Jared Padalecki – Naturally Good Looking

February 6th, 2009

Jared Padalecki comes from San Antonio, Texas. Jared showed an early enthusiasm for acting, and with the encouragement of his mom (an English teacher) joined up at the young age of 12 for acting tuition. At school he was an active and accomplished member of the drama club; his talents shone so much that in his final year he was given the honor of Presidential Scholar, a distinction awarded to only a couple of hundred pupils in the entire US.

One of Jared’s favorite eaterys in San Antonio was the local Planet Hollywood, where famous movie memorabilia decorate the walls. When the restaurant held a ‘Claim to Fame’ heat (run by FOX TV), Jared took his chance and signed up for the competition. Thanks to his wonderful acting skills he won the first prize of a ticket to LA, to compete in the grand final. Which of course he also won (well co-winner). While in LA he met an acting agent, who suggested to Jared that he had the potential to succeed as a full time actor, mentioning that, after he had finished school, Jared could contact him up if he wanted representation.

The idea of a career in Hollywood obviously appealed, and on graduating from school Jared forsake an opportunity to study at the University of Texas, instead flying out to LA and taking the agent up at his word. His decision proved the correct one, as within a few months of moving to the West coast Jared landed his first acting role – a major part in the TV-movie Silent Witness. Following on from this Jared was picked for the cast of the TV series Gilmore Girls, for the role of Dean, Rory’s love interest. The show quickly became a must-see series from coast-to-coast, and tall, handsome Jared became a big hit with lots of young women.

Extending his career from TV into the movies became possible when in 2003 Jared secured his first major part in a big-budget movie, New York Minute, playing a lead role opposite the gorgeous Olsen twins. Following on from this, Jared appeared in the well-received House Of Wax, where his acting skills held up well against those of Paris Hilton.

2005 saw Jared returning to TV, to star in the sci-fi program Supernatural. He plays the role of Sam Wichester, who teams up with his elder brother (Jensen Ackles) to fight all kinds of supernatural evils.

The horror theme continued, when in 2009, Jared appeared in the reincarnation of Friday the 13th, a nightmare-inducing return to Camp Crystal Lake.

Favorite Jared Wallpaper (from 100 Best Everything)


Best Looking Men‘s ratings for Jared Padalecki : Talent 4 stars out of 5 – Looks 4 stars out of 5 – Achievement 3 stars out of 5.

The Complete History Of American Art On A Single Webpage

February 1st, 2009

Inspired By – the Duc d’Aumale

This summer I visited the fabulous Chantilly Chateau, located just a few miles north of Paris. The Chateau is home to the second largest collection of pre-1850 art in France (no prizes for guessing the winner).

One of the galleries there, La Tribune, may be small, but it is home to a truly exceptional display of paintings. These represent an attempt by the Duc d’Aumale to depict the complete history of European art. (The Duc d’Aumale, who owned the Chateau in the middle of the 19th century, was an obsessive and very wealthy collector.) The Duc’s choice starts with the renaissance, runs through neo-classicism before ending up with romanticism.

Where the Duc leads, I dare to follow. Funds may be more limited, but thanks to the virtual world we live in, a collection need not bow to monetary concerns. My aim is to present a history of American Art within the confines of a single webpage.

Campbells Soup Cans – 1962

MoMA – Pop Art

Admittedly it’s a temptation to leave any Andy Warhol artworks out of my collection. Let’s face it, out of ‘The Factory’ came production line art; surely this can have not much more value than a poster.

But the visitor to my gallery would probably exclaim, ‘What no Warhol!’, so I have bitten the bullet and plumped for a archetypal piece of pop from 1964. Not as technically excellent as Warhol’s excellent commercial art from the mid 1950s. These drawings actually do show the clarity, skill, and originality of which Warhol is capable. Most of this went missing when Warhol became obsessed with celebrity and ‘Business Art’.

Only $86 million spent. Valued in comparison with the $71,720,000 paid at auction in 2007 for a very dark and dreary piece of pop-art entitled ‘Green Car Crash’.

The Key – 1945

59×84″ Art Institute of Chicago – Abstract Impressionism

After the profound inanity of my first item (one of the gallery assistants will have to write the small accompanying plaque, for I fear I may be too dismissive), the only way is up. Let’s travel backwards to the golden age of American art, when for the first time the feeling existed that the Europeans had been well and truly trounced. Yes, appearing center stage is Abstract Impressionism.

