Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wildlife At Last!

Day 5--Banff to Jasper

We found a great cafe in Banff for breakfast. Well, I thought it was great anyway (Dad, maybe not so much). I had a delicious cranberry coconut bar and hot cocoa. 

Before getting on the Icefields Parkway, we had to get to Lake Louise. Lake Louise seemed to be much smaller than Banff. We refueled the van, and continued on. Shortly after leaving Lake Louise, we came through the Entrance Station for Jasper National Park. This time there was no mistaking which lane to be in. It cost us $39 to enter the park for two days (Glacier cost us $25 for 7 days)!

Now we were on the Icefields Parkway! Surely we will see wildlife today! The first scenic stop was Lake Herbert. 
Beautiful reflection of the Canadian Rockies in Lake Herbert

Back in the car, we noticed it was starting to snow. We had already seen a dusting of snow on the ground. Apparently, it was the first snow of the season (in September???). 

As we cruised the Parkway, we were looking for wildlife. Of course, we didn't see anything. However, the scenery more than made up for the lack of animals (well...we still wanted to see some animals).
We're watching!

There were pullouts all along the way. We stopped at the Weeping Wall (it was sooooo sad).
The white steaks are waterfalls.

The colors were changing, and I also got a photo of a thistle with snow on it.

At the Columbia Icefield, we were able to get some lunch in the Columbia Centre.
 After lunch, we wanted to drive up to the Athabasca Glacier. We could see the tour busses going up the road. Turns out, we couldn't go up that road (we think the tour busses were taking the people up who were doing the snow cat tours on the glacier). We could only go to a parking area at the base of the glacier terminus. Dad and Kim stayed in the car while I hiked up the trail to get some close up photos of the glacier. 
The trail up.
At the terminus.
Beautiful blue ice.

As I was walking along the trail, I could see people walking on the glacier. They were roped up and progressing slowly along the glacier. I heard someone yell that they needed some rope. Someone had fallen in a hole or crevasse. It must not have been too bad. No one seemed too alarmed. Although, I was relatively far away.

Continuing down the road, we could see a bunch of cars pulled over and people standing and pointing cameras up. Of course we pulled over too. It was a couple of mountain goats up on the hillside!
Finally! Some wildlife!!!

Even though we saw multiple signs warning us to watch for wildlife, the two goats were it. 

We arrived in Jasper and easily found our home for the next two nights. We are literally poolside. Here is a photo.
This was taken from the door of our room.

I made a reservation for us to do a helicopter ride over the glaciers tomorrow. Got everything arranged, then asked how to get there. We have to drive back down the Icefields Parkway about 2 hours to get to the Icefields Helicopter Tours place. The weather is supposed to be good. We fly at 1:00. 

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