Week 2 Canada

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August 15th 2015
Published: August 15th 2015
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Well I can't believe another week has gone already. The saying "time flies when you're having fun" certainly is true.

After having my dummy spit last Saturday about missing the Peak to Peak and rain, we woke up to a brilliant sun-shiny day on Sunday so we walked the town square a bit. There were heaps of people around and lots of long haired, surfer type bikers in town because the Crankworx down hill mountain biking races were being held in Whistler that week. Noel and I decided to do some adrenaline stuff as well but downhill speed racing was NOT on the agenda. Instead we booked tickets to go zip lining and driving a RZR (ATV) on Cougar Mountain. WOW how good was this? Soooo good! The video we have taken of the ATV drive will need viewers to take travel sickness pills just to watch it! It was so bumpy and fast and we made our way up through the forest to a beautiful viewing area of the mountains. Next was zipping down four different lines. The longest one (my favourite) was 1.3 kms long. We were also 1 km UP from the forest floor. Scary but good scary, if you know what I mean. Dinner that night was at The Spaghetti Factory and was really YUM.

I must tell you all that Canada in general, and Whistler especially, is both run by and frequented by Australians. Nearly every person on a counter, server, assistant is Aussie. They call the place Whistralia for fun but it's pretty accurate. Even on the tramway in Jasper we had some young guys say "Aussie Aussie Aussie" so I said "Oi Oi Oi". Everyone laughed.

Monday and Tuesday was the much anticipated Rocky Mountaineer train from Whistler to Jasper. The scenery really is magical. As it turned out we had the best train. Only 1 Gold Leaf car and 1 Silver Leaf car, hence the upgrade. While Gold was full to the brim our Silver Leaf carriage only had 19 people on it. Everyone made friends with each other. We had space to move around and change seats. Our attendant was a guy named Michael and he was so funny and informative. There is practically nothing this guy has not done or a place he has not been. He really made the journey fun and fascinating. We had such a good group of people on board that we took a group photo at the end of the line in Jasper as a keepsake.

The weather stayed kind for us the next few days as well. On Wednesday we picked up a hire car and drove down to Medicine Lake and Maligne (pronounced maleen) Lake. Took a speed boat ride down Maligne Lake to Spirit Island. This is an iconic photo place seen all over the world. Google it and you'll recognize it immediately. So I ask the boat guy about finding a moose for Noel (he likes mooses???). He said they are very hard to find in the area but one had been sighted the day before near the boat quay. We decide to take a chance on a walk to Moose Lake and lo and behold we get there and standing in the water edge eating the water weeds is........... a MOOSE!. There are signs everywhere about not going less than 100 metres from a moose. There were about 20 people watching and photographing her and would you believe it she starts walking towards everyone. While I (scaredy cat) and another young boy ran away, everyone else stood their ground and she came within 10 or 12 metres of the others and Noel now has about 374 photos and videos of a moose! It was a good day. We also spotted a baby bald eagle in the nest (rare to see that too), a grown eagle flying over Maligne Lake looking for a catch, a female and bull elk with huge antlers. Now all we need to see is a bear and some whales on our cruise and our animal list is done.

Thursday the sun came out again after some rain Wednesday night so we headed up the Jasper Tramway. It's strange how I am more scared of falling in a tram, which is hooked up to massive tension wires and staunchions, than when I had a tiny little harness holding me onto a thin wire a kilometre from the ground when zipping. The views from the top of the mountain were a little disappointing because Alberta is suffering from huge wildfires at the moment and the smoke haze is impeding our views a little. Still magnificent but not clear and picturesque like you see in the photos and books.

Yesterday was our travel day down to Lake Louise. Again we were lucky to have a less than half full coach so were able to move about again to get better pictures/views. The Gods were with us again and gave us a fine coach tour to Athabasca Falls, the Athabasca Glacier, Peyto Lake, Bow Lake. Everywhere we looked was amazing. It's impossible to stop taking photos! It was so special to stand on a glacier that is tens of thousands of years old. Unfortunately our luck ran out at the end of the day with the heavens opening up when we drove into Lake Louise. The lake doesn't look quite so fantastic when it is grey. So it is now Saturday morning here and it is still rainy giving me the chance to FINALLY do this blog. We are hoping that the cloud band moves off this afternoon so we can go hike Moraine Lake and tomorrow we would like to go to the top of the mountain here to hopefully see bears and get some great views of Lake Louise.

We have been blessed so far with the weather (mostly), accommodations, activities, views, wildlife and meeting wonderful people along the way. Noel is even happy!

We send you all our love and best wishes and hope that you are all well.

Marg and Noel.

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