Perhaps the greatest exponent is Jackson Pollock, and I take great pleasure in unveiling the gallery’s second acquisition ‘The Key’, painted by Pollock in 1945. It’s a wonderful creation, evoking fantastic mixtures of shape and color. Pollock was truly gifted – see a video of him at work to gain a better insight into his thought processes.

Sadly our finances have taken quite a hit. $102 million was necessary to secure the piece.

Death On The Ridge Road – 1935

Williams College Museum Of Art – American Regionalist

‘Never overtake on the brow of a hill’. Wise words, and judging by this painting by Grant Wood, as applicable in 1935 as now. I just love both the construction and execution of this painting. A sinous sweeping road, the imminent swerve of the foolish driver’s auto, the onrush of the menacing red truck. An instant of time concisely captured, making for a very engaging painting.

Grant Wood belonged to the so-called ‘American Regionalist’ school, so I’ve ticked one box. But to me this seems a strange rather quaint tag overly drawing attention to the rural theme of his output. His work is surely more of a new-wave Impressionist genre, describing, not faithfully reproducing, the subject matter.

Having completed my first purchase ($27 million spent at a frenetic auction) I now look to go backwards along the timeline. Perhaps one of those fighting pictures from George Bellows. Typically he’s labelled a ‘Social Realist’, but surely if Woods is an ‘American Regionalist’ then Bellows would be an ‘American Urbanist’.

Stag At Sharkey’s – 1909

The Cleveland Museum of Art, 36″x 48″ – Social Realism

This is one of my favorite George Bellows canvas, and a easy pick as an addition to my collection. The painting captures the toil and sweat of a bout magnificently, with the boxers battling in a determined grapple. Another favorite is of course ‘George Dempsey and Firpo’, but this, as a monochromatic lithograph (often colored in), can be ruled out of the final cut.

Sharkey’s boxing club was just across the street from Bellows’ studio, and provided the sports-mad artist with some wonderful material. Though the artist was terrifically versatile, producing a beautiful intimate portrait one week, then a large ambitious urban scene the next.

Estimated cost (through a discreet private purchase) $42million.

Putting my collection together is beginning to feel almost exhilirating (or so a schizophrenic-like voice inside my head tells me). I’ve never really collected anything before, and it’s starting to dawn that I’ve missed out on a pleasant feeling, best described as crazed possessiveness.

Actresses With Tattoos

January 28th, 2009

Award For Actress With The Best Tattoo Goes To?

Every Hollywood actress has more than her fair share of natural beauty. And a carefully chosen tattoo can add attraction and interest to even the most curvaceous body. But pick unwisely, and you risk spoiling god’s gift, turning beauty to beast. Let’s cast our eye over tinsel town’s finest, and pick out the winner of our much-coveted award.


Scarlett Johansson

The blonde bombshell from New York City brings out untrammelled lust in men everywhere.
For more Scarlett info and wallpapers, see Scarlett.
The darling of Hollywood has only one tatt, a small circular design on the inside of her left forearm. Let’s face it, though, the small tatt is a complete disaster – a naive and garishly colored design. Please Doctor, start up that laser right now because we’re booking a series of eradication appointments for gorgeous Scarlett.


Close Up:


Charlize Theron

Overcoming a desparately tragic childhood, Charlize is one of the few to have conquered Hollywood. Her impressive CV includes a string of successful movies such as The Cider House Rules, Men of Honor, and The Italian Job. She’s even won an Oscar for her role as the abused/turned-abuser serial killer in the dark and brutal flick Monster.
For more Charlize info and wallpapers, see Charlize Theron .
She has two small tattoos on her right foot, one a fish, one a flower.Both tattoos are discreet and appealing. Charlize storms into first place on our leaderboard.


Jessica Alba

The Fantastic Four star Jessica Alba is every man’s dream date.
For more Jessica info and wallpapers, see Jessica Alba.
Jessica has a ladybug/floral motif on the back of her neck, a Sanskrit character meaning lotus flower on the inside of her right wrist, and a ribboned bow tattoo on the small of her back.
Jessica easily sweeps past Scarlett, but fails to take the lead – the possible connotations of her back tatt are just too trashy!

