At last writing I was finally enjoying my first sunny morning since arriving at Lake Louise. The bright blue sky and sunshine prompted me to get out with my camera to capture what I couldn’t even see until then. The majesty of the mountains and blue sky reflected in the emerald colored lakes was spectacular! Unfortunately that was all I had time for before heading north on Icefields Parkway to Jasper National Park. (Another highly anticipated destination!)
Judging by the skies and what I knew of the parkway there was no doubt it was going to be a great day. With everything battened down and hitched up we rolled out of Lake Louise campground and headed north. Of course we had to stop again at Bow Lake, and several others along the way. The deep emerald color of these lakes comes from rock flour carried into the lake by melt-water from the glaciers.
Midway through the drive I spotted several big horn sheep beside a creek. As luck would have it there was room enough for me to pull over to watch them for a bit. While photographing them I spotted a good size ram on a ridge above me. The “he man” of the bunch no doubt. 🙂
The beauty was endless with mountains, lakes and streams… and the occasional critter… surrounding me. I can’t tell you how grateful I was for such a gorgeous day to experience this place.
Near the northern end of the parkway, before entering Jasper National Park, is the Columbia Icefield Interpretive Center. I didn’t stop there because the parking lot was rather full, but I did stop below Athabasca Glacier, one of the six major glaciers fed by the Columbia Icefield.
Just a bit farther up the road was Tangle Creek Waterfall, well worth stopping for. If I’d been able to park right in front of it I would have climbed the ladder to the top of my motorhome to get a better angle on this lovely waterfall.
Soon after, I entered Jasper National Park and made my way to Whistlers campground. Not wanting to waste the gorgeous day I settled into my campsite rather quickly and set out again with the dogs in my car… up toward the town of Jasper. First stop was the visitors center where I got the scoop on everything I should definitely not miss. (Most of this was just confirmation of what had already been suggested.) Since it was well into the afternoon I checked out the sights closer to town first. The Athabasca River runs right along the edge of town and there are no fewer than fourteen lakes in or very near town as well. The town itself is pretty cool too. A place I could easily call home.
The next morning I rolled out fairly early with map in hand. I had much to see and the weather gods were smiling on me again! While reading up on the area I discovered that Jasper is the largest National Park in the Canadian Rockies, and Mount Robson (above and below) is the highest peak (in the Canadian Rockies) at 12,972′. [Side note… Mt Robson is not actually in Jasper National Park. She’s worthy of her own! I’ll visit Mount Robson Provincial Park in the next post or two.]
First up was the roadway to Mount Edith Cavell. I’d been told there was a remarkable and very distinctive glacier there, called Angel Glacier for its shape. Unfortunately seeing it involved a hike and it was one of several areas marked on my map by the staff at the visitors center as closed due to high bear activity. Still, it was a pretty drive and… I was rewarded with another bear sighting.
The Angel Glacier was up there somewhere…
Next I drove out to Athabasca Falls. Wow. What can I say. Nature is just so amazing. After three years on the road… immersed in every kind of terrain one could imagine… it’s been reaffirmed to me over and over and over again that our mother earth is nothing short of miraculous.
Sunwapa Falls was not too far down the road, and it was every bit as stunning. You don’t have to be an adventurer to see either of these falls. Both are easily accessible. As I was leaving Sunwapta that morning busses full of tourists were pulling in.
After the falls I drove into town to scope out a good WiFi hotspot so I could get a little work done. The staff at the visitors center suggested “Lou Lou’s Breakfast and Pizza” right around the corner from them. Lou Lou’s became my office that week. I never did indulge in the pizza (although it looked and smelled marvelous!) but their breakfast and coffee were great.
After catching up with a bit of work I headed up the hill to check out Patricia and Pyramid Lakes. Clearly the “wildlife gods” were smiling on me that day as well, because I saw my second grizzly in the wild on my way up the hill! It’s almost hard to believe how ferocious grizzly’s are when you look at this one. I couldn’t help but wonder if she thought I couldn’t see her behind that little plant. 🙂
After such an amazing day I couldn’t bring myself to sifting through leftovers for dinner in my motorhome so I stopped at a local restaurant for a lite bite and glass of wine (and more WiFi.) On my way back to the campground I came upon this group in the middle of the highway. There were several more very nearby. I was amazed how long daylight lasted here! I believe it was about 10PM when I shot this.
I have so much more to share about my time in Jasper National Park, but I’ve pretty much maxed out what my self imposed allotment of images here. Please come back for more! The Jasper area was amazing, and I can’t wait to share it!!