Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day 8 - The afternoon adventure along the Icefield Parkway - Banff to Jasper

Columbia Icefields to Jasper 

We got to the Columbia icefields which located about 100kms south from Jasper but it is officially our first stop within Jasper National Park which were so cool and beautiful.  
At Columbia Icefields 
Couldn't wait to get up there. Although there was a black Mountie bear I had to accost first …  hehe Frank took that photo.
With My new Husband  

Frank said that we would know our group name when we got there but at least we had time for a toilet break.
Looking towards Jasper  
We had a really great bus driver who drove us over to the ice explorer drop off point called Lyn. What a great personality and made it fun.
Columbia Icefields - with the Ice Explorers looking like ants 

Our driver Matt Riva on the Ice Explorer was fantastic even better than Lyn and Salena… I didn’t think that was even possible. We got to explore on the glacier and took lots of photos.
hello Matt you sexy hunky Canadian man...  I want to put you in my suitcase 

Got to cuddle a wonderfully sexy man…

My wonderful Pete.. Miss you every day

Pete just before I disfigured him. Although I still say it was his sunnies that did the damage.  We were trying to make each cold with the cold hands.
the "damage" thankfully didn't require any plastic surgery whew !! 

It was so amazing to walk on an actual glacier and always I drank the glacier water. The legend goes that if you drink glacier water that you will look 10 years younger, so we will see on that one. 
Sunflare over the Glacier Range 
But it was truly a happy experience. I took in as much as I could and just enjoyed. Lots of photos of us all and took them of all each. But this is one place I was happy to be in front of the camera instead of behind because it was truly memorable experience.
In front of the camera 

I got a great shot of Matt doing Moose ears at the other driver
Great shot of Matt doing Moose ears at the other Ice Driver  
He pointed out the glacier which sits on the continental divide which divides the rivers under the glacier 3 ways into the Artic, Pacific and Atlantic oceans which sits on top of the Dome Glacier.
Dome Glacier  
The Glacier is also the largest in North America and one of the reasons why the area was classed as a Heritage site by the United Nations which is quite rare for a National Park and the ice is as thick as the Eiffel Tower is tall. It was truly a stunning piece of nature. 
Looking at the Icefields from the bus 
.The Columbia Icefields form part of the Athabasca Glacier which we would follow to the Athabasca falls.  Surprisingly it moves every day so there are deep crevices that form quickly we got a great shot of the crevice…  Thanks Karin for that. 

The Crevice  
We had a bad driver on the way back she was so dry and boring in comparison to Lyn and Matt. When we got back we just all enjoyed lunch together and like all the tourist areas it was expensive for a sandwich drink and snack for later. It is ridiculous but I guess it is part of the way they make money.  I made a stop at the gift store and a Aussie girl served me and she was pretty much ready to head home as soon as the season closed in a about a month.
Our last view of the Columbia Icefields :(  

We made our way towards Jasper but we still had about 2 hours of driving ahead of us. It was a great afternoon but yet again coming over overcast.  I think most of us had a bit of snooze on the bus as we wound our way to Jasper and the stop at Athabasca Falls. 
The Athabasca River  
It was photo shoot time and time for the group photo.  As well as a bit of exploring but frank said no to going down to the river’s edge because of liability. I am so going back one day so I can do that. I loved the colour of the waters at the Falls they were so blue.
Athabasca Falls  
One of the group members showed me a good trick with the camera so you get the butter of the falls without too much shake. Which was perfect and I loved the shots but the falls weren't quite big enough or hidden by the rocks but they were powerful apparently they send the largest volume over the limestone rocks in the area.
The Canyon    
The beautiful blue water at the end was so picturesque especially with Rockie beach that surrounded the shore line.  I didn't want to leave.  
The shore line from the river lake that flows out of the Falls 
But we made our way to the drop off spot for the rafting excursion and got to enjoy with Pete, Jeff, Cathy, Tracey Carolyn and a few others and it was so cold but yet so beautiful as we slowly drifted down the river.
The amazing Rockies from the Athabasca River  

He pointed out Mt Edith Cavell which was shrouded in clouds (surprise surprise) and he wanted to know if any of us were going up and surprisingly there was only me and Jeff going up.
The amazing Rockies from the Athabasca River  
Can’t wait for that one as I am hoping that will be my highlight optional and he told us how it got its unique name. This is because a nurse secretly cared for the soldiers in defiance of the Nazi regime and then was killed by the Nazis when they found out what she was doing. Because a lot of the injured soldiers were Canadian they decided to name the mountain after her.
Mt Edith Cavell
He had his dog Molly along for the ride and she was so cute in her little life preserver.  But it was so peaceful but very cold on the river and I am glad I rugged up but I think I really need to buy some gloves. We got some minor rapids and they were so much fun.  We got the story about how Marilyn Monroe stayed at the cabins by the water, she got asked to leave because she was not good at obeying the ummm dress standard.  Hehe it was such a pretty area with the hanging trees falling into the river and the mountains surrounding us. 
Athabasca River 
We landed finally about a hour later and headed back into Banff and I made arrangements to go with Carolyn and Tracey for dinner so got changed almost grabbed a 2nd jacket but changed my mind at the last minute a decision I would regret later. We wandered the 30 mins into town and I got to know the girls a bit better. We saw one of the Rocky Mountaineer girls as we walked into town and she was dressed like the hosties used to be, gave us a big smile and said hi. Jasper was a friendly town…
Coming into Jasper    
It was really great to hear that people still have a strong belief in giving back with Tracey being a wise volunteer. Carolyn was on the last tour of a 4 month trip across Europe and eastern Canada through PEI and the Maritimes.
Along McNaught Drive looking towards the Jasper Township 
We found a great little pizza place but it was busy and took forever mind you the service was pretty mediocre for a business that also relies on tips. I had to go ask for more drink and she looked at me like I asked her to draw blood. She was NOT getting a tip from me.  We walked back to town and froze…  really regretted not getting that 2nd jacket but I knew I wanted to come back into town the next day and take photos through town it was so pretty.  It seemed like a lot longer walk back than what it was in town along with the fact that I was freezing.
I did my laundry when we got back. Grabbed the lappie so I wouldn’t disturb Tania and went down the laundry room which was nice and warm and toasty except when I needed a urgent toilet break and didn't want to disturb Tania so I snuck into the restaurant I would have looked a treat on those security cameras clutching my laptop my quarters and wearing my