May 29 – Jasper, Alberta Canada


Heading north to Jasper NP but we have a lot to see in-between there. We are traveling the Columbia Icefields Parkway and it is supposed to be the most scenic drive in the world. I believe it though I haven’t been around the world. This drive is much more than I can describe.

It’s a two lane road through the Rockies. I was wondering why these last few days have been so spectacular and realized that in America we seem to cross the Rockies, but this trip we are riding parallel with the Rockies and feel like we are in the midst of them. They are on both sides of us and we are so close to them and they extend so high in the sky.

First stop was a view point – we don’t stop at them all but every now and then. For a break and a view. Still impressed with all the snow but we are at an elevation over 6800 feet.

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Second stop was Mistaya Canyon.

 

Brenda as you know always offers to take a family’s picture and often they ask if they can take ours. So here is ours.DSC_0047

Had to stop for the black bear crossing the road (behind me). He went under the guardrail. Brenda did make the comment that I had gotten close to the bear (about 10 feet) and wasn’t I scared? I told her that there was a guard rail between me and the bear and as an engineer I know how strong those guard rails are – right!

Third stop was the weeping wall – with all that snow melt it makes for a beautiful backdrop.

Fourth stop was another viewing site after we had climbed over the pass and Mt. Athabasca.

Fifth stop was the Columbia Icefields Centre. A lot of people in the area. I guess the highlight is the ride on the massive Ice Explorer onto the surface of the Athabasca Glacier. And later to walk along the glass-floored Glacier Skywalk at the cliff’s edge. We skipped both and are waiting to do that in Alaska.

Did see the movie that had no spoken words (I guess with all the countries that visit this place, language would be a problem) but the main point was the power of the glaciers and the disappearance of the same – how sad. In fact, the glacier had many years before extended across the road but now has retreated a distance back.

Then we saw some Big Horn Sheep on the side of the road and stopped as they posed. Saw 3 more later. First time I got a rear view mirror picture. They also proceeded to come right up next to the coach.

Arrived at Whistler’s Campground (within NP) so we only have electric and will need to dump after we leave. Big trees and no SAT again. We are learning to survive on our movie database (hard drive) that has 500 movies.IMG_3240

A few elk were wondering around. We were warned not to get to close as they are calving and can get nervous and dangerous.

Tuesday woke up to warmer weather and no TV (I record Today show to catch up on the world’s turmoil). So we talked to each other.

Time to explore, but first we need to see if we can change the time for the Sky Tram (that Deidre and Amanda and family bought for us) to an earlier date. The change was fine for today at 1:06 (tomorrow it is supposed to rain – again the idea to be flexible).

Then to the Jasper NP Visitor’s Center (as usual) and get our stamp and any maps we need for hiking – oh we have become big hikers in these last few NP, as that is all there is to do and a lot of people are doing it. And it’s good for you. Jasper NP was created in 1930.

Then walked downtown (smaller town than Banff but still lots of stores and restaurants).

Saw our first totem pole and understand there will be many more.

Up to the Sky Tram for our ride. Oh what a view. The rise from the lower station to top was 1005 m. Then it was 200 m to the top of the mountain from the upper station.

The temp was cooler and the winds were blowing. Didn’t make the top but we got close to the top of Whistlers mountain.

Then home and picked up the dogs and headed over to Valley of the 5 lakes. Thought it would be a small intimate hike but it wasn’t an easy route (as the guy on the Sky Tram told us). It had lots of hills and winding paths.

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One hiker told us to avoid path 9A as there was a mother bear and her cubs along the trail. We went that way anyway (with trepidation and fear) but never did see the bears. The five lakes (which are glacier filled lakes) were beautiful.

We met a couple from Georgia (they were struggling on the trail as much as we) who were headed to Alaska and had a good conversation.

Have to mention that it creeped up on us but it is now daylight until 10:40 PM. When walking the dogs you don’t need the flashlight – how cool!

Trails are well marked here in Canada.

Wednesday was a little cooler but not cold. Headed out to hike and help Brenda finish her Xplorers book.

First stop Edith Lake and the red chairs. It even had sandy beaches that the dogs loved to run through.

Second stop was Maligne Canyon View Point. The canyon cuts a 165 foot gorge through the solid limestone rock of the Rockies.

Third stop was Fifth Bridge in the canyon.

Fourth stop was up to Pyramid Lake. We hiked about mile to the red chairs and oh was it worth it.

DSC_0066Foggy up in mountain heights.DSC_0127

Fifth stop was the Ranger’s office and Brenda discussing her book and getting her dog tag.

Final stop was Jasper Brewing Company. Met a couple from Edmonton who come this way to camp and enjoy the scenery. Good discussion about the differences and good points between Canada and USA. Did you know that next year Canada will become a “green” (marijuana) country – it will be legal all over the country and they do like country music in this area?

Our French word this time.IMG_3241

Thursday is off to Hinton, Canada for an RV repair.

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