Fri 27th ………The trip north-west from Banff heading towards Jasper was going to be a long journey lasting some 9 hours by coach, so it was important that we were up early! However jet-lag was beginning to set-in, and a broken-night’s sleep manifested itself. However, waffles and coffee did the trick and we were out on time.
Time and coaches wait for no man, and we headed off along the Great Canadian Highway, described by National Geographic as one of their ‘Drives of a Lifetime’ ……still with some snow and cloud shrouding the hills. It is truly startling along the whole journey…
The following link gives a good idea of some bits http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNoSIkb9xEE
This area is one particularly noted for icefields, but first we stopped at Lake Louise Hotel. This incongruously- massive building is at the end of a frozen lake. We went in to look around inside but anything more than a snack would require a second mortgagae! Further along we came to the Athabasca Icefield and the Num-ti-Jah Lodges. The following shot let us see, close-up, the thickness of snow and ice at the lake.
The Columbia Icefield was more accessible by specialised motorised machines. The running commentary by the driver was excellent, but like at many such events, the facts are often forgotten but the impressions remain. It is obviously commercialised but the memories are startling. You can see the size of the equipment used, and you can imagine the terror engendered as it went over the edge of the road to go along the glacier!
Everyone wants to see bears in Canada, and Young Lady was no exception. We were warned on the next stage of the journey, that the driver might have to pull-up if cars stopped in front of us to view some bears at the side of the road…this seems to be permissible. We did, indeed, have to stop and had several good viewings of black bears.
There were other photos taken, with a variety of focus and quality, but some images looked like faked images of the Yeti, so were not worthy of reproducing here!
Northwards to the Athabasca Falls, a collection of waterfalls going through a series of gullies, at spectacular speed, and accessed by well-positioned bridges.
We took so many photos and video of this area but still could not record the total experience…you have to come to see it. Then onwards to our most northerly point…the lovely town of Jasper, and the well-disguised Chateau Jasper in in its coat of green-painted wood.
Every place where we slept we were fortunate to have great beds, and despite the continuing jet-lag problem (at least in my case), we were ready, after a hearty breakfast, for a day wandering about ‘at leisure’, as they call it……….
We discovered that there was a nature trail on one side of the town, which took you rapidly to great views over the area. This ‘rapidly’ description meant that Young Lady had to be encouraged, cajoled and almost pushed up the steep narrow path, whilst our joints complained at this abuse.
In many parts of the trail the town below was hidden by the massive trees on the hillside, but they protected us from the cool wind. The trail was used by jogger, walkers and cyclists alike, but I was pleased that everyone spoke, and especially cyclists approaced with caution and indicated their presence from behind with their bells. For some reason, in our part of the world they do not seem to see the necessity of informing you of their approach!
And so, down to town level again into a residential area to be met by the following sight….
…..who was he and what was he doing?……..watch out for the next exciting instalment!…….