6. Stargazing from the SkyTram – Want to stargaze from nearly a kilometer closer to the stars? After a 7 minute trip up the SkyTram, you'll be sitting at 2263 metres above sea level with an amazing view overlooking Jasper. Pretty hard to top that : )
7. SPACEtalks - I wasn't totally sure what to expect while checking out Space Talks last year, but it was quickly one of my favorite events of any Dark Sky Fest. What is Space Talks? It's an incredible panel that discuss topics that few other are better qualified to speak on. This year, the panel will include Rob Thacker (astrophysicist), John Rennie(Scientific American Contributing Editor), Natalie Panek (Rocket Scientist/Explorer) and Greg Redfern (adjunct professor/instructor of astronomy).
8. The Drive - Icefields Parkway - If you're making the drive from Calgary you'll be taking one of the most scenic drives in the world. As you drive through the Alberta Rockies, I strongly advise you leave plenty of extra time to stop along the way. I've spent a good amount of time driving that road and it never ceases to amaze me with it's beauty.
You'll pass by endless mountain peaks, glaciers, waterfalls, and there's a good chance of spotting some wildlife along the way. At the very, very least, save time to talk a walk near the Athabasca Glacier. You can check out a few photos from along the parkway to the right and below!
9. The Friends - One of my favorite parts of attending the festival over the years has been making new friends each year and getting to hang out during the festival. Whether it's someone I've bumped in to at a coffee shop, another photographer visiting for the first time, or just another random festival attendee, there's something about Jasper that attracts some truly wonderful people.
10. Symphony Under the Stars – I'm really excited about this one. On Saturday, October 14th, the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra Strings will perform outdoors under the stars. I found my way in to photography through music, so there's always been a special connection between the two for me. This is something I'm truly looking forward to experiencing.
11. Just Being in Jasper - Alright, 1 more! When I was deciding what kind of post to put together I didn't realize how quickly my list would fill up. I thought this one was worth a number 11 . Whenever I leave the Jasper Dark Sky Fest I am absolutely exhausted. I try my best to fill every second of the day that I'm not participating in a festival activity out exploring Jasper. Of course when the activities at night end, I'm ready to head back out with my camera. As you can see, this doesn't leave a lot of time for things like sleeping.
One night last year, I left the Beyond the Stars event and spent the next 5 or 6 hours out photographing the stars. About an hour in to my shooting I noticed a light green glow on the horizon. It was subtle at first, but before long it broke in to a magnificent display of the Northern lights. Obviously, that can be a guarantee, but I'll be out again this year enjoying the stars and hoping I get lucky enough again this year!
Whether it's staying out the entire night stargazing or waking up early to explore before the festivities start during the day, I still have an incredible long list of things to check off "Jasper To-Do's".
Each year I find myself saying, "next year, I need to stay longer or come back a second time." In reality, aside from moving to Jasper, I don't think I'll ever feel like I've had enough time to do all the exploring I wanted. I suggest making a list and being ready to hit the trails to maximize your time in Jasper.
Check out a few photos below from my time exploring after Beyond the Stars last year.
Let me know if you're going to make it this year and when you'll be there! If it's just not in the cards, be sure to follow on Instagram as I'll be posting plenty of photos and behind the scenes footage on my Instagram stories! You can also search the hashtag #myjasper or #jasperdarksky to find photos that are being posted by guests throughout the festival.
Hope to see you there!
If you still haven't gotten enough you can check out the two timelapse videos I shot with Travel Alberta!