Close Ups:

Jessica Biel

After being tied into a merciless contract on TV’s 7th Heaven, Jessica Biel finally escaped in 2003 to fulfil her destiny as a super movie actress.
For more Jessica info and wallpapers see Jessica Biel.
Jessica has a small tattoo of a dove on the right side of her stomach, just above the bikini line.
Well not small, but very small ie bordering on unnoticeable. An incredibly timid attempt at a piece of body art, which surely would get a dismissive laugh from Kat Von D. So Jessica moves into penultimate place. (Scarlett remains in a completely unassailable bottom position!)

Close Up:

Eva Longoria

After a chequered career which included some fairly missable TV shows, Eva Longoria hit the big time with her role as Gabrielle Solis in Desperate Housewives.
For more info and wallpapers see Eva Longoria .
The petite and very pretty Eva has a tiny star tattoo on inside of left wrist, her wedding date in roman numerals on the inside of her right wrist, a Celtic cross on the small of her back, a flower tattoo to the right of her lower back, her husband’s jersey number ‘NINE’ on the back of her neck and (purportedly) her husband’s initials (TP) in an unknown intimate location.
Oh, love is so touching, but 3 spouse-related designs? A little too soppy me thinks. Though the old-school Celtic cross is strong and classy, taking Eva into a small overall lead.

Close Ups:

Megan Fox

She rocketed to fame playing a lead role in the hit movie Transformers.
Megan has a tattoo of a moon and starfish on her right ankle, a portrait tattoo of Marilyn Monroe on her right arm, a small tattoo of two intertwined waves inside her left wrist, the name ‘Brian’ above her bikini line, the words there once was a little girl who never knew love until a boy broke her HEART’ on her left rib cage just below her armpit and finally the words ‘We will all laugh at gilded butterflies’ on her the back of her shoulder. Phew…!
Plus I have a horrible feeling that Megan’s at the tattoo parlour at this very moment, rendering the list out of date.
At last we have the real deal, inspired choices by an obvious ink afficiando. Megan is undoubtedly the hands-down winner of our award.

Close Ups:

The Result

To recap the final positions…
6th Scarlett Johansson
5th Jessica Biel
4th Jessica Alba
3rd Charlize Theron
2nd Eva Longoria
The Award For the Actress with the Best Tattoo goes to…. Megan Fox.

(Please note … Angelina J refused to turn up!)

Perhaps models do body art better? See my lens Models With Tattoos to judge for yourself.

Touring BC, From Vancouver to Revelstoke

January 23rd, 2009

Vancouver is a huge city comprising many smaller cities, so bring a map to find your way around. Also, be patient because rush hour traffic seems to be ever present. Vancouver has many beaches to choose from since it is located along the west coast.

Bridal Veil Falls Located just off Highway#1, Bridal Veil Falls is the perfect place for people of all ages. Accommodations range from hotels to an RV park to a campground to pitch your tent. There is a golf course for the adults, and beautiful hiking trails winding through the lush foliage in the jungle-like forests. There are also many activities for the kids. Children can try the waterslides, bumper boats, and Dino Park. All amenities are within walking distance. Finally, within a short hike, you’ll find beautiful Bridal Veil Falls.

Whitecliff Park Located at the northwestern tip of North Vancouver, Whitecliff Park is a beautiful, nearly isolated beach and park. No pets are allowed in the park, and seashell picking is prohibited. If you’re lucky, as we were, you may get to see some seals up close. There is a family of seals that comes by once in a while to sun themselves on the small rock island just a short ways of the main beach. This rock island is not too difficult to access because it is connected to the beach by a strip of large rocks. However, be careful to get back to the beach before the tide comes in.

Pacific Northern Exhibition This fair is a definite smorgasbord of activities. There is something for everyone of all ages, and it is only $6 + tax to get in and enjoy all the attractions. Ride tickets cost extra, though. Lots of food, activities, rides, and games are the many highlights at the PNE. Here is a partial list of the scheduled events for the summer of 2000:-Eukanuba Superdogs: exciting and fun canine performances and competitions-Demo Derby: the largest demolition derby in North America with 51 exciting, crashing, noisy shows-Pig Races: pigs racing around a track sounds like fun, and it is very popular and hard to see, so come early.-Casino and Bingo: exciting gambling, and all proceeds go to PNE’s non-profit attractions-The Track: world-class thoroughbred horse racing – very high-energy

The Ferry – Vancouver Island Scheduled throughout the day, visitors can take the ferry to Vancouver island. Remember to bring a jacket because it is very cold travelling on the ocean. There is a restaurant, washrooms, and a gift shop on board. Vancouver Island is a beautiful place to visit with many attractions such as the wax museum, an underwater sea museum, and the stunning Buttchart Gardens.


