Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wed, Aug 12: On the Road to Jasper National Park, Jasper, Alberta, Canada

Dick is up at 8:00AM and is feeling better despite still having a cough and runny nose. Hopefully, this will pass soon. Carolyn is up not too much later and asks Dick if he heard the noises around the rig last night and felt the bumps against the rig. He says yes but thought he was dreaming it...NO!

Carolyn fixes a breakfast of eggs, sausage and sweetroll and we eat outside as the sun is now out and we have a pretty view.

Carolyn finds some animal tracks around the rig, Jack says he is ready to go home now!
We pack up the rig and head to the dump and water supply before we head up the Icefield Parkway to Jasper. We have another night of camping with only electricity tonight in Jasper.
The Icefields parkway is a spectacular drivealong the Bow River valley formed by the melt waters of groups of glaciers. Then it climbs steadilyto the Columbia Icefields and drops quickly to the Sunwapta River valley. The first site to bring us to an abrupt halt is Herbert Lakewith its fabulous reflection of the surrounding mountains.An hour later we have gone only 25 is about a 150 mile drive, but it is evidently going to be a long day! We stop to check out Crowfoot Glacier;it looks like a bird foot but has lost most of one of its three toes in recent years: Bow Lakeand Glacier;Waterfowl lake;Saskatchewan River Crossingand Glacier; up and over Sunwapta Passwhere we stop to check out Bridal Veil Fallsand have a lunch break.

At this point the temperature falls and the glacier's weather effect kicks in with low clouds, mixed snow and rain. When we get to the Vistors Center at Athabasca Glacier it is raining in earnest. The glacier is very close to the road and you can actually take busses from the center for a walk on the Glacier. Having done this in the bright sunshine in Alaska, we have no desire to even bare the cold rain to hike to the vistor center today. The parking lot is packed. In my opinion this is the least attractive part of the Parkway, glaciers look very dirtly up close!

We head back down

into the Sunwapta River valley at a dizzing rate past more nice scenesand drop out of the rain. About 25 miles from Jasper, the highway joins the Athabasca River and we stop to explore the Athabasca Falls. We get to the campground entrance about 3:30PM to join a long line of moterhomes and campers waiting to check into the park campgrounds. It takes about an hour to get our assigned spot and get the rig set up. The site is very prettyso we set out the chairs and table before heading into townto check out some tourist shops...we are looking for a copy of the neat bear warning sign we keep seeing.No luck on the sign, but we buy a pizza for dinner and go back to the rig and enjoy the evening outside.

Night comes late here so we give up and go to bed in the dusk.

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