Every experience is an opportunity to learn new things. On this last trip we made sure to have extra blankets, our camp chairs, a proper spatula and a whole list of things we have learned we do actually need. We also realized some things we didn't need and could leave at home (if we brush teeth and wash our hands it is a good day, no need for shampoo, lotion, or a host of other toiletries!)
We missed our first chance at Jasper last winter when the year's only massive storm that closed the Icefields came on the day we were to drive it, which was also the day after Terry nearly cut his finger off and needed semi-emergency surgery.
Needless to say, we were super excited for this trip. Not even trying to fit all our gear in just the back of the car, we hoisted the car carrier onto the roof and filled it to brimming. Then largely filled the back of the car. Then got the chance to take our new-to-us bike rack out for a spin. The last minute re-reading of our camping permit information educated us that we were in fact not permitted to bring our own wood for the fire and instead would have to purchase a fire permit for a price way lower than the normal price for buying wood. That did cut down on some of the load (three bags of firewood we planned to take!) But honestly, having to bring so much extra keep-us-warm gear means we'll never truly go bare bones.
By the time we reached Wapiti campground it was very close to dinner. We got the tents set up, shed the bikes, and headed into town for dinner. On our way back into the campground we stopped by the firewood heap and picked out a bunch of wood then got right to work on the fire.
Not long after the campfire was started, we heard some really weird loud sounds that Terry identified as a bull elk bugling to the lady (cow) elk. Love was certainly in the air, and in the woods about 10 meters from our campsite. We saw the cow walk by, then the bull a short while later. When we had entered the park we were told by the staff it was rut season for the elk and to be cautious and give them space. It is very important not to get between a bull and a cow. Happily, they continued on their way and did not linger by us. It was hard to get a good view because of all the trees, but these are large animals so we were at least very certain what they were. We are also happy to report no bear sightings. The longer I hike and camp the more I realize I don't feel any need to view a bear up close and personal.