Yarn on the Road: Kamloops, Jasper, Banff

Last week I took JahDoily Knits out on the road.  The eight day trip came together at the last minute with very little time to plan but, while the focus of the journey was not knitting, I made sure to have a list of stores to check out along the way. We journey from Vancouver to the Canadian Rockies and back, passing through many towns we knew little about or hadn’t visited since childhood. With every yarn stores visited I was struck by how well rounded and welcoming their stores were. I’m not sure what I expected, but the variety I found was a pleasant surprise.

Our first stop was Kamloops, I’d heard great reports about ElectricTree Yarns and looked forward to kicking the trip offDay2-Kamploops-electrict on a strong fiber foot. Unfortunately for me, it was a Monday so I found a dark store front so any yarn purchases would have to wait. The store front was brightly decorated and immensely cute. Open or not it was worthy of a photo. Note the rainbow of yarn (it was Pride weekend for many communities in BC).

The timing to buy yarn may have been off, but Kamloops was one of the few places that offered time for knitting. Little did I know this at the time (I always think there will be time to knit on vacation) but enjoyed it all the same. Our home for the night was Hotel 540, booked just the night before and picked for a downtown location and rooftop pool. On checking in we upgraded our room to the Club Floor (parking, mountain views, and breakfast included), if you pass through here I recomend the upgrade. The view, if you overlooked the London Drugs and casino parking lot, was fascinating.  Arid, dry, rolling hillsides speckled with sage brush were such a stark contrast to the lush coast I’m used to. The real highlight of the hotel though is the roof top pool with … wait for it … poolside drink service! What, is this Mexico? Sun, pool, views, drinks, knitting – yes, I liked Kamloops.

Day 1 - Kamloops (5)I was surprised to read online that Jasper had a yarn store, it is afterall  a small town build solely around tourism, with very few year-round residents. At the address listed for Stychen Tyme Quilt & Yarn Shop I found yet another tourist store, tee-shirts with maple leafs and moose, cups made in China with reproductions of Canadian mountains. Other than some hand knit sweaters and tuques, no indication of yarn. The shop owner explained that the yarn store had closed just a few weeks ago, the owner having moved to Red Deer. apparently she’d done good business and I was not the first confused knitter to wander in looking for yarn. In my best attempt to not insult the current shop owner, I joked that perhaps she should start carrying yarn. Really, it would be a good idea. I don’t know if the little town can sustain a yarn store, but a little corner of BC and Alberta yarns could be a happy surprise for us knitters on the road. Yarn was looking like a distant dream but purpose of our trip was insight so yarn could wait a few days more. As for actual knitting, the views were to mesmerizing to miss even for a moment. My current project never even left the bag.

Rockies-mountain-road-viewAfter spending two nights camping outside of Jasper, exploring the resort town and incredible mountains and meadows, my partner and I made our way to Banff stopping off at the Columbia Icefield. My father spent a summer or two as a ranger in the Rockies in his twenties, the icefield’s Ranger Station being one of the places he’d been stationed. When he passed away in April, I knew this is where his ashes should be spread. (I will be posting more about the non-yarn parts of the trip on my blog.)

Day 4 - Rockies_Columbia-Icefields-Athabasca-Glacier-Ashes-up (3)
With the main purpose of our road trip accomplished, the remainder was spent leisurely making our way back to the West Coast, and yes, this is where my stash began to grow! But more on that anther day.

 

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