Monday, September 13, 2010

Another Day, a few more mountains, and a lot of ice

Saturday morning we woke to low clouds, flatlanders call it fog, but at these elevations it is just the fact that you are in the clouds rather below them. We had suspected that today was not going to be a stellar weather day so chose to do the southern half of the Icefields Parkway yesterday and head up towards Jasper today. That way if the weather didn’t cooperate Gina and Brenda could at least spend some time perusing the goods in the shops in Jasper. Our first 50 miles or so was low cloud and rain and the mountains were obscured. When we arrived at our first destination the Columbia Icefields we could have missed the glacier but soon it cleared up a little.

Icefield Parkway - Columbia Icefields-1

Once we got to the Icefields Centre Rollie and Gina decided they were going to treat us to a glacier tour. Now I had been out on the glacier as a kid but not for a veeeeerrrrrry long time. In fact I think this museum piece was the transportation then.

Icefields Parkway - Bombardier-1

Now this fine blue piece of equipment was the interim transportation but I think I missed that era entirely or at least never took a spin in them but from all reports they were a victim of their lack of suspension and in the summer all those windows could raise the heat to somewhat uncomfortable levels, in fact their informal name is “shake and bake” amongst the tour guides.

Icefields Parkway - Shake and Bake R1-1 

Nowadays things are a little more modern and certainly a whole lot more comfortable than the old yellow “crummies”. They even have a fancy new name “Ice Explorer” and there are only 22 in the world, 21 here on the Icefields, and 1 in Antarctica at the American base there.

Icefields Parkway - Athabasca Glacier-1

That is the Icefields Centre you can see in the distance behind the Ice Explorer. And the picture below of the four of us was taken out on the Athabasca Glacier.

Icefields Parkway - Athabasca Glacier-2

Hopefully these photos will help those of you who are suffering through the high temperature elsewhere to weather the storm. Winter is coming in fact here on the glacier it never really leaves.

And speaking of leaves above are some shots of the colourful vegetation that grows near the glaciers. We were hoping to see a little wildlife on our trip today and this nanny and kid Mountain Goats were pretty accommodating when it came to getting photos.

Icefield Parkway - Goat-1

Gina had never seen a moose either so we were hoping to see one of them but this guy below is as close as we could come to helping her realize that dream, but not everyday do you get to see a Canadian Moose and a Mountie in his red serge all in the same photo.

Icefields Parkway - Moose-1

Now once our Glacier experience was over, by the way thanks for that Rollie and Gina, we were off to continue our journey northward towards Jasper. The weather started cooperating with us and we actually got to see some of the pretty country we were traveling through.

And never fear the girls did get in a little souvenir shopping once we got to Jasper.

Icefields Parkway - Shopping-1

We certainly enjoyed our Mountain Getaway and all the more so because of the company we had to share it with. Rollie and Gina thanks for giving us the right excuse to wander and visit all these sights that in our usual travels are just bypassed and if not forgotten at least put off for another trip. To see the great photo’s that Gina and Rollie took pop by their blog.


  1. I got to ride in one of those crummies when I was about 12 years old. What a memory!

  2. You and I might have been on the same one Rod.

  3. JB, send me your email address

  4. Oh gosh what a spectacular area! I put that down on our list of places to see. Sure am enjoying your journey----

    Karen and Steve
    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  5. I was only in Jasper once & it was back about 1974. Got socked in for two days due to weather & never ever did see any of the surrounding mountain scenery. Have always wanted to return to that whole Banff & Jasper area to get in some quality scenery time but with this darn Snow Bird routine we're not likely to make it. There is a fellow by the name of Ivan (Roadtrip 2010) in our, 'Blogs We Follow' & he is a Park Ranger in the Banff/Jasper area. We met him at the ranch last winter. I'll bet you would find his blog interesting. He's had a couple posts recently about bear tracking on horseback......... Your blog had dropped off our sidebar list but I have you back on again:))