2 August 2005 - Banff

Trip Start Jul 22, 2005
Trip End Sep 04, 2005

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Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Hi all

This update is brought to you from the thriving metropolis of Banff. We arrived here this afternoon after spending the last two nights in Jasper.

Over the last couple of days we have been exploring the Icefields Parkway. We have walked on the Athabasca Glacier, travelling onto it by snocoach. Awesome, cold, windy, slushy underfoot (but luckily we all have good shoes not like some who had thongs and sandles on). But what amazing photo opportunities. Also along the Parkway we have stopped at many falls, Sunwapta and Athbasca. The volume of water tumbling over the falls has to be seen to be believed.

The scenery just continues to be better with every turn in the road. The highest mountains, snowcapped and many small glaciers. We've stopped at many lakes including Peyto, Bow and Lake Louise. The colour of the water varies from deep turquoise to emerald to pale milky turqouise. Lake Louise is very commercialised but the others are still in their natural state.

Along the way this morning we couldn't believe our luck to find a black bear grazing on red berries within a few metres of the road. Jenny captured some amazing footage with the rest of us getting great photos. We therefore have seen elk, deer, mountain goats, sheep, ground squirrels, marmots, bison, coyote. We are yet to find the elusive moose.

The weather has been quite variable with 30 degrees in Jasper a couple of days ago but only 4 degrees this morning. We then headed up Mount Edith Cavell and climbed for a great view of another glacier. I'd hate to imagine what the temp was at the top of our climb. We then descended to walk along the valley floor where the glacier would have once been.

Earlier this week we travelled to Mount Robson the highest peak at 4000 metres. The peak only shows itself rarely and we were privilaged that it did so for a few seconds - long enough for us to get some pics. Tragically two European hikers lost their lives on Mt Robson a couple of days before due to an avalanche. The rescue helicopter was there while we were trying to locate the bodies. One has been recovered but due to further
avalanches the second body may never be recovered.

Ed and Prue caught up with Wilbur and Mae, Ed's church friends, at both Athabasca Glacier and again last night for a coffee at their accommodation, Fairmont Jasper Park. Long way to come for a coffee!!!

Accommodation has been great - we have a terrific B&B in Jasper and could highly recommended it to anyone of you travelling this way in the future. We are in another B&B at Banff this evening and tomorrow which is also very good.

Having a great time. The scenery is just amazing. What more can we say but WOW.

Must end - we are currently in a large shopping mall and there is still time to shop.

Love Prue, Ed, Robbie and Jenny
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