Saturday, 15 June 2013

183 Icefields Parkway

We have had no internet for 3 days hence this large post.....

Wednesday 12th June 2013 Miles Today 340 Total 7689

Today we finally escaped from Great Falls.The wheel that I had set up the previous night was feeling good and so was I. The road to Calgary was long and arduous, being mainly motorway (Interstate) and relatively boring. But as we got closer the scenery started to improve.

Fort McLeod
Entering Calgary we went in search of either a motel or a campsite. We struggled with both and eventually found a campsite about 25km West. It was a bit disappointing as there were no facilities for lighting a fire and to be honest, that is half the fun. Still, we knuckled down and had a crap nights sleep. The site was near a motorway and it was very noisy.
Entering Calgary

Sunset from the campsite.

Thursday 13th June 2013 Miles Today 80 Total 7769

We struck camp and headed for Banff and the National Parks.

Then we arrived at the park. We were looking forward to Banff and Jasper Parks as one of the highlights of our trip.
The Banff Park Entrance

We pulled into Banff and set about looking for a campsite. We found a park sponsored one and on entry we a ranger warned us about a grizzly bear and 3 cubs that were roaming the area.
We set up the tent, nipped out for some provisions and on our return I went to collect some firewood. I may have overdone it a bit but hey, it was part of the entrance fee.

Once the fire was set the boss set about sorting the dinner out.

...and I took charge of the pyromania.

Friday 14th June 2013 Miles Today 229 Total 7998
Happy Birthday Sandy.
Another fitful nights sleep as it was very cold overnight, 3 deg C, and Karen was expecting Mrs Grizzly to come and feed her cubs on fresh human.  It was soo bad I had to wait till Ray woke up at 4am before I would go to the loo.  Designated driver and Bear fodder.
We set off just as it started to rain. Oh yes...we love the rain...not !
After the rain stopped it was normal service resumed. It hammered down and we got drenched again. I was very disappointed as this was the most scenic place I had ever seen. (I was here with the Army, road building, 37 years ago.)
Around midday the weather cleared somewhat and although still heavily overcast, it was not raining. We came upon some people taking photographs and noticed they were looking at a huge grizzly. Wohoo. Our first big bear encounter.

After this we saw some people watching these cuties at play:

We then came upon Lake Louise. A glacial lake where we had been skiing some years ago when the scenery was somewhat different.

We then set off towards the Columbia Icefields. Again the scenery was incredible and was only spoiled by the low cloud.

We had seen adverts for a tourist truck that took tours up onto the Athabasca Glacier and decided to partake. The trucks were huge 6 wheel drive people carriers with very low gearing and low pressure tyres to allow them to ride over the surface of the glacier.
Before getting on the truck we saw this little chap and you know what we are like. A Grey Jay.
The route to the glacier was on moving moraine and was of dirt as it was continually on the move.
The track up onto the glacier. As it was part of the park, there were serious restrictions as to where the vehicle and pedestrians could go.

The water was the best I have ever tasted. Seriously, it was delicious.
One of the adjacent glaciers.
One of the trucks driving onto the moving moraine.

The Hall clan, on the rocks.
Our truck with Karen and our driver Ann. She stated she had just left school and was driving this beast.

Guess where we are.
The nose of the glacier and the small lake it left behind when I receded. Also in the foreground is a sheet of ice that all the surrounding rock is sat on top of and moving with it.
In the picture above the snow capped mountain in the center is called the ‘Snow Dome’. It is the only place in North America from which the water  flows into three oceans from, the Pacific, the Atlantic and the Arctic.

A map of the icefields. In our pictures we only see the little bit that has the Truck marked on it. The  Snow Dome is also marked. It is vast. The small white patch marked Truck, was the only bit we could see.
Then it was back on the road towards Jasper to look for somewhere to stay. The scenery was just as good.

We found somewhere very nice to stay the night. After the last two nights, we needed it. This was the view from just outside out hut.

And later as it started to get dark in the other direction.  

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