Situated in the heart of the Okanagan valley, Kelowna is a gorgeous city to vacation at. The atmosphere is nice and relaxed, and the weather is usually hot and sunny. The main beach near downtown Kelowna has plenty of space to spread out and the sand is soft. There are also many orchards with plenty of fresh fruit.

Salmon Arm

Located in the Shuswap area, Salmon Arm boasts beautiful summer weather that complements the many beaches along the lakes. There are various summer activities in this small city, including camping by the lake or renting a houseboat with friends or family.

Minos Restaurant My favorite restaurant in Salmon Arm, with many delicious items on its menu. The selection is very impressive; dishes range from a humble donair to a juicy prime rib dinner. The prices are also quite reasonable. The service is excellent and friendly. This restaurant is extra interesting because of the many ghost stories floating around it. Our waitress confirmed the abundance of these tales, but did not actually experience the presence of any supernatural entity. Minos is definitely highly recommended because of its large selection of tasty and inexpensive meals. It is a great place to bring your friends or family.

Sandy Point This campground is located by one of the many lakes and has a beautiful beach (as its name suggests). There is a playground for the children and many water sports for all to participate in. While the campground does not offer much privacy, it is obviously very popular since it is often quite busy.

Other Activities While you are in Salmon Arm, you must stop at one of the many fruit stands along the road. There are always many kinds of seasonal fruit and veggies to choose from, and they are very tasty, fresh, and juicy. Making a trip to the waterslides is always a favorite with the kids, and Salmon Arm has a great waterslide park to try.


Whilst those not-in-the-know continue to head in their droves for overpriced, overcrowded and overhyped Whistler, the die-hard snow sports enthusiasts head for Revelstoke. The ski resort’s moto, ‘The Longest Skiable Vertical in North America’ (over a mile) translates into magnificent skiing, with incredible powder rarely ‘skiied-out’. Revelstoke also promises lift-skiing, heli-skiing and cat-skiing all from its compact base. Heaven-on-earth for powder skiiers!


January 23rd, 2009


Shortly after arriving at University College London (in fall 1996), Chris Martin bumped into Jonny Buckland. They both loved playing music, and between them formed a band, called Pectoralz. Soon they recruited a third member, Guy Berryman. The band practiced daily, and soon were playing to small venues in the Camden area.

In 1998, Will Champion was enlisted to play the drums (he was a total novice, but a talented musician, so quickly picked them up). The band was complete muscially, but they still weren’t happy with the name, so tried <i>Starfish</i> before eventually settling on – Coldplay.

The first release from the the band was the <i>Safety</i> EP, of which only 500 copies were made – which nowadays change hands for a small fortune ($5000 plus). In the summer of 1999, the band played Glastonbury – great for word-of-mouth marketing.

After some bust-ups in the band (Will Champion once stormed out, only to return when begged to do so by the rest of the band), the foursome decided on some band democracy – all revenues would be divided 4ways, and everyone’s name would appear on song credits.

Late 1999 also saw the release of their first album Parachutes. The hit singles Yellow and Trouble came from the album. The band hit the US for a promotion tour.

The band’s second album A Rush of Blood to the Head was released in 2002 to worldwide success. Singles taken from the album include In My Place, Clocks and The Scientist. A Rush of Blood to the Head went on to achieve chart success – hitting number one both sides of the Atlantic. The band embarked on a megatour, with over a 100 live performances.

X & Y, Coldplay’s third album, came out in 2005. Wonderful tracks off the album include Speed of Sound and Fix You.

Chris Martin is now married to Gwyneth Paltrow, the Hollywood actress, who has taken title roles in lots of blockbuster movies, like Emma. (A talented couple!)

Best Band‘s ratings for Coldplay: Music 5 stars out of 5. Character 4 stars out of 5. Live Performance 4 out of 5.


January 23rd, 2009


Lacey Mosley spent her early years in Arlington (TX). As a young teenager, she was given at bass guitar on Christmas day. The guitar became a passion. At the age of 16, after a series of fights with her mom, she went to live with her grandmother in nearby Gulport. Attending Gulport highschool she made a new circle of musical friends, and soon she was playing in a school band.

