Monday, October 9, 2017

Spectacular Parks Canada - 150 and counting

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 Mosaic Monday
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Linking to Outdoor Wednesday


  1. Hello, Angie. this is a beautiful park. It is great that Canada is celebrating it's 150 parks anniversary. Lake Louise is on my wish list of places to visit. Your photos are beautiful, love the cute bear too. Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

  2. I got my pass but haven't got to use it... :-(
    Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  3. Beautiful park. The Lake Louise is very inviting.

  4. I'm smiling at your enjoyment of our beautiful parks! That drive from Banff to Jasper truly is spectacular. So glad you had a bear sighting along the way!

  5. Wow, that's an amazing road trip! All those park's "goodies" are exactly the things I want to see and experience.
    Thank you for taking us with you through your beautiful pictures!

  6. What a beautiful trip -- and how perfect to post this on Canada's Thanksgiving Day.Good for you on the black bear ))... I bet your mom wasn't even surprised at how good you are at planning! I read and loved earlier post on this journey, but I'd totally missed the part about all of Canada's national parks being free this year...wish we were able to take advantage of that!! Glad you could.

  7. What a wonderful adventure - and the photos are amazing. So glad you had a grand time.

  8. Not enough wows to cover this post. What an amazing journey with so much to be wowed with. The waterfalls and lakes and bears etc. What a wonderful trip to enjoy with loved ones!

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this section of your road trip with us on Mosaic Monday this week. It brought back such happy memories of a trip the Senior Partner took along the same route over twenty years ago. It was our first time as RV'ers and we loved it. Happy days!

  10. Hi Angie
    Canada has so many beautiful national parks and it is nice they were admission free for their 150 anniversary! We've only visited Waterton, after a visit to Glacier NP, but we hope to see others one day in the future. Seeing a bear sitting by the side of the road is fun!

  11. Such a nice road trip for spectacular views of wondrous nature and wildlife. Both the hotel and the meals fit for a finale of that day. Thanks for making me excited from beginning to end.



  12. Wonderful the bear and rocks.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  13. Wow, I love the water and the layers of rock in different colors and the wildlife.... what a wonderful adventure Angie... Michelle

  14. It is so wonderful to take hikes in temperate countries, i experienced it just 2x in NZ. The vegetation and landscapes are very very different from our tropical areas, and they are all novelties for me. Thanks for the tour!

    I will also be joining the retired oldies in a year time. The difference we have is that we here do not have the benefits that our counterparts in advance countries avail, we have pension but it can not still cover the expenses associated with old age!


  15. wowee! Gorgeous country and thank you Canada. Now since you are in Montana Glacier must be next. Maybe you have already been but it is beautiful too.

  16. Gorgeous nature photograph and what sites you got to see including the beautiful wild life ~ ^_^

    (A ShutterBug Explores ~ aka (A Creative Harbor)

  17. Angie, when is the best time of the year to come to Canada? I have always had a deep seeded desire to "adventure."...:)JP

  18. Such beauty! I'm missing nature so much. And I mean real nature. This flat desert country littered with garbage just wears my soul down at times.

  19. What a fascinating part of the world! Your charming photos show off the rugged countryside so beautifully.

    1. And, I also love that the parks have been opened to everybody for the year!

  20. We have had our pass but we didn't use it. I'm glad you were able to use yours. This is a stunning part of the country and I love every time I pass through the area.


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