Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada
Jasper National Park is touted as one of the most scenic areas in the world and Dave and I were about to find out for ourselves, as the road to Jasper was open. Mount Robson, the tallest peak in Canada looked rather majestic this morning as we drove east on Route 16 toward the Park. We drove through the city of Jasper, a very quaint mountain resort area, which reminded us of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
We paid our $20 entry fee and drove south on the Icefields Parkway, Route 93. The mountains here, come in all shapes and sizes, rounded peaks, knife edges, jagged points and flat tops. The higher peaks are still snow-covered and along the roadside, flowers of all colors bloomed.
Athabasca Falls, one of our first stops, drops 40 feet through a very short, narrow canyon and the roar of the fast-falling water is deafening. A short way down the road there was a lick area where a dozen or more goats gathered, including little baby goats with their mothers. A half dozen waterfalls could be seen as we drove this scenic route, the most impressive was Sunwapta Falls. The Icefields Parkway is home to the
Highest point in Canada
Columbia Icefield which covers 241 square miles and it’s glacier fingers are exquisite.
Lake Louise was a big disappointment for us Friends have told us how beautiful this emerald green lake is, but for us it was just an overcrowded tourist spot. Between having no where to park the van to the hoards of people crowding the shore, making the lake almost impossible to see, the beauty was lost. Past Lake Louise, we enter the Banff National Park on Trans-Canada Highway 1. I realized too late that the highway did not go through the town of Banff and we missed the opportunity to see the castle there.
Abundant wildlife, more bears than we had seen in Alaska, we were told to expect. We saw goats and that was it. We did see two deer today, a buck in the morning before we entered the park and a doe just outside of Calgary. And Dave spotted a coyote before we entered the US. We arrived one day before the Calgary Stampede and decided that we didn’t want to stick around to see it. Calgary looks like one big condo city, there were condos everywhere and yet lots of open
spaces right next to them. We passed the Olympic Stadium and saw where the winter sports had been held. We decided to head for the border.
We were shocked when we came out of the Parks to absolutely flat, flat land. It was like someone hit a switch. Not a half hour before we were in the most spectacular mountains in Canada and “poof” they all disappeared into the rearview mirror. We were back on the prairie.
Dave stopped for a jug of water at a Seven Eleven and paid the outrageous price of $3.19 for 4 Liters. But because he handed them a US $10 bill, they charged him another $1.00. They take 10% of the amount that you hand them, so he only got credit for $9.00. It was the same as the campground in Haines Junction, but the lady told me up front that she was taking 10% of the hundred dollar traveler’s check I was handing her. Of course I did not pay with the traveler’s check as it would have cost me $10.00.
Going through US Customs in Piegan, MT was quick and painless. We found ourselves on the edge of the
Rocky Mountains once again, just outside of Glacier National Park, where we visited last summer. We found a campsite in Babb, on St. Mary Lake. The temperatures were in the high 80’s today and tonight the mosquitoes were ravenous.
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