The Great White Northwest

September 17, 2010

Words by // Photography by Nita Breibish

We woke to a morning of frost and near freezing temperatures – the sky was white and sunless. In previous years this may have been enough to stop us in our tracks though this season we seemed to turn a corner with riding. On our Transamerican we dealt with the heatwave and, to be honest, the weather in this part of the world produced one of the coldest and wettest summers in western prairie history. The reality was simple – get out despite the weather or lose the season. I read somewhere that there’s no such thing as bad weather – just poor preparation and I think it’s pretty apt for the most part.

As we pulled out of the house the temperature just tipped over 2°c. Literally moments down the road Nita’s new BMW/Schuberth visors anti-fog film bubbled and began to peel – an annoying flaw that’s now occurred twice. With a little roadside adjustment we were on our way again. Out on the Transcanada we passed Kananaskis and, as we turned past Bow Valley Campgrounds a clear band of snow appeared on the trees with plenty of the white stuff accumulating on the peaks. The temperature slowly dropped until our first stop in Lake Louise.

A quick top-up and lunch with our friend and favourite local Jovi, and we were on our way again. Off of the Transcanada and onto HWY 93 North toward our first night spent in Jasper – a beautiful town I hadn’t visited since my band days some 18 years ago. The Icefields Parkway is truly a magical road – every turn reveals a new mountain face which is sometimes so close that it induces a sense of vertigo. Because it’s late in the season and the temperatures are so cold the trees are well into their annual metamorphosis of color which is truly worth and amount of mild discomfort.

About 20 minutes along our northern path the sky began to break, the blue began to peek through and the temperatures began to rise. A little. Winding our way along the highway we found ourselves met by a massive glacier that stopped us dead in our tracks. It was so beautiful we pulled over and just looked in awe. We were in the icefields which by all accounts are quite a bit smaller than they were even a mere 20 years ago.

There’s something incredibly peaceful about the 93 that just calms the soul. Moving between mountains, flanked by trees rising over one pass and into the chute of another. It all somehow makes you feel alone and yet connected to something greater. The sun was now completely revealed, the skys a cloudless & vivid blue and we were pulling into our hotel for the night. Situated by Lac Beauvert, the cabin was a perfect stop for the first night.

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I’m a Canadian writer, adventure motorcyclist and world traveller of British and Libyan descent. I’ve spent the past two and a half years travelling the globe by motorcycle as one-half of We Love Motogeo, following a route that makes little sense to anyone else, while supporting our non-profit organization, the Lost for Good Project. I’ve been chased by all manner of animal, detained as a spy in North Africa and waited out a hurricane in the bowels of a ferry. While I’m no spy (honestly), I am a lover of decent coffee and great yarns sewn around a campfire.

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