After leaving Banff we spent a few nights relaxing at the Chateau Lake Louise. We stopped for a picnic lunch at Moraine Lake, which truly does have turquoise water.
Once again the views were stunning.
Up the road to Lake Louise. The weather was a bit chilly and the rain coming in from the glacier kept us from going out on the lake so we finally did high tea and enjoyed the view from indoors.
Left Jasper today and took the most amazing drive on the Icefields Pkwy. The first stop was Athabasca Falls. These falls are right off the highway but quite impressive as you can see from the first picture. Stop two, Lower Sunwapta Falls and too many tourists to get any good shots. Last stop on the drive was Stanley Falls. This was by far the most fun and we had the entire trail to ourselves. In fact, we almost missed it because there are no signs or markings that lead to the trail. This trail feels remote even though its not too far from the highway. The path passes a series of 8 waterfalls. We saw this little guy, a pine marten I think, in the tree on the way up. Check out those claws.
The rest of the drive, well lets just say they call it the Icefields Parkway for a reason.
Great dinner at Saltlik and a walk around the town. Night.
Our third day in Jasper and we were off to visit our first glacier up close. We followed the trail along the ridge to Angel Glacier, which got its name because it looks like an angel spreading its wings. You can also see a picture of the melt pool and yes, where we were walking was once part of this massive glacier that is feeling the effects of warming. Next, rode the gondola up Whistler’s mountain before a steep hike up to what seemed the top of the world, Whistler’s summit. Breathtaking views and strong winds and a few marmots to keep us company. This stone structure is always there to point us in the right direction. We've seen it on almost every hike. It is a traveler's symbol and will be the symbol for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Had a relaxing day next at the hot springs.
Couldn’t resist taking a pic of Raf with Jasper the bear.
July 1 – Canada Day
Since we will not be home for the 4th of July we decided to celebrate Canada Day with the locals. We started the day in the park for pancake breakfast $2 for pancakes, sausage, coffee and OJ. You could bring your own plates; many locals did, or buy a completely biodegradable set for $1. (The utensils were made from potato, felt like plastic, and everything went right into the compost pile.)
Left the festivities in town for a quick hike to Lake Edith. This is a quiet lake that is partly residential (beautiful log homes along part of the lake). We had the trail to ourselves except for a man we stumbled upon, playing his guitar and singing. Lovely.
Tired of pubs, we opted for a bit more upscale and lucked out with Papa George’s. It was about time to go local…bison, venison, and elk. Tried them all and they were each yummy. Beautifully prepared.
Watched a bit of the fireworks at 11:15, through the drops of rain and hit the sack.
For our first hike we chose the Maligne Lakeside Loop. On the way there, we stopped at Medicine Lake. It seems we were lucky to see this lake because it disappears completely in the winter. (Aboriginal peoples called the lake Medicine because of its seemingly magical powers, and the United Nations created the Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site partly because of this unique drainage system.) On to Maligne Lake which is the largest in the Rockies. Although you can rent canoes, motorboats or take a guided cruise on the lake, we decided to do as many hikes as possible during our stay here so on our feet it was. (Those hiking boots really were a wise investment as we were to find out in the next week.) Along the lake are picnic tables tucked away among the pine and spruce trees. The trail then veers away from the lake and after a few minutes it was difficult to concentrate on anything other than the billions of mosquitoes swarming around us. This went on for about 40 minutes (we were moving pretty quickly) before the trail took us back to the beautiful lake. It seemed endless while we were in there, swatting away and wondering if this was indicative of what to expect on future hikes. Lol
We stopped on the way back for another short hike along Maligne Canyon. There are a series of bridges, which cross this incredible limestone canyon. At on point the narrow gorge drops about 160 feet where the water rushes through with great force.
Just got to Jasper and are staying at the cutest B&B. Just a block from town so it is easy to walk everywhere. The drive here was once again constantly changing and very beautiful. Finally saw Raf’s black bear (no grizzly yet) along with some elk and some bighorn sheep that had the road blocked for a good 20 minutes.