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Athabasca Glacier and Lake Louise......and my crying!

sunny 16 °C
View USA and Canada 2015 on Jochester71's travel map.

So, up and at em! We left Jasper and the only request (demand) was that we stopped at Athabasca Falls, before heading to the Columbian Icefields.
The falls were only around 200m from the carpark (which by 9.30am was almost full!) and they didn't disappoint. The water falls down beside a huge rock, leaving two falls side by side! amazing stuff, but hard to photograph with the light directly hitting the falls from the front......oh well!

we drove casually through the mountains, again, photos cannot do the scenery justice. Just a lonely drive with us, and a few thousand others, with a few thousand RV's.

The Columbian Glacier is huge, although we only see a very small portion of it. Jack loved it- hearing all about how the glacier is formed, how ice isn't the same as snow, and how it takes 3 years to compact 4 metres of snow into 1 metre of ice. It is also quite sad that they think the glacier will have retreated and disappeared in around 70 years. That's it- gone forever.

Th specially made trucks that drive you onto the ice field are amazing! Jack loved it.

As we were on there we heard a huge crack and bang, we looked up to see a small avalanche on the top of the glacier......let me say it was so loud that i looked to where the boys were.....just _02A2846.jpg_02A2844.jpg_02A2843.jpg_02A2841.jpg_02A2777.jpg_02A2762.jpg_02A2747.jpg_02A2745.jpg_02A2738.jpg_02A2708.jpgin case! In the photo all you see is the puff of ice...but believe me, it was rather scary!

We then did the Skywalk- a metal semi circle structure that literally is built on the side of a mountain. it has a glass bottom. Needless to say, i tentatively walked out, and DID NOT look down-although Jack was quite keen for me to do so!

Then it was on to the Fairmont Lake Louise. Well, lets just say the hype I had created about this place did not disappoint. The place is amazing. We discovered that so many people want to see Lake Louise (which has the hotel on its shores, but you need to drive up to look at it, and park in a carpark behind the hotel) that people were walking 2-3 kms up the hill to get to it as there weren't any parks left!

Truly stunning part of the world.
We checked in and were taken to our room-until then, i hadn't seen the lake. I was so excited to see it, but as it had been so long coming, I also didn't want to be disappointed.
Well, we weren't. It was truly spectacular- the green of the water is a sight to behold and Mick and I just sat on the balcony and watched.
So surreal.
Again, all pics on here are totally unedited......when i get home I will pretty some up!

Posted by Jochester71 06:16 Archived in Canada Tagged lake glacier louise skywalk fairmont lake_louise athabasca athabasca_glacier Comments (0)

Driving with Mr Daisy

sunny 14 °C
View USA and Canada 2015 on Jochester71's travel map.

So, an early start and we hit the road to drive from Banff to Jasper, a distance of 292 kms. Not too far, except most of the way is either 60 kph or 90 kph! BUT all good, the scenery is again uplifting and to go any faster would be disrespectful to the mountains, rivers, lakes and trees! As a side note, there would be little difficulty in finding a perfect xmas tree here.......theres literally millions. Ok, its a national park, so stealing one wouldn't be a great idea!
We took the Parkway, a road of some 59kms that actually runs beside the highway- why? because the speed limit is lower but the views are to die for. (Well, they are on the highway too but I'd done my research and this was the way we were going!) Mick was driving, he only lets me drive when I'm off to do sunrise or sunset shoots- and thats probably cause he isn't in the car, therefore he is ok with that!
I was glad that we couldn't see Lake Louise from the road, although I got teary when we got there, just super excited about heading there tomorrow. So Mick and i started making up songs about the scenery, or not. We saw signs to be aware of caribou, so we started singing Caribou, Caribou, Carra care caribou (to the tune of Peggy Sue) also Caribou, boo, boo, shake pineapple, hit a tree (or whatever the hell that song was), followed by Annies Song, followed by a heap of terribly out of tune songs, remastered to suit our trip. What is also in abundance here is the special species of people called RV people. You have never seen anything so big as some of these RV's- being hauled by F350's, RAMS or trucks! There is a very blurry shot of one......as we were driving towards it and Mick insisted i start taking pics of them! They are everywhere.....it seems whole nations go RVing! The car parks for attractions have separate parks for the RV's!!!
So far, we have pretty much managed to stay on the right hand side of the road. we still don't know what the road rules are about a 4-way or 3-way intersection, but no one has hit us so far, and we haven't hit anyone else, so we figure it is all good. Anyone who knows Mick well will also know he loves hugging the left side the road (on our frequent trips to Perth and back I always have occasion to berate him for going onto the rumble strip!!!) Well, turns out, he also does it on the other side of the bloody road too. He will be commencing road side loving therapy on our return!!! It doesn't help me relax when sometimes there's a bloody big drop off the side of the road!!!
We drove up the "Icefields Parkway" and again, we are scenic drunk! Very, very drunk on this beauty.
I had researched a fair bit and was armed with the map and the stops i wanted to photograph. We stopped at some amazing spots but the best were Peyto Lake (as recommended by the lovely lady who worked at L'Occitane at Banff!), Athabasca Glacier (we didn't stop there today, but will do so tomorrow), Bow Glacier and Mosquito Creek. Peyton Lake is the green one.....so beautiful!!!The river runs pretty much beside the road most of the way, being fed intermittently by glaciers, and it so perfectly blue or green (greener near glaciers) that photos can't do it justice. It really is to be seen to be believed. The mountains are so high, Jack is also enjoying the views!
So despite road signs warning us of animals, we haven't seen any. Basically, we've decided it is all a farce and they're extinct. Canada is merely too proud to admit it! We get to Jasper and book in to our hotel, the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. Its all set on a massive property, around a lake, and is all log cabins and buildings. Beautiful!! So, I wanted to do Maligne Lake for sunset (famous green lake) but time was not on our side and so we decided to do Pyramid Lake which was closer. We were driving along with Mr Daisy and there were a heap of cars and people with cameras. We saw an elk and there behind her was daddy or boyfriend elk! (We think it is an elk...we are a bit confused between elk, caribou and moose!) i got some great shots but then he started coming a bit close and i hot footed it to the car!!! They are so much bigger than i thought, and you certainly wouldn't come off better than him in a scrap (unless you had a gun!)
Some awesome pics ensued then I dropped the boys back to the hotel and i headed out for sunset shooting,. I had seen a lovely spot, just off the road beside the river. It was about 50 metres from the car to a beautiful cleared spot. As i was shooting I could hear a weird calling, like a weird scream. Then another one in the distance behind me. Across the river, (directly across) was an elk/moose/caribou hiding! A big male. I looked at him, the river and decided the current was strong and maybe it wouldn't be easy for him to run across it. What did unsettle me was the other one answering from the forest up behind me! I did lots of shooting, constantly watching him across the river and looking behind me to make sure another one hadn't come to visit me!!! It is probably the only time (so far) i was a little unsettled!).
Off back to the hotel, room service and another late night ready for an early start tomorrow to Lake Louise, the tour of the Athabasca Glacier and the Skywalk!

Posted by Jochester71 16:22 Archived in Canada Tagged sunset moose jasper rv elk icefields parkway caribou athabasca_glacier pyramid_lake Comments (1)

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