Lacey took to going with her grandmother to church – through which she found a new sense of purpose to her life.

A couple of years later Lacey moved to Temple. Here she me James Culpper (drums), Sameer Bhattacharya (guitar), and Jared Hartmann (guitar). Toghether they formed and band, with the name Passerby.

The band became a popular live act, playing over 100 gigs around Texas, and releasing 3 EPS. By this time Lacey had dropped playing the bass, and was concentrating on fronting the band vocally. After a couple of short-term stand-in bass-players, Pat Seals joined the band to become permanent.

Soon the record label Octone Records had signed them up on a record deal. Someone found out that the name PasserBy had already been trademarked, so the group chose a new name, Flyleaf. In 2004, the band released the popular single, Breathe Today, which was promoted with a brill video.

The band’s first proper album, self-titled, was released in fall 2005. Singles from the album include I’m So Sick, Fully Alive, and All Around Me. A hectic tour schedule followed, throughout the US, Europe and Australia.

Best Band‘s ratings for Flyleaf: Music 4 stars out of 5. Character 4 stars out of 5. Live Performance 4 out of 5.

Panic At The Disco

January 23rd, 2009

Ryan Ross (vocals/guitar) and Spencer Smith (drums) attended the same High School in Las Vegas. With a friend Brent Wilson (bass, ex-member) they started jamming together in the evenings. The informal practice sessions soon morphed the group into a rock band, christened Summer League. After a few gigs, the friends reckoned their band’s sound was a bit on the ‘thin’ side, so a search started for an extra guitar player. Brent met Brendon Urie, inviting him along to audition to play guitar. But when it was realised that Brendon’s singing voice was the best of the group, he was persuaded to take over lead vocals. To celebrate their new line-up, a new name was called for. The foursome settled on Panic! at the Disco (the ! was later discarded).

Pete Wentz (see Fall Out Boy Songs) saw PATD performing, and suggested to the band that they approach the Fueled by Ramen label. Pete’s intincts proved correct as the record company offered PATD a contract. The band’s first album A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out came out late in 2005. Their first single – I Write Sins Not Tragedies – was released from the album. The single’s video included a mock circus wedding – the circus idea is a constant theme of the band’s tours. To raise their image, the band embarked on a protracted US tour, as a support act. By the end of the tour their popularity had increased to such an extent that they became the headline act. A second single from the album, But It’s Better If You Do was released early in spring 2006, rising to number 26 in the charts. This single is many people’s favorite of all Panic At The Disco songs.

On tour though, the internal squabbling in the band turned from playful to resentful. Eventually Brent Wilson made the decision to quit. This left the group short of a bass for the UK and European leg of their tour. Fortunately Jon Walker, who was a friend from school days, stepped up to fill the role.

The band’s sophomore album, Pretty. Odd came out early in 2008. It reached #2 in both the US and UK albums chart. Key tracks off the album include Nine in the Afternoon and That Green Gentleman.

Best Band’s (from 100BestEverything) ratings for PATD: Music 5 stars out of 5. Character 4 stars out of 5. Live Performance 3 out of 5.

The Fray

January 23rd, 2009

Isaac Slade and Joe King were pupils at the  Faith Christian Academy, Denver.  Three years after school a happy meeting at a local record shop resulted in them arranging to meet up to discuss and play music.  One thing led to another, and soon they’d put together a band.  They persuaded Ben Wysocki (drums) and Dave Welsh (guitar) to join them.

The boys all had a common interested: piano, and this perhaps explains why their unique brand of piano rock works so well.  Isaac Slade and Joe King both discovered an early passion for music playing the piano.  King even competed in several piano competitions before dropping it in favor of the guitar, considered amongst his peer group to be a ‘way cooler instrument’. Wysocki and Welsh had also played piano at a young age, but after enduring being sent to piano lessons for a few years, swapped to the drums and guitar respectively.

All four grew up in strongly religious families, and have strong spiritual values. Thanks to their church connections, the group got their first taste of playing gigs at local Church halls.  To begin with, Isaac’s song lyrics were Christian based.  Then one day, when working at Starbucks, he had the sudden realisation that he could sing about the wider world within the contect of his faith.   Armed with a set of new worldly-wise songs, the band started playing local club venues.  Isaac’s brother, Caleb, joined the group to play bass guitar. However sibling tensions obviously ran high, and soon he left citing ‘musical differences’.  Later on Isaac was to say that Caleb’s leaving was his inspiration behind the words for ‘Over My Head’ (a song first titled ‘Cable Car’). 

