Canada West Day 30 - The Icefields Parkway

Tuesday, 6 June 2023 04:49

I have just enjoyed one of the most scenic roads on our planet, the Icefields Parkway from Jasper to Banff. The road climbs from Jasper following the Athabasca River with a must stop at the falls then on up to the Columbia Icefield, the largest in the Rockies with a few glaciers rolling down towards the parkway including the accessible Athabasca Glacier. The road then drops down with more glaciers to the right and down deep canyons before another small climb at Peyto Lake for one of the most spectacular views in the Rockies. One of the features that makes this road so good is that much of the road is either straight or around gentle curves allowing the driver to enjoy the scenery, the weather today helped. The headline picture is on the short hike to the toe of the Athabasca Glacier. In fact where I am standing to take the photo was under ice when mum and I were here in 1999. I will go a bit chronologically along the parkway with a stop at Athabasca Falls. There will be a video one day when I have more time! It was busy so I anticipated that despite being an out of season Monday I was not going to have the place to myself. The next photo is typical of the northern part of the parkway, that is now the Sunwapta river. The guy in the next photo was on a fools errand trying to prop up his phone on a little tripod as the glacier winds were strong. I did not wait to see the inevitable damage. Now we are at the Columbia Icefield with a few on the trail to the glacier. The close up is from about the same place as the headline image. I had thought I might take the trip up on the glacier but the queues were pretty long. I should have guessed when I had to search for a parking spot and the size of the fleet of buses that were there and arriving. I took the trip with mum all those years ago but we walked straight onto the Brewsters purpose built bus. There are markers along the way and the glacier was almost at the road in 1903. Next is a typical view of the parkway heading south and on to Peyto Lake. They have built a nice viewing platform but that does not seem to be enough for some. I’ll finish with another grab from in car and the wildlife for the day, mountain goats.