To stay on top of this blog thing, this post will be short and sweet, which given the length of my last one you are probably heaving a sigh of relief!
The next stop along our journey was the town of Jasper a mere 180 miles further north of Banff via the Icefields Parkway that is described on its website as “the most spectacular journey in the world”. Hard to imagine a route that could beat our last few days of travels, but it measured up pretty well. Mountains as far into the horizon as you could see, waterfalls spilling down them from the melting snow, rivers running alongside the road and pine forests teeming with wildlife. On this travel day our tour provided a stop at the Columbia Icefield Discovery Center where we hopped aboard a bus on steroids called an Ice Explorer for an excursion up to the Athabasca Glacier for a little stroll around on the ice. We learned all about terminal and lateral moraines created as the glacier moves along and saw for ourselves the crystal clear icy blue water of runoff. A bit chilly with a stiff wind blowing we were happy for our many layers of dress, hats, and ear muffs! All-in-all, an interesting experience.
Arriving to our camp later than usual because of this side trip, we set up quickly, ate dinner and settled in for the night. We are spending 2 nights here allowing for one free day. This campground is another one of Canada’s provincial parks and sits amidst the trees – lovely and quiet. This is, however, our first site without full hookups (we have electricity only), so we have to ration our water – no showers, limited dish washing, etc…
One wonderful experience at this location is that it is frequented by a small herd of elk! We saw several on our way out to sightsee and then later this evening they passed right through our camp nibbling the grass just outside our windows! Can you say awesome?!
Our free day was a rainy one but that didn’t prevent us from heading down to Athabasca Falls about ½ hour from the campground. Fortunately, we timed it perfectly to beat the heavier rain that arrived later in the day so we enjoyed leisurely wandering around this area capturing photos from the many viewpoints. From the lichen covered rock faces, roaring falls, and cloud draped mountains we once again found ourselves in a place of tremendous beauty.
Driving back into Jasper we were rewarded with another grizzly sighting though he was making tracks back into the woods before we could really get a picture of him but that’s two now and we haven’t even made it to Alaska! We nixed getting out to explore the town of Jasper because the heavens opened up so we decided to just head back to the RV and relax for the afternoon. A group meeting at 6:00 with our Wagonmasters providing clam chowder for dinner capped the day and we are off to Dawson Creek, BC – Mile 0 of the Alaskan Highway!