Friday, July 25, 2008

Off to Jasper

Odometer - 3622

We left Banff and set off for Lake Louise, which according to the visitor guide, has blue-green waters set against the stark backdrop of Victoria Glacier. Wow - it was even better than I thought. The water was turquoise and the sun and mists on the peaks and glaciers was breathtaking. It was 43 degrees, so we piled on the jeans and jackets. We saw a musician by the water’s edge playing a ten-foot long Swiss horn. People were also renting canoes and kayaks to explore the lake.

After Lake Louise, we turned onto the Icefields Parkway, which National Geographic describes as one of the ten most spectacular drives. Up the road, we got out again to see Crowfoot Glacier. The bottom toe has melted, but the upper two toes are still apparent. Most of the peaks are greater than 10,000 feet. It’s a sunny day, thank goodness, because the clouds and shadows off the peaks are amazing. The rivers and lakes are all turquoise, apparently because the water picks up the powder from the rocks and this causes the blue-green color.

We spotted a stream meandering along the highway so we stopped, hiked down and stuck in our feet, wiggling our toes in the rushing water. It was freezing - I’d say about 40 degrees.

Later - We just finished hiking up to the Columbia Icefield glacier. We parked in one spot and thought we could hike in, but the directions said that if the bridge was out - water rushing over the bridge - you couldn’t cross to the glacier. So, we drove to a different spot and hiked in from there. It was incredibly, steep, windy and chilly. I’ve never been to Tibet, but that is what it felt like. What I really wanted was a yak ride to the top... Once we got there, we weren’t allowed to actually stand on the glacier because of the danger of falling into a weakened crevasse. All along the road up were plaques every so often which marked where the glacier was in 1948, 1982f and so on. The glacier has melted considerably. A sign at the top asked people to consider what they could do to decrease their environmental impact by a “tonne.” Something to definitely put into action...

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