Icefields Parkway & Jasper National Park
Trip Start Sep 04, 2010
9Trip End Sep 13, 2010
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This was our earliest morning yet..woke up a 6AM, had a quick breakfast, then hit the road about 7AM so we would miss the Tri-Athalon crowds and road closings near our hotel. This was the first day we were on our own. Of course it was raining, again :)
Today we are riding on the Ice Fields Parkway from Banff to Jasper National Park. It was then craziest weather we have ever encountered..rain, then snow, then sun, then snow, then rain, etc. Every half hour the weather changed.
The Icefields Parkway is very scenic - some say the most scenic stretch of highway in North America. Our first stop was at Bow Lake…took a few shots but the clouds were very low
Next we stopped at Waterfowl lakes, but only stayed for a minute because it raining mixed with snow (again).
After three hours (from Banff) we made it to the Columbia Icefields. We took part in the glacier experience by riding in a snow coach. There are only 23 of these mammoth snow coaches in the world, 22 at the Columbia Ice Fields and one in Antarctica! They cost about 1.5 million per vehicle and the tires are enormous. It takes about 20 minutes to get up to the area of the glacier where it is safe to get out and walk around, this part of the glacier is about 1000 feet thick! The good news was it stopped raining while were were walking on the glacier.
After leaving the Columbia IceFields, we pulled over to a scenic vista and had lunch
After an hour we stopped at Sunwapta Falls where the Sunwapta River plummets into a canyon and gorge. They had a nice footbridge over the gorge for viewing the both the canyon and the waterfall.
Our last stop was at Athabasca Falls, where the Athabasca River, flowing from the Columbia Icefield, flows into a gorge and waterfall. Another beautiful fall and gorge and it didn't rain until we left :)
We reached our hotel in Japser around 3PM, after checking in we were off again exploring the sights in Jasper National Park. Our first stop was at Maligne Canyon which was about 20 minutes from the town of Jasper. Then we drove to Medicine Lake, Edith Lake, and Annette lake. We encountered some Caribou wandering around Edith Lake!
After exploring for about three hours we drove back to town and walked around for a couple of hours to do some shopping and take in the sights of Jasper. We ended the night with dinner at Papa George's on the main boulevard. Bob tried elk tenderloin which was delicious and Bonnie had the risotto.