Thursday, August 23, 2012

Jasper and Banff National Parks

By August 20th we had made it to just outside the National Park.  We stopped at an Info Center and view Mt Robson.
Mt Robson highest point in the canadian rockies
We stayed at a British Columbia Provincial Park, Lucerne, next to Whitney Lake. We had a lovely spot overlooking the lake. It looked like berry picking to me so I took my baggie and went on the hunt. I found low bush cranberries and then a huge bush of gooseberries.

 William came to help and we also found huckleberries and high bush cranberries. 
William with a handful of gooseberries
We also found the ubiquitous snake berries, deadly poison, and soap berries, an acquired taste. We met some people from Edmonton who told us where the beach was. William braved the cold water and went swimming. I just waded. 

 The train track is on the far edge of the lake.
A Canadian National Passenger train

 A black cloud was heading our way so we went back to the RV and arrived just before the deluge. The rain was short and we still were able to have a campfire. I saw a few more berries. Raspberries made a lovely before dinner snack. The other berries I cooked into a sauce for dessert.
Off we go on the Yellowhead Highway on toward Jasper.
 Then the fee station. We were not expecting a park entry fee here. We thought the fee would be after we entered the Icefield Highway. The fee is not cheap. Senior rate is $8.30 per person per day that you plan to be in the park. We would have bought Discovery Passes in Dawson City if we had known. Kind of a downer way to start our visit. When we visited Jasper in 1968 there was no park fee. The lady at the Jasper Museum said there were plans to raise the fees by quite a bit. I also found out that the Raven Totem pole, that I remember from 1968, was sent back to the village on the coast where it was carved because it was deteriorating. The village carved a new totem called two brothers and it stands in place of the old one.
The new two brothers totem pole
William at lunch. His beer is named after Bullet Nosed Betty.

William in front of Bullet Nosed Betty
We took the poorly marked old highway 93A all the way down to Athabaska Falls. Very impressive. Lots of water moving here from the Columbia Icefields all the way to the Arctic Ocean.
 Athabaska Falls

 We are camped tonight next to the Athabasca River. We sat next to the river a while until a black cloud started moving toward us. Drat the Rockies. No berries except snake berries and soap berries at this campsite. Lots of mushrooms, but I need to take a class. One mushroom looked just like oyster mushrooms. We met a bicycle rider who has been riding for two months from Quebec City.
The Icefield Highway to Lake Louise.
William remembers a lot more snow on the peaks when we were here in July of 1968. We stopped at the Icefield Centre, but did not do what most people were doing and that was buy a ticket on a huge bus to go up and drive on the glacier.
The view from the Icefield Centre
 In '68 there was a much smaller center near the glacier and we bought a ticket to ride on the glacier in a snow cat. This visit we parked in the place to hike to the glacier. The toe of the glacier was about at the current parking lot in '68 and the hike up to the glacier is quite an uphill slog.

At the   Athabaska Glacier

The trail was steep

Now we are driving to Lake Louise. We don't have campground reservations and it looks to be close as to whether we will get a spot.
When we arrive at the campground there is a line and the board notice says full. But we stay in line and are given a spot in the tent campground since we are small. We go over to check out the spot and it is really not level. But the spot next door is level and looks unoccupied. So we head back to the registration office and are able to trade. Great!
We head over to Lake Louise to hike the edge of the lake to replicate our '68 trip. We even found a parking place in the crowded parking lot.
When we walked over to the hotel and looked out at the glacier we saw what we thought was a waterfall coming from the glacier. Then we heard a loud boom and saw no waterfall. Then right away we saw a larger fall and then a louder boom. The glacier was calving at the edge of a cliff.
Victoria Glacier is much smaller and is now a hanging glacier.

The path to the head of the lake was a huge 8 foot wide semi paved path crowded with people when we remember a small forest path.

 We did walk all the way to the end of the lake and saw some rock climbers scaling the vertical cliffs, No big begging marmot this time, just a fair sized begging chipmunk.

We stopped for a beer in the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel saloon. The patio has a pair of beggar birds. Clark's Nutcrackers.
Me at the  Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel saloon 

 Clark's Nutcracker

We wondered around in the hotel for a while before heading back to camp.
On the road to Banff. I wonder if the wildlife corridors are effective.

The Hudson's Bay Company since 1670

The Garden of Time looking back at downtown Banff

We admired the burl birch bridges in the garden
Lunch at the Maple Leaf Grill
And now a rush job on this blog at the local library.


Carolyn Rondthaler said...

Hi Margaret and Bill

I have been following your blog, but haven't posted comments. I see that you are now on the way home. What a big trip, and what a wonderful thing to have documented it on your blog. I am impressed. I love Lake Louise and the Banff beautiful. Thanks for sharing your travels. I have been pretty much stuck in Portland this Summer. One trip to California to move Jen from Fair Oaks to Paso Robles.

Mimi said...

We will be in the USA tomorrow, 8/26, and home by 9/1. Glad you enjoyed our travels.