We are so grateful that Canada opened its parks for free this year to celebrate 150 years of its park system. As I mentioned in a previous post, we fulfilled a long-lived dream for two of my family members, and saved some bucks along the way! Thank you, Canada, on today, your Thanksgiving!
Day 2 of our summer road trip traversed the byways from Banff to Jasper, 182 miles featuring an endless progression of mountains. Pyramids, jagged knife edges, plateaus. And did I mention glaciers?
|Lake Louise with glacier at the far end|
From Lake Louise to Jasper, the road is aptly named the Icefields Parkway. It has been called one of the world's most scenic drives, because around every corner, the route offers fresh wonders - waterfalls, pristine lakes and broad sweeping valleys to ancient glaciers flowing down from rugged mountains. (Since we would be returning home on the Parkway, we chose a few stopping points in each direction to spread the wealth!) Let's start with Lake Louise.
Lake Louise was very crowded, and so we took advantage of the shuttle buses to avoid the stress of finding a parking spot. Mom was able to negotiate the short path from the shuttle stop to the lake, and boy, it was worth it!
As you can see, the clouds were hanging low, but I felt it added to the beauty of the creamy blue water.
On the Parkway once again, we noticed an RV stopped on the road ahead. Hmmm. The reason was soon apparent - a black bear on the side of the road! Major tour guide points for me!!! (Because of course I had arranged for the bear to be there.)
Our next stop, Bow Lake, was chosen for picnic tables with a view - a lake, a glacier, and if you looked closely, waterfalls emerging from the ice. It was pretty nippy for al fresco dining, but we braved it anyway.
The elephant's head plants near the stream did not seem to mind the temperature or the brooding clouds - I would like to see it all on a sunny day!
On the road again ... Mistaya Canyon entranced me just with the name. The trail to the canyon descends slowly through thick woods, and then suddenly you are looking into a deep chasm from the safety of a footbridge. Yes, worthy of the name!!!
Considering we were there in August, the water level in the canyon was eye-popping.
The goodies just kept coming - a grouping of bighorn sheep were grazing near Tangle Falls.
As if that wasn't enough, our next stop, Athabasca Falls, came on like Mistaya Canyon was just its little sister. Clearly, down through the eons, water is winning the battle over rock.
A unique aspect of Athabasca: you can walk through a set of chasms that were long ago abandoned by the river.
Our day concluded with our arrival at the Athabasca Hotel in Jasper. The Atha-B, as it has been affectionately known for decades, was built in 1929 as a replacement for an original wooden structure constructed in 1915. My Mediterranean Chicken Penne Pasta at the hotel that night was the chocolate icing on the chocolate cake of a day!
Linking to Nature Notes
Linking to Outdoor Wednesday