Ice, ice baby!
Today was the long drive from Jasper to Banff down the Icefields Parkway which is a summer only road that links the two towns. No lorries allowed so it is a nice relaxing trip through the Rockies.
At this time of year the snow is melting away giving extra water to the water falls which gives them more force and makes them even more spectacular than normal. The first stop of the day was the Athabasca and Sunwapta Falls which allowed me to blow quite a few Mb on my cameras memory card.
As good as these were they were just the warm-up act to the main event of the day - the Athabasca Glacier in the Columbia Icefields.
The glacier opened to the public in 1939 and special ice coaches take you up onto the the mid section of the glacier. From here you can watch pillocks ignore the advice of Parks Canada and leave the bus parking area and climb up onto the main section of the glacier. This section is full of un-mapped crevasses, so with loads of morons stomping around it is only a matter of time before someone vanishes. Sadly no-one did on our visit.
The glacier is fantastic and blows you away but you also get a overwhelming sense of guilt - should I be on it? The glacier has been in retreat since the 1890s and I can't help thinking that driving hundreds of tourists up it six months of the year (a bus goes up every 15 minutes in the summer) isn't helping. I'm not going to go all Coldplay on you and talk about carbon offsetting my holiday but it does make you think that unless we make changes these things will no longer be around. There must be a better way, albeit less spectacular to view the glacier? Or is it doomed by events elsewhere?
View more of our images on the glacier.
After a good few hours around the glacier we continued off down the Icefields Parkway over the Saskatchewen river crossing stopping off at Bow Lake for more pictures of water, trees and mountains!!!
On the final section of the drive into Banff we finally got to see a Black Bear!!!! I want one they look so cute!!!!
Quick tour of Banff to get our bearings and discovered that it's just a bigger version of Jasper and then to our hotel for the next few nights, the Rundlestone Lodge.
Burger, Beer and bed - sorted!