The Wow Factor Icefield Parkway- Canada Day 25

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Day 25 Banff to Jasper Tuesday 12th May 2015

After a pleasant night at the Banff International and several calls from the bus operator SunDog Tours trying to determine which Banff International we were in. We met our driver Harry,a guy our age.

It was quickly established that Mel had been right in suggesting that we go with a small operator rather than the super operator Brewster’s which carts around 50 passengers at a time and dominates Canadian tourism news was all good as there were going to be only 2 other passengers on the bus and as we drove to Lake Louise it was obvious that Harry knew his stuff.He had been in Forestry and so he was well informed about the flora and fauna lived in Jasper so was a local who obviously loved the place.

We arrived at the Fairmont Lake Louise and he told us how to get to the lake by going through the hotel.

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We did so and my co-traveller proceeded to ham it up for my camera.

Blog25 img29The lake is famous for its green blue colour which we found out is a result of “rock flour” stone ground up by glaciers which feed the lakes.

However it is hard to see the famous colour when it is covered by snow and ice but that did not inhibit my friend in any way.
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On arriving back at the bus we met our fellow travellers.Not only were they Kiwis but they came from Auckland near where Mel grew up and in fact had gone to the same school.Bruce and Judy turned out to be good company not only on this trip but we also caught up with them several times at the Fairmont in Jasper.

The trip was boringly beautiful- the Icefield Parkway is claimed as “the most beautiful road in the world” and goes for about 200kms. It lived up to it’s reputation.

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Lake Peyto

 

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About half way through the drive we turned into the Brewster owned Glacier Centre from where they run big-arse buses onto the Columbia Icefield. We both had qualms about this but were assured by Harry that it was worth doing and well managed.Well it was an adventure but I still have qualms about them doing this (and us supporting it) when they admit the glacier is receding.

Our Kiwi colleagues went on the Glacier Experience which included a “skywalk’ glass balcony overlooking the valley. Didn’t feel we had missed anything.

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Mel checking the glacier with BAB is the background.

 

 

 

blog25 image-40The lip of the Columbia Ice Field

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A view of a another glacier lip taken from the Icefield.

 

Moved on down the Parkway and stopped at the Athabasca falls.

Blog25 image-43 blog25 image-44Then headed on the final leg to Jasper observing long horned sheep and a  Black Bear along the way-much excitement.

Drive into Jasper which looks like a typical ski type of tourist trap and through to the Fairmont Jasper where we and the Kiwis are staying.

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Map of the Fairmont Jasper

As previously mentioned we have snared a “sweet deal” having fossicked through the internet and landed a seniors rate.We figured that this might mean we were going to be sent to Siberia-and relatively we were-see map below with circle.But we were mollified by the fact that we had a room in the Bing Crosby cabin which allowed me to sing “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas” to the young bag person and my beloved.

Blog25 image-46We met up with the kiwis and had dinner in the Emerald lounge out on the balcony in the building you can see above. Food crap,company excellent,and lovely view.

After dinner waiter dashes into the bar and announces “Northern Lights”. Mel races after him proclaiming “its top of my bucket list”!She ends up near our cabin lying on the grass staring heavenward oohhing and ahhing as the lights shift and twist through the night sky.So smitten is she with the display that I have to point out to her the elk about a metre away munching on grass and ignoring the lights.

Link to the Photo Gallery

 

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