The band’s name, The Fray, came about after a intelligent decision-making process after a gig at Caleb’s high school graduation dance.  The audience were asked for possible names for the band – several were volunteered, written on a piece of paper, and put in a bowl.  The band members removed all the slips of paper apart from one, which remained at the bottom of the bowl.  On the last slip of paper was written ‘The Fray’.  The name stuck – the boys liked it because that’s the way songwriting often felt!

Two EPs were the first releases from the band. ‘Movement’, which sold well after gigs, then ‘Reason’ which was more successful, with the song Cable Car getting a lot of radio time of the local station KTCL.  A talent scout from Epic Records spotted the potential in the band, and in 2004 the boys signed to the record label.

The group’s first album How to Save a Life came out in September 2005.  Soon after the band embarked on a nationwide tour, supporting Weezer.  Two tracks from the album made it big, Over My Head  and How to Save a Live (which featured on the soundtrack for Grey’s Anatomy). 

January 2009 saw the release of The Fray’s second album,  self-titled The Fray.  The first single to be released from the album, You Found Me went on to phenomenal chart success.

Best Band’s (from 100BestEverything) ratings for The Fray: Music 4 stars out of 5. Character 4 stars out of 5. Live Performance 3 out of 5.

Guide To Makalawena Beach, Big Island, Hawaii

January 21st, 2009

To reach Makalena Beach requires a bit of a trek, which on hot days can be hard work. Before you set out to visit this magnificent beach, pack a backpack with plenty of food and water – there are no provisions available at this remote beauty spot.

In your car, take Route 19 northwards from Kailua-Kona, then turn left onto the rough access road for Kekaha Kai State Park (after mile 88). After a rough 1 mile, the road reaches a crossroads. Park your car on the small area available next to the intersection. Follow the path that leads right from the crossroads. (Straight on leads you to Mahaiula beach, left goes to Makolea beach – both are also worth a visit).

After a few minutes, you’ll arrive at the coast, where you can pick up the coastal trail. Turn right, to head north. The path now leaves the coast, across a rugged patch of black lava. It takes about 20 minutes to cross the lava, then you arrive at the southern end of Makalawena beach.

Phew! No wonder you’ll often have the beach to yourself. But the hike-in’s well worth it, because you’ve arrived at one of the most beautiful beaches on the Hawaiian islands.

Makalawena beach actually consists of 3 sweeps of sand, separated from each other by lava points. There’s lots of vegetation behind the sand, so if you want it’s easy to find a place out of the sun for your picnic.

The swimming and snorkeling are absolutely super. The water is pleasantly warm and, on calmer days, the underwater visibility excellent. Body and boogie-board surfers head for the last of the beaches – the surf is normally better there.

Best Beach‘s rating : Wilderness feel 5 stars out of 5, Warm water 4 out of 5, Facilities 0 out of 5. Happy times 5 stars out of 5.

Guide To Jasper National Park

January 21st, 2009


Jasper National Park is a beautiful area with nature as its tourist attraction. It is ideal for the single traveler, a couple, a group of friends, or a family. Here are a few ideas when traveling through the Park:

1. Wildlife, however tame it may seem to be, is wild. Do not feed the animals or try to get in close for the perfect picture. The animals are unpredictable, and have been known to seriously injure or kill humans. Always be very careful around the animals; this is not a petting zoo. Also, use caution when driving. There are often many animals on the road, so to protect yourself and the wildlife, adhere to all posted speed limits.

2. The weather in Jasper National Park is often as unpredictable as the wildlife. In the middle of July you could get hot, sunny weather one day, and snow falling the next. Keep this in mind when packing.

3. The town of Jasper can be expensive. From food, to hotel accommodations, to personal hygiene items, purchases made in Jasper are generally more expensive than the average Alberta town.

4. Pay heed to the signs that warn you that the next gas station is very far away. Gas stations are few and far apart in the Park, and the more remote they are, the more expensive they get. If possible, fuel up in the town of Jasper, and keep your tank relatively full at all times.

