Icefields Parkway

by Anne

[September 14th]

The nagging thought of the possibility of ice on the road (the weather, after all, is not all that predictable of late) has sent adrenaline coursing through my veins for far too long… I have to keep reminding myself time and again, to come back to the present moment!
Finally that nagging moment arrives, and of course, there is ice only way up high…

…mesmerizing glaciers around every corner.

The long anticipated Icefields Parkway.


0019animal bridge of which there were several

Icefields Parkway, dry as bone

Crowfoot Glacier

Bow Lake [photo by Hugo]
Bow Glacier0019f0019h

The amble to Peyto Lake took us up a fairly steep path flanked by light snow, passing several very interesting information boards.
What a spectacular sight!
On the return down, I am ashamed to admit, I was attacked by a Ptarmigan; I had spotted him foraging just off the path and could not bring myself to gather up my camera and move on until he decided to help me on my way by storming me. I felt bad for hours afterward for having disturbed him in his very own territory to that extent!


Moving on up, the much anticipated Columbia Icefield (and Jasper National Park) looms ahead of us.
We are a little parched by this time so head for coffee before settling down in one of the comfortable chairs provided on the deck of the Icefield Centre, in the howling wind, to soak in the sun and the sights.


The Columbia Icefield is a surviving remnant of the thick ice mass that once mantled most of Western Canada’s mountains. Lying on a wide, elevated plateau, it is the largest icefield in the Canadian Rockies.

The Athabasca is the most-visited glacier on the North American continent. Situated across from the Icefield Centre, its ice is in continuous motion, creeping forward at the rate of several centimeters per day. Spilling from the Columbia Icefield over three giant bedrock steps, the glacier flows down the valley like a frozen, slow-moving river. Because of a warming climate, the Athabasca Glacier has been receding or melting for the last 125 years. Losing half its volume and retreating more than 1.5 kms, the shrinking glacier has left a moonscape of rocky moraines in its wake.
~ taken from:

The RIVERS! That COLOUR! It truly is a wonderland!


Next stop, Athabasca Falls:

A powerful, picturesque waterfall, Athabasca Falls is not known so much for the height of the falls (23 meters), as it is known for its force due to the large quantity of water falling into the gorge. Even on a cold morning in the fall, when river levels tend to be at their lowest, copious amounts of water flow over the falls. The river ‘falls’ over a layer of hard quartzite and through the softer limestone below carving the short gorge and a number of potholes. The falls can be safely viewed and photographed from various viewing platforms and walking trails around the falls.
~ taken from:


Tourists are a dead giveaway; you see them causing traffic obstructions wherever there is something to be seen… we are most definitely tourists!
Animals with horns like this are only seen in books after all…

0019w0019w10019w2There were no females in sight and we did keep our distance… I’m sure it was 30meters.

The awesome wonder of a day is drawing to a close and we need to find our campsite:
Another cozy spot amongst the tallest of trees.
Another fairytale river running through it.
A watering can with which to do our little bit.


Sleep comes easily this night.
On the morrow we will have to weather my miscalculation…

Thought for the day from Robert Holden:
It is because the world is so full of suffering,
that your happiness is a gift.
It is because the world is STILL so full of poverty,
that your wealth is a gift.
It is because the world can be so unfriendly,
that your smile is a gift.
It is because the world is so full of war,
that your peace of mind is a gift.
It is because the world is in such despair,
that your hope and optimism is a gift.
It is because the world is so afraid,
that your love is a gift.

~ The Happiness Project Mission Statement