Jasper National Park
Trip Start Jun 22, 2012
13Trip End Aug 15, 2012
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The first really noticeable thing was how high and fast the rivers were flowing. Apparently the rain we had Saturday and Sunday had really added to the snow melt. The Fantasy weather god must be working because we had light rain to Lake Louise and then it cleared off the rest of the way. Since we had seen most everything from Canmore to Lake Louise already, that worked out about perfectly. There were a number of vantage points with pull outs we could use for photo ops and some areas where you could drive back, park, and then hike to a lookout point
Our big activity of the day was the visit to the Columbian Ice Fields, an area of glaciers that are positioned to drain off to three different oceans; Arctic, Pacific, & Atlantic. This was quite an operation that somewhat reminded me of the Hearst Castle in California. They have a visitor's center where you get your ticket, and then they bus you to a staging area where you transfer to the HUGE ice buses. (Now this is where it pays to be on the caravan. Our tickets were pre-arranged and we walked right by everyone else at all stages of the experience.) Our driver, Bruce, did a great job of explaining the whole glacier event, from conception to melt off. The bus we used was built in Calgary and was powered by a Detroit diesel engine of only 200+ hp. As he explained it, "It’s all in the transmission."
After we reached the Whistler Campground and got settled in our staff provided a Hot Dog Roast Social with drinks and snacks which was enjoyed by all
Tuesday morning we moved to the nearby Whistler Tramway and were carried to the top of the mountain for “Breakfast with a View”. From the altitude of 7000+ ft we had gorgeous views of Jasper and the surrounding area including Mt. Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. The rest of the day was free to use as we pleased so we took a couple of hours to check out the town of Jasper. Donna got a one hour internet fix and I found a used bookstore to replenish my library. Next we reentered the park and drove up to Mt. Edith Cavell, a rugged glacier capped peak named after a WWI British heroine. We then continued down 93A to Athabasca Falls which was extremely wild with the water levels as high as they are. We saw one black bear lying behind a log on the trip; however, Erich saw and photographed a caribou and Ron saw a grizzly bear along 93. We ended the day with another social.
Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning we had a line of storms go through that knocked out power for about two hours. However, by the time we started our day at 10:00 the sun was coming out and things looked good. We were picked up by a bus to take us to Maligne Canyon and then on to Maligne Lake