Category Archives: Jasper National Park Activities


Starry Nights in Jasper

Night Sky Preserve

Michael Har­ris got it right when he com­pared Jasper’s night skies to Van Gogh’s Starry Nights.

IJune Moon over Patricia LakeJune Moon over Patri­cia Lake took this photo in late June. It was almost mid­night yet still bright out. You sure do get your money’s worth when you vaca­tion in Jasper. Every day is like almost 2 days any­where else with all the day­light this beau­ti­ful North­ern Rock­ies park enjoys.

In the sum­mer, you have to be pretty patient, wait­ing for the dark skies to arrive. But, when they do, the show is amazing.

If you’re lucky enough to own an iPad, be sure to install GoSky­Watch Plan­e­tar­ium for iPad — the astron­omy star guide. It’s an incred­i­ble teach­ing tool for zoom­ing in on & iden­ti­fy­ing constellations.

man by a river

Make Father’s Day Meaningful

Father’s Day is Sun­day, June 16

Talk to any­one about this and they’ll agree: Men are the tough­est peo­ple to buy gifts for. Even men will agree.

What a lot of men will admit is that when they want some­thing, they go ahead and buy it. So it’s tough to look for the per­fect thing that never in his wildest dreams did your dad think he would like.

So is it any won­der that, with 3 weeks to go, I’ve already heard rum­blings, stress­ing & anx­i­ety about what would be the per­fect gift for that spe­cial guy.

I thought I could find good hints by look­ing up the top bucket lists for men. I’m not sure that look­ing through bucket lists helped clar­ify Father’s Day plans but it sure did show men’s wishes in all of their var­ied and com­pli­cated forms.

There are count­less vari­a­tions of buck­ets list themes. I found this excerpt in an Esquire bucket list for men:

No. 12: Leave your­self a let­ter in a library book. Look for it twenty years later.

Pick an obscure biog­ra­phy in a col­lege library, since no one there wants to insult obscu­rity by decat­a­loging a book, and the library will most likely always be there. One page. Be dis­creet. Type it on erasable bond, tuck it in the back, and hope that no one ever notices. As for con­tent, skip the hopes and dreams. Men­tion the weather, tell your­self what you ate that morn­ing, make a list of your friends, note how much you weigh and whether you feel fat, remind your­self of a secret you want to keep.

I’m not sure how many men would actu­ally try this lit­tle note idea. Plus how do you give that to dad for Father’s Day?

Other wishes that men listed had a com­mon theme: out­door adven­tures. Some guys wanted to fly air­planes, some wanted to sky-dive and oth­ers wanted to go on all-men camp­ing trips, watch the sun­rise and sun­set all in the same day, drive the Cal­i­for­nia Coast Highway.

Another com­mon theme was that men wanted to express gen­eros­ity or kind­ness in some way. There was a sort of sweet­ness to this theme: to do a truly phil­an­thropic act, pay the toll for the car behind him, walk his daugh­ter down the aisle, see a baby being born.

fathers-dayMore and more men are find­ing the great­est hap­pi­ness from expe­ri­ences & build­ing rela­tion­ships rather than acquir­ing “stuff.”

So, instead of wast­ing time tear­ing through malls to find the per­fect  “stuff” to wrap for dad this Father’s Day, how about plan­ning a great expe­ri­ence … like raft­ing, for example?

The best thing about a raft trip with Jasper Raft Tours is that ours is a “Class 2″ trip. That means the river is gen­er­ally tame with a few fun areas where you could get splashed so it’s suit­able for all ages. Our expe­ri­enced guides can make the day fun & mem­o­rable for the entire fam­ily. We even take expert pho­tos for you to give dad as a keepsake.

If dad prefers, make it an all-guy event: book a trip for dad and his friends.

Father’s Day is less than 3 weeks away so book your trip now & make sure you also book a din­ner reser­va­tion at one of our great restau­rants. It’s likely the restau­rants are going to be pretty busy on Father’s Day & I’m sure you don’t want to be disappointed.

Choose to make this Father’s Day an entire day of mean­ing­ful, fun-filled memories.

