Published: July 9th 2012July 5th 2012
DAY 7: THURSDAY, JULY 5: Our day started out rather exciting...a trip to the doctor. Maggie has had a fever and we were misled to believe you can call your doctor in the US and have a prescription transferred to Canada. So off to the doc she went before we got any further into this trip. After all that, we were really on our way out of Banff and on the road to Jasper at 1:00pm. The route we took was HWY 1 back to Lake Louise and then on HWY 93, The Icefields Parkway. It traces the continental divide and has over 100 glaciers on it. Now I read this is one of the most beautiful 140 miles in Canada. It sure lived up to its reputation. No sooner were we on the road did we pass "HERBERT LAKE"...Hi Lacey and family, how about that a lake named after you. Well, at about 2:00 it got exciting because we had our first official bear sightings. Two grizzlies and a black bear. I forgot how amazing it is to just sit and watch them up close and personal like that. The black bear was super close, in fact Hanna insisted on
Where are Maggie and Brett?
Can you find those two playing in the creeks on the Icefields Parkway?
crossing the street to get a good shot with her iPad. Aaron and I soon followed and wow, was she toO close. FEARLESS!! We picked a nice area to pull over and the kids got out to play in the low creeks, before you knew Brett was a quarter mile away, both Aaron and I had the same thought at the same time, a bear coming out the otherside of the woods. The drive continued up "Big Bend" and past Bridal Veil Falls. What amazing views of the mountains and valleys below. This was followed by Sunwapta Pass, the point between Banff and Jasper Parks and the highest point on the Icefields Parkway, 6,676ft. Seems super high, however, the two tallest mountains on the parkway are in the 10,900ft range and that won't even compare to Mt. McKinleys 23,000 and some.
Finally at 4:00 we made it to Athabasca Glacier...this is where our glacier adventure really started. We took an Ice Explorer onto the actual glacier. Now this glacier is huge, but what is crazy is we only see a little bit of the front of it, beyond it is just snow and ice. Forever. You ride on the
glacier in an ice exploer to get to the actual icefield which is 200 square km and 1000 feet deep. As tall as the Eiffel Tower. We passed an ancient forest that is over 700 years old and what was weird is the trees are very small because they only have a 60-90 day growing period and they only grow on one side because of the freezing winds that blow on the other. We also passed Double A Glacier, yes, that is its actual name. Once on the Icefield we were able to get out and walk around for about a half hour. It was about 32 degrees out there...but awesome. We took great pictures and the kids drank REAL GLACIER WATER from the little water falls that poured out. On the way down we passed Dome Glacier, this spot is cool because water flows out in every direction eventually reaching the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic oceans. I wonder how long that takes?
So, we finished the day by stopping at a campground on Honeymoon Lake. Peaceful and quiet with, of course, another great view of the snowy mountains. Maggie fell asleep as soon as we set up camp
and Aaron, Hanna and Brett walked down to the lake and watched some loons swim and dive in the lake.
Total Mileage: 167 miles
Plate Quest: Totally forgot about this today.
Wildlife Report: 2 black bears, 2 grizzlies, mountain goats, big horns and a caribou crossing sign, now we know we're far north!
Not-so-Funny: Hanna threatens to rip Brett out of the truck and beat him up in the parking lot of the Icefields Center.
There are more photos below