Golden memories and pristine panoramas: Golden to Jasper and Mount Robson

North America
June 11th 2019
Published: June 12th 2019
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Tuesday 11th June 2019

We set off early on Sunday morning for a day trip to Lake Louise. By the time we got to the little town of Field, along the beautiful Kicking Horse Valley, we saw a large black bear grazing at the side of the highway. Unfortunately, we were unable to stop to take his photo; but we saw him and that is what counts. Made our day and it was only 9.40 a.m.

Lake Louise is a tourist trap and there were so many tourists there (mostly Chinese and Japanese giggly girls waving selfie sticks everywhere)! We didn’t take the gondola or chairlift up the mountainside with them! It only went a short way anyway; not nearly as high and as panoramic as the magnificent ride in Golden. The Lake Louise lift does not even get above the tree line, so the likelihood of seeing grizzly bears was minimal, although they are certainly up there on that mountain. We spoke to several people who took the ride and nobody saw any bears. The ticket allowed just one return ride (as was the case in Banff) unlike in Golden where one bought a day pass, allowing as
many rides as needed. If we had been able to ride up again later, when the coach parties had gone, taking their noisy passengers with them, it might have been worth buying a ticket, but the gondola closed at 4 p.m. That is rather early for the bears to be out and about looking for supper!

One very good thing in Lake Louise is a free shuttle service. We left our car at the ski lift station and took the shuttle to the lake. The lake is beautiful but again, rammed with tourists. Well, one view of the lake is beautiful, that is standing in front of and with one’s back to the famous “Chateau” looking at the lake and the ice field beyond it. As for the “Chateau” itself, it is a very ugly building. We thought it would be smart and rather elegant (like Raffles in Singapore, which is a magnificent place to treat oneself). It isn’t at all. They serve poor coffee in polystyrene cups and over-priced snacks and cheap tacky souvenirs made in the Far East. Not impressed! We sat by the lake and got out our thermos flask and sandwiches!

Lake Louise itself is called a “village” but it has no centre, other than a busy crossroads by a shopping mall. It is just a collection of hotels.

On our way back to Golden we had hoped to see the Tekakkaw Falls but the road up there is still closed after Friday’s snow which brought down a lot of trees. We managed to get up as far as the confluence of the two rivers below the falls, the Yoho River and the Kicking Horse River. The water in the Yoho is milky white, due to glacial silt from nearby glaciers, whereas the Kicking Horse is turquoise and clear after tumbling down the cascades and rapids further up the valley. Once they meet, the river becomes the amazing opaque pale green that distinguishes the river (now just called the Kicking Horse) on the rest of its journey down the valley. It is one of the most beautiful rivers we have seen, the pale milky green contrasts so well with the rich greens of the forest and the black and white of the peaks rising on both sides. The Kicking Horse Valley really is spectacular!

Further down the valley one comes to the Emerald Lake and before it, a natural stone “bridge” sculpted by the tumbling river. A special place, revered by First Nation peoples for centuries. We thought it was pretty special too and it rounded off our busy sightseeing Sunday perfectly.

Monday 10th June 2019

We set off early again yesterday for our journey from Golden to Jasper: 315 kilometres. First off, we saw a small “Moose Deer” in the valley, bringing our total of Canadian mammals to thirteen.

Driving the “Icefields Parkway” from the Banff National Park up to Jasper National Park is rated as one of the most scenic drives in Canada, if not the world. Now, when claims like this are made, we are often disappointed. The hype sadly exceeds the reality. Not so with this drive. It is outstanding. In the South Island, New Zealand, there are views to equal these, but in much smaller quantity. The Icefields Parkway is sensational for all 233 kilometres of its length. It is also pristine, unspoilt by man-made ugly structures. Building is kept to an absolute minimum (so one needs plenty of fuel in the tank)! Words cannot describe the grandness and vastness of this mountainous glorious
land, so I won’t say any more, just let the photographs speak for themselves.

We spent nine hours driving yesterday, with so many stops to walk, photograph and soak up the surroundings, so arrived in the town of Jasper absolutely shattered. We stayed in a lovely old hotel called the Athabasca Hotel, built in 1929. Stops on the way included Herbert Lake, Bow Lake, Peyto Lake, Saskatchewan Crossing, the Icefields Centre, Sunwapta Falls and the thundering Athabasca Falls.

Today we journeyed to Mount Robson, at 3,954 metres, it is the highest peak in Canada. The top was shrouded in cloud today but we could still see the glacier below. We are now staying in a small town called Valemount, just south of the Mount Robson National Park, en route to Vancouver. We are now on Pacific Time, so one hour back, eight hours behind the UK and nine hours behind Spain.

We have driven 5,644 kilometres since leaving Toronto.

Additional photos below
Photos: 27, Displayed: 25


Animal  crossing bridgeAnimal  crossing bridge
Animal crossing bridge

Planted with grass and trees for wild animals to cross the Trans Canadian Highway
Meeting of the WatersMeeting of the Waters
Meeting of the Waters

Confluence of the Yoho and the Kicking Horse

12th June 2019
Wild roses grow in the Rockies

12th June 2019

Heady stuff
5644 Km brought you to turquoise waters, the Emerald Lake and stunning 'Icefields Parkway'. What a reward! It gets better and better. (After all those lovely Indian place names, 'Icefields Parkway' sounds strangely modern and a bit like the name of a train station for a shopping mall!). Onwards........................ Love to you both.
13th June 2019

PLace Names
Ha Ha! I know! It sounds just like a shopping mall or railway station to me too! xxxx
14th June 2019

Amazing photos
Hi Viv and John These pictures are spectacular. I think you should write a travel book with all your photos and information about the journeys you have made. The majority of people would never see these sights. Love Barb and a Dave xx
14th June 2019

Hi. Yes we are so lucky to be here. It is a fabulous country. John is so happy with his new camera and pleased you like his photos. Love to you both xxxx

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