(Photo “Man by a River” cour­tesy of Sander Hoogen­doorn on Flickr)


Don’t Bug Me!

We love sum­mer & the great out­doors. But with the sweet, comes the bit­ter. Bugs! Mos­qui­tos, horse flies. All those crit­ters you for­got about through the chilly winter.

So what do you do? Lather your­self & your chil­dren with Deet or other tox­ins? Not nec­es­sar­ily. Many com­mer­cial prod­ucts con­tain Deet and other pos­si­bly harm­ful chemicals.

Some bugs are even devel­op­ing a tol­er­ance to Deet. Before you know it, they’ll be crav­ing the stuff & the best place to find it will be on your skin!

We’ve found some safe options.

David Suzuki’s Home-Made Remedies

David Suzuki guide to safe bug control

David Suzuki’s Guide to Safe Bug Control

David Suzuki has some great recipes for reduc­ing pesky bite bites & for treat­ing them if and when they do happen.


One of the sim­plest repel­lents is good old plain white vine­gar. You just spray it on but you do have to reap­ply often. I haven’t tried this one yet. I won­der if you’ll smell like fish and chips after hik­ing for a bit. I’m not sure it mat­ters because, first of all, insect repel­lents usu­ally stink. Man­u­fac­tur­ers try to cover it up with fra­grance but you still end up smelling & feel­ing like toxic chemicals.

Cit­ronella & Essen­tial Bug Oil Spray

Another repel­lent you could try is an essen­tial bug oil spray. One of the ingre­di­ents is lemon­grass, a beau­ti­ful fragrance.

Suzuki has also included a recipe for home­made cit­ronella can­dles. It blends beeswax, a biodegrad­able, renew­able prod­uct, with cit­ronella essen­tial oil.

Suzuki’s Essen­tial Oil Bug Spray


9 drops cit­ronella essen­tial oil

9 drops pep­per­mint essen­tial oil

9 drops lemon­grass essen­tial oil

1 table­spoon grain alco­hol (vodka)

¼ cup spring water

3 ounces dis­tilled water

1 ounce grain alco­hol (vodka)

6 drops laven­der essen­tial oil

3 drops tea tree essen­tial oil

3 drops cit­ronella essen­tial oil


Add all ingre­di­ents to a spray bot­tle. Let mel­low for a few days, allow­ing the essen­tial oils to blend. Spray on skin as needed or use as room spray (around win­dows and doors) to keep mos­qui­toes away.

Com­bine ingre­di­ents in spray bot­tle. Make this a few days before head­ing camp­ing or hik­ing! The longer you can let it mel­low, the more effec­tive it will be. 


David Suzuki’s recipe for Herbal Insect Repel­lent includes a list of essen­tial oils you can use in a vari­ety of com­bi­na­tions. Here are a few oth­ers you might like to try:

  • Cit­ronella Oil
  • Lemon Euca­lyp­tus Oil
  • Cin­na­mon Oil
  • Cas­tor Oil
  • Rose­mary Oil
  • Lemon­grass Oil
  • Cedar Oil
  • Pep­per­mint Oil
  • Clove Oil
  • Gera­nium Oil
  • Pos­si­bly Oils from Ver­bena, Pen­ny­royal, Laven­der, Pine, Cajeput, Basil, Thyme, All­spice, Soy­bean, and Garlic

More Bug Bite Prevention

The best pre­ven­tion is to keep skin cov­ered, if pos­si­ble. This is the best solu­tion for chil­dren & preg­nant or nurs­ing moth­ers since using repel­lents is more of a con­cern for these groups. Wear long sleeves and pants. Wear light-coloured cloth­ing as dark cloth­ing attracts mos­qui­toes. Remove stand­ing water from your yard or locate your camp­site away from stand­ing water, if possible.

Car­bon diox­ide also attracts mos­qui­toes and that’s exactly what you exhale when you are breath­ing. You can’t do much about that but you can divert atten­tion away from you or your children’s breath by burn­ing can­dles. They also pro­duce car­bon dioxide.

I’m sure there are other great solu­tions and recipes out there.

What do you do to pre­vent or treat bugs bites?