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May 29, 2010

Icefield's Parkway

Can God do any better than this? What gorgeous country we traveled through today!

We left Banff at 8am and decided rather than buy another park pass for the day and spend another night in the National Park that we'd drive to McBride, which is about 100 miles west of Jasper, back in British Columbia. We traveled through the Icefield's Parkway and there are so many viewpoints that we didn't get to our campground until 5pm and that's gaining an hour since we've returned to Pacific Time Zone. Long day, but well worth it!

First stop was Lake Louise. Wow....the water is a beautiful turquoise color and crystal clear. It still had a lot of ice on the surface as you can see from the pictures.  Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is just as impressive. The Lake Louise area provides habitat the female grizzly bears and therefore a "group of four" hiking rule is required. For a bear to encounter one tight group of 4 is less of a disturbance than for a bear to encounter 4 individual hikers strung out along the trail. A group of 4 is less likely to surprise a bear than individual hikers. To be a "tight" hiker, the group must stay within talking range of each other throughout the hike. Guess I won't be hiking unless I join a group!

We stopped numerous times just to take pictures, trying to capture the essence of it all - the grandeur. I can't do it justice. It's something you would have to experience first hand to understand the beauty. There are over 100 glaciers that line the Parkway's western side and they feed turquoise colored lakes and thundering waterfalls.

We only stopped at three falls: Bridal Veil Falls, where we ate a bite of lunch, Sunwapta Falls, and Athabasca Falls, which has the most powerful flow of water in the mountain parks.

Ellie at a rest stop

Bridal Veil Falls - where we had lunch

Sherri in front of the HUGE Ice Explorer at Columbia Icefields

Sunwapta Falls

Athabasca Falls

We only had one wildlife siting today and that was a small black bear by the side of the road. There were cars pulled over and we stopped but didn't stay. It wasn't until we got back on the road again that I saw it off to my left. I almost hit the brakes in the middle of the road to whip out my camera. No wonder you have to pay attention when you're driving - a lot of others have the same idea! I didn't do it - this time! I'll have to get my bear photo later in the trip!!

We're camping at Beaverview RV Park in McBride, BC. It has nice grassy pull through spaces with water and electric hook ups. We're only staying one night and then hopefully we'll make it to Prince George tomorrow.

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