Accommodation Ideas

The price of a hotel room or suite in Jasper is usually fairly expensive. If you are a family looking for a place to stay, good places are bungalows like the Pocahontas and Bonhomme Bungalows. If you can afford a more expensive vacation, here are a couple favorites among the many up-market hotels:

1. Jasper Park Lodge: This hotel is very pricey; the cheapest room during the summer is around $200/night. Located around Lac Beauvert outside of the town, it is picturesque and features a wide variety of suites and activities. Activities and amenities include the promenade (mall), a few restaurants with delicious food, swimming facilities, horseback riding, an excellent golf course, and a walking trail around the lake. The rooms have a rustic and cozy atmosphere, and although this is a gorgeous place to spend the night or day, it is not for the shallow wallet.

2. Charlton’s Chateau Jasper: This is a beautiful hotel with a more modern look. It is priced lower than Jasper Park Lodge with the Premier’s suite at around $250/night. The hotel is located nicely in the town of Jasper; it is within walking distance of downtown, but far enough so that it is not noisy. There is a wide variety of excellent food, and I highly recommend the Sunday Brunch. There is also the option of the countless charming bed-and-breakfasts, not to mention plenty of campgrounds for those who like “roughing it”.

Eating Out

Food is usually higher-priced than average, but there are also a wide variety of restaurants and price ranges in the town. You can eat at the good old A&W restaurant for less than ten bucks, or you can spend a bit more for a fancier meal at the L&W restaurant. You can also go all out and eat at one the many posh dining rooms in town such as the Timberland, Tonquin Valley Inn, or Chateau Jasper.

Things to Do in Jasper National Park

The upside of Jasper National Park, is that once you’ve paid for the hotel room and your food, there are many exciting things to do that cost no more than the gas in your vehicle to get to your destination.

Maligne Canyon A moderate hike in both distance and difficulty, Maligne Canyon is an ideal and beautiful place to get a bit of exercise and fresh air. Bring your camera, but under no circumstances cross the boundaries around the canyon to get a better picture – a tourist has recently died attempting this. If you follow the guidelines, this will be an enjoyable and safe excursion.

Athabasca Falls This waterfall is absolutely stunning. The powerful roar of the water can be heard when you step out of your vehicle. The walk is leisurely and short, but the experience is wonderful. Again, bring your camera and stay within boundaries.

Tonquin Valley This hike boasts breathtaking views, but it is not for the fainthearted. It is arduous, though its length is determined by whenever you choose to turn around. If you choose to spend the night at one of the campsites, expect a long hike before you reach the first camp. Bring appropriate hiking and camping gear, if you go on this trip, you “will” be roughing it. Also, if you plan on spending the night in the camp, you must pay a small fee and register at the tourist information center in Jasper. For the adventurer, Tonquin Valley is ideal because of its wild beauty and very few tourists (on our six hour hike, we encountered one person). However, a few cautionary notes are in order. The sun sets in the mountain valley a lot earlier than in the town, therefore, be sure that you are either back at your vehicle or at the campsite before nightfall. There are many grizzly and black bears that roam the area. Although you will probably not come across either, take the necessary precautions to avoid or escape an attack. Bringing pepper spray and making constant noise are just a couple of precautions. Consult someone with reliable knowledge about bears and wildlife before embarking on this hike. Remember also that you will be far from civilization; if you are injured, medical help is far away and most cell phones will not work in the valley. These are not to discourage you from embarking on this memorable adventure, they are just precautions so that you avoid potential pitfalls.

Old Fort Point This is a moderate hike in length and difficulty, and the work pays off in the gorgeous view of the town and Lac Beauvert. Wear good hiking footwear and bring a camera. You may also encounter wildlife the higher up you go (we saw a majestic ram). If you see wildlife, take your cue from their response and act accordingly. Most animals will watch you closely but not attack. However, keep your distance as much as possible.

Horseback riding with Pyramid Stables Horseback riding is one of my favorite activities in Jasper. You get a knowledgeable guide, a safe and well-trained horse, and gorgeous views when you go on this trail ride. You have the option of a one, two, or three-hour ride, each one covering different terrain. Also, keep in mind that you will be riding at a higher elevation; bring warm clothes. While going on a horseback ride may be a bit costly, if you enjoy horseback riding, this will be worth your money.

Skiing in Winter
The beautiful Lake Louise Ski Resort is nearby, offering near perfect skiing on sublime snow.