wanted to go, so the rest of us were dropped back off at the campsite whilst Casey took them for the ride. Shellie and Gem got started on the dinner of beef stew (yum!) and I was imprisoned back in the tent away from the mosquitos. I wasn't allowed to leave the tent for the rest of the evening, except to go to the bathroom...I was even made to eat my stew in the tent, which was miserable. However, I did get out of having to wash the dishes as the mozzies were swarming the sink and Gemma and Shellie came in the tent with Laura and I to chill out and update the blogs, so I wasn't too lonely.

Whilst we were ensconced in the tent, as Gemma and I were writing, Shellie drew a whale in the Haida style on Laura's right arm; it was really good, even if it did make her look quite butch! At around 10.30pm, we called it a night and braved the plague to run across the campground to brush our teeth for bed. I cannot wait to leave this camp ground tomorrow!

Sick of the mozzies now.....Deej x.
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gilmer on

I just visited Alberta in Sept, 2012 and loved it. I enjoyed reading your blog.

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