September 17, 2012
Let’s try to keep it short today, I had two pints of beer after all.
We left Jasper after a short breakfast stop at Tim Horton’s this morning. Our destination was Lake Louise, where we are currently staying in a very nice hostel. To get from Jasper to Lake Louise (and Banff for that matter), you have to drive down the Icefield Parkway, one of the most beautiful roads through the Canadian Rockies, and by itself probably the main attraction of Jasper and Banff National Parks. The road the Edith Cavell Glacier was closed though, so we didn’t take the old 93A.
I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves. Our first stop was at the Athabasca Falls, a major tourist destination. The Falls are fed from the Athabasca Glacier, which is part of the Columbia Icefield. The glacier itself was our second stop. We drove down to a parking lot where we could hike up to the current edge of the glacier. There are so-called “snowcoaches” which drive onto the glacier, for a hefty price, completely unnecessary in our opinion. The glacier landscape was simply impressive, the scale as well as the views.
A mere kilometer after the glacier, we stopped at a parking lot and went for a 5.2km 3-hour hike up the mountain opposing the Athabasca Glacier. This hiked was advertised as giving a better view of the Athabasca and adjoining glaciers, and it didn’t disappoint. It should be noted that the hike was a little bit steep in some places, which is usually not a problem for us, but which was much more noticeable since the top was at 2.350m (total elevation for the hike was about 250m). The views we got were spectacular, and we even got a glimpse of some mountain sheep from the distance. It was a new experience for us to hike at elevations like these, and to cross the tree-line by foot.
After we finished our hike for the day we were already running kinda late, and the hour we were still missing from crossing the timezone wasn’t helping. We pushed on towards Lake Louise and only stopped once for a small picknick along a river and finally at Bow Summit, the highest pass on the Icefield Parkway (2088m), for the sheer mind-boggingly beautiful view across Lake Peyote.
Tomorrow we’ll head on to Banff, where we already booked two nights in advance, but not before doing a nice warm-up hike near Lake Louise. For those of you who still hate us: The weather was shirts-and-shorts again today, even above 2000m ;)