After ravishing Banff National Park and Lake Louise we continued to Jasper in Alberta, Canada, where we established our base camp for part II of our trip. During our Jasper adventure we heard the boom of glaciers; experienced vertigo when we looked into bottomless canyons swirling with blue glacier water; were nearly blown off Whislter and Jeff may have gotten frostbite. We loaded into a helicopter under a double rainbow and flew to Berg Lake. We capped our adventure by hiking across the Athabasca glacier and tasting glacier water for the very first time! Clearly I’m no poet, but you get the idea.
Jasper National Park
After leaving Lake Louise and Banff National Park we drove “what some say is the most breathtaking, beautiful drives in the world.” I was so obsessed with seeing the wild bears and elk that I didn’t really appreciate the amazing beauty. My focus was on the roadside looking for wildlife. BUT after reconciling my unrealistic expectations with reality, I looked up and gasped and nearly cried when I realized how much I’d missed because of a fixation with the wildlife. From that moment forward my face was plastered against to the car window desperately trying to absorb every detail.
Let the adventure begin…. (Oh, we’ve got hundreds of pictures in our gallery!)
Columbia Ice Fields
The Columbia Ice Field was our first pull-off after leaving Banff. It is melting and will eventually be gone so go now or in the next 20 years.
There are a lot waterfalls and rivers so if you want to remember which one is which, I recommend developing a system for tagging your pictures. I’m almost 97.6% positive this is Sunwapta Falls. (My system needs a lot of work!)
Angel Glacier and Cavell Meadows
We trudged up the mountain beneath the melting wings of an angel with a halo of misquotes to a meadow barren of wildlife to be rained upon and ushered back to the parking lot along slipper rocks to be greeted by swarms of mouth breathers. Oops, sorry I lapsed, there for a minute, we hiked to Cavell Meadows where we enjoyed beautiful wildflowers while a delightful mist mositined our faces and marmots scampered around our ankles as we gazed upon the impressive Angel Glacier. (Hiking notes: Bring rain gear and GOOD bug spray!)
We stopped at Leach Lake to look for wild animals and but instead found Mount Fryatt reflected in the water. Pretty damn amazing! Thousands of tiny fish were swarming around the dock just below the surface.
I totally got Athabasca Falls and Sunwapta Falls confused in my notes.
We discovered a Nasty Habit when we returned to Jasper.
Gondola Ride to Whistler Peak
I pulled “Jasper – the 10 Premier Hikes“ by Kathy & Craig Copeland out of my day pack and read for my friends the description of this hike after the gondola ride. “Know before you go. Few people are capable of completing the Indian Ridge circuit. You might, however, make it part way up, and even that’s a worthwhile accomplishment.” Alright, several thoughts were swirling around my empty head. The first, WHY didn’t I read the hike description ahead of time? And second, what happens if you don’t make it? Do you just fall off the Peak? Is there a pile of stupid hikers at the bottom and I’m about to be added to it?
Keep in mind it was 32 degrees (0 Celsius) and Jeff is wearing shorts. Another visitor from what we believe was Germany came up and pointed at Jeff with a smile and said “Short Trousers!” with a laugh. We never let him live that one down.
A forest fire kept us from visiting trails along the Maligne River and Medicine Lake. During our third day, the trail around Maligne Canyon was opened.
Berg Lake Heli-Hike
We adventured outside of Jasper to the Mt. Robson Provincial Park to take a helicopter ride to Berg Lake. Our pilot Matt with Robson Helimagic arrived just as a double rainbow magically appeared. We hiked the Berg Lake Trail after Matt dropped us just a few meters from Berg Lake.
Athabasca Glacier Icewalk
Our final day in the Rockies was spent walking across the Athabasca Glacier. Our guide, Andy was amazing!
Don’t worry, Andy wasn’t trying to push Jeff into the delicious glacier water 🙂