Day 4 (continued):
We left the Trans Canada Highway just before Lake Louise and headed North along the Icefields Parkway toward Jasper. While a 450km drive may seem a long way to push through on holidays, the views and frequent stops en route coupled with an abundance of daylight hours made the time spent in the car insignificant. The phrase ‘OMG’ was coined our road trip ‘catch phrase’.
We stopped frequently for the photo opportunities!
Parker Ridge was earmarked as a child friendly trail to hike. Although it was only 5km return, it had around 250m of elevation so it had everyone huffing and puffing.
Lingering patches of snow caused great excitement and entertainment.
The pathway was well marked and switchbacks gave breathtaking 360′ views of the Canadian Rockies.
On reaching the top of the ridge we were rewarded with a spectacular view of the Saskatchewan Glacier.AMAZING and so accessible!
Hard to describe the beauty, it really was beyond our belief.
After scrambling back down the hill, we all climbed back in the car, once again crying out ‘OMG’ at each turn, as we journeyed further.
Much to everyone’s delight we did have our first Black Bear siting along the roadside – no photographic evidence though as we were travelling at high speed!
Next stop, Sunwapta Falls.
The falls were mighty and quite turbulent. A footbridge gave us a great perspective.
Unfortunately our photography didn’t quite capture the depth of fall or narrowness of the gorge.
We took the less beaten path to the Lower falls and of course were rewarded with more magnificent mountain peaks.
It was now quite late in the day and time to stride out so that we would arrive in Jasper at a reasonable hour.
It was approaching 8pm but who could tell?!
As we had left booking our Jasper/Banff accomodation til late, options were limited …. unless of course we paid a small fortune, lived a little like Royolty and stayed at the Fairmont (which of course we did!)
At Jasper, the Fairmont was a series of log type cabins set in parkland overlooking Lac Beauvert and surrounded by the majestic mountains in Jasper National Park. The service and dining was exemplary.
After a quick freshen up, we headed to the Main Lodge and dined at the Moose’s Nook.
Once again, we slept like babies and awoke to another beautiful day.
We were lured by the kids to explore our immediate surrounds.
The squirrels caused no end of delight. I think our behaviour was akin to a tourist in Australia spotting a kangaroo.
We stopped in the town of Jasper to restock the picnic bag, had another black bear siting (still with no photographic evidence!) and then headed out to the Maligne Canyon Trailhead.
This narrow gorge was dramatic, deep, long and very beautiful.
The trail had a plethora of amazing viewing points that let you experience the power of the water gushing through.
Again footbridges gave you unparalleled vantage points to experience the geological wonders of the Rockies Mountains.
We left the Jasper region and headed back down the Icefield Parkway – no wonder they call this one of the world’s most scenic drives …..
We had a quick stop at the powerful Athabasca Falls, but it was quite crowded so we journeyed on to Beauty Creek where we lost the tourists.
It’s hard to describe each of the different trails that we hiked because they are all have jaw dropping views of the mountains, gushing and rushing waterfalls and spectacular ridge walks.
This part of the world is truly a ‘put it on your bucket list’ must do.
Rob & I were both amazed at the stamina of the kids, particular Eliza, who at five kept pace.
While it was the height of summer and the temperature quite balmy, we all donned our coats when we walked up to the very accessible, toe of the Athabasca Glacier. We discussed things such as Continental Divides and Watersheds. Fascinating for little minds.
On the road again, and traffic was congested a little way up the road with mountain goats having right of way. Andrew was unimpressed with their confirmation!
As the day drew to a close, and with 20km of foot miles under our belt, we headed back to the car one last time and eagerly anticipated arriving at our Lake Louise accomodation.
A little more living like movie stars!
to be continued ………