The Icefields Parkway and Jasper National Park

Trip Start Apr 06, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Waipiti Campground

Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Thursday, April 22, 2010

22nd April 2010

Overnight the temperature in Banff dropped drastically and we awoke to a layer of ice inside the car windows. Unfortunately, we also awoke to very grey skies which was a shame as today we were heading up the Icefields Parkway to Jasper National Park. Not deterred by the weather, we set off and first stop was Lake Louise. Having seen postcards with picture perfect images of this lake, we were a little disheartened by the very un-photogenic view that greeted us; a completely frozen, grey, misty, wet, cold sight. Spurred on by the never dwindling enthusiasm of a coach load of Japanese tourists, we took some snaps, soaked up the surroundings and marvelled at the huge snow drifts blocking up the roads and most of the carpark. The frozen, grey, misty, wet, cold theme pretty much continued throughout the rest of our drive up one of the most scenic routes in the world! The glaciers, frozen lakes and rivers, and Columbia Icefield didn't fail to impress us at all and were absolutely awesome despite the weather. The entire area is wild and untamed and apart from the road, and of course tourists like us, there is no trace of mankind whatsoever in this part of the world. We arrived in Jasper town, greeted by huge Elks on the side of the high street, and contemplated for a short while whether to stay in a hostel as it was pretty cold. We opted instead for a bottle of red wine and a lovely site at Waipiti Campground, complete with camp fire and a bag of marshmallows! We followed the third piece of excellent advice from our friends in Vernon, and stuck a big rock in the fire for half an hour, wrapped it up in socks and stuffed it in the bottom of our sleeping bags for the night. Ingenious, thanks T!

23rd April 2010

We spent the day in Jasper, exploring the lakes and making the most of the sunshine again. Patricia Lake was absolutely beautiful; just beginning to thaw, there were huge sheets of ice backing up on the shore and they were creaking and cracking as the wind pushed more up onto the beach. We literally froze ourselves at Pyramid Lake, where you can walk out on a wooden bridge to an island in the middle of the lake and the wind chill must have been at least minus 10! We warmed up with a coffee at a really nice bakery called The Other Paw, and spent the afternoon walking at Lake Annette...this time not too scared of the bears and we spotted two huge bald headed eagles. We also paid a visit to Maligne Canyon which was really cool. The waterfall running through the canyon was frozen on the top but you could hear the water gushing below the ice. The sun was beginning to set as well and 2 big deer hopped right past us and posed for some photos. After a nice day we headed back to the campsite for a repeat of last nights fire, wine, marshmallows and hot rock performance...bloomin' cold!
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