On and Over the Hills

"Go as far as you can see; when you get there you'll be able to see farther." ~ Thomas Carlyle

Back Alley Walk ~ Jasper, Alberta

The town of Jasper is world famous as a tourist resort. It is a special town. An 1813 fur-trade outpost became a railway siding in 1911, four years after Jasper National Park was established. Eventually its beautiful Rocky Mountain setting at the confluence of the Miette and Athabasca Rivers began to attract skiers, hikers and sight-seers. Because it is in the park, development is limited but always under threat. The possibilities are limitless. Opulent resorts, hotels and tourism retail support a steady permanent population of over 4,000 people and attract another 500 or so seasonal workers.

Although it is not far from me, about a three-hour drive, I seldom go in summer when the population doubles with tourists. I do like to down-hill ski though and Marmot Basin Ski Resort is a spectacular experience. The valley affords the town itself a relatively mild climate and in the spring, even when the mountains are deep in snow, the town can be bare and dry as it was in March of 2010 when I took a walk down a back alley behind the retail strip.

Even a special town is still a town. Goods must be got and consumed. Waste must be managed. Structures must be built from locally found or delivered materials; they then must be maintained. Electric light, heating and water must be provided where families settle and their children are raised.


20 comments on “Back Alley Walk ~ Jasper, Alberta

  1. Bob Zeller
    November 13, 2011

    A great collection, Cindy. I love that bench in the last photo. 🙂

    • missusk76
      November 13, 2011

      Thanks, Bob. It is pretty cool isn’t it? And it’s just sitting in a back alley for the comfort of the store workers on their breaks. It represents the rustic style that is prevalent throughout the Rocky Mountain parks, local trees and stone were the dominant building materials, milled and cut ‘by hand’.

  2. Fototype
    November 13, 2011

    Wonderful photo essay! I especially appreciate the behind-the-scenes, non-tourist glimpse into the town. Really like your blog overall!

    • missusk76
      November 14, 2011

      Thank you very much! I am always intrigued by ordinary life and how people have the same basic needs and resultant impacts no matter where you go.

  3. pixilated2
    November 13, 2011

    There’s something about that first photograph. I think it’s the lighting… sunset maybe? It just softens and warms everything. The stone out building is mighty fine too! (There are lots of river stone buildings where I came from and I love them.) ~ Lynda

    • missusk76
      November 14, 2011

      Hi Lynda, That picture was taken around 6 pm so the sun would have been quite low; about to disappear behind the mountain. The colour of the building really liked that low sun. I was intrigued by the flaring at the base of that stone building. There is a lot of stone construction in Jasper. The same kind of stone ‘grows’ around here as well and I’ve always wanted to build something out of it. A friend built a foundation for her greenhouse like that and it is so attractive.

  4. photosbymartina
    November 13, 2011

    Cindy, these are great images. I especially like the red brick and boarded window. Thanks for taking me there. 🙂

    • missusk76
      November 14, 2011

      You are welcome, Martina and thank you. Many of the images on your blog are not showing up! I’ll have to try again another time.

  5. Colleen
    November 14, 2011

    Hello Cindy……. I worked in Jasper for the summer many years ago. Your photographs bring back so many memories, that end-of-the-season-winter-coming feeling. Greatly appreciating your blog and wonderful photography 🙂

    • missusk76
      November 14, 2011

      Hi Colleen. Thank you so much! I envy you the experience of the summer-student culture in Jasper. Even in the winter with the park ski-hills hiring so many young people, there is a palpable air of party – friends meeting, relationships building and busting. I hope you enjoyed your memories and I’m glad that this post meant something to you.

  6. julianhoffman
    November 17, 2011

    Love this backstreet tour, Cindy. Nearly always the more interesting of places! And the light that your images reveal is gorgeous, turning the ordinary into beautiful things, enabling me to look again at the commonplace. Wonderful to see through your eyes again…thanks.

    • Cindy Kilpatrick
      November 19, 2011

      You are welcome, Julian. And thank you for the compliment. I’m a big fan of back-alleys. I would always rather walk behind the buildings than in front: so much more interesting, as you say, and revealing.

  7. Heather
    November 19, 2011

    Thanks for the backstage pass, Cindy. You really have a knack for making the ordinary and sometimes overlooked truly beautiful, something I’m striving to do with my business. This is a lovely photo essay. As Julian said, thanks for letting us see Jasper through your eyes.

    • Cindy Kilpatrick
      November 19, 2011

      “Backstage pass” – I love that! It is like seeing what goes on behind the scenes and I think it is very valuable in your line of work to do just that. We may not necessarily need to see where people stash their surplus, but it is essential that more folks are enlightened as to what treasures lie around us in nature so they will want to protect them.

  8. Kia and Zeno
    November 23, 2011

    Ciao Cindy! Thanks for the virtual tour to Jasper 🙂 and for the info!

  9. Cindy Kilpatrick
    November 23, 2011

    You are so welcome, but I hope you don’t think this is all there is to this beautiful place! 🙂

  10. farmhouse stories
    November 27, 2011

    I love these back alley shots, Cindy, they are more intriguing that the shiny exterior of a place. I’ve only stopped in Jasper very briefly once, years ago, on my way to northern BC. You live in such a beautiful part of the country.

    • Cindy Kilpatrick
      November 28, 2011

      Maybe it would be different if I could saw the mountains every day, but even being within hours I only get to see them a couple of times a year and each time feels like the first time. Well, that’s not quite true, there is a feeling of privilaged familiarity, but the awe never lessens. Thanks for stopping by Cait.

  11. TM Surratt
    December 18, 2011

    Hi, Cindy, it’s been a while since I’ve spoken to you so here I am to say hello. This backlot concept is well done with what I would imagine to be the view that’s presented to the locals that work the everyday jobs… us little people.
    Got to run get dressed and grab my camera. I see the birds are flying around the bridge and I need some shots for the local tourism people.
    Miss you and your thoughtful comments but I completely understand time restraints.
    Your friend,

    • Cindy Kilpatrick
      December 19, 2011

      Thank you, Tim. It’s good of you to stop by. I am on another self-imposed exile from Flickr and almost from photography as well. Apart from needing more time and mental energy for family, friends and work – it is that time of year – I think I needed the break. The camera kept talking to me with imagined online voices and I was loosing my own vision (for lack of a more humble word). I hope to start fresh after Christmas when I have a 2-week break to indulge myself.

      I wish you the very best of Christmas and will look forward to catching up with your work in the New Year.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on November 13, 2011 by in The Journey and tagged , , , , .
%d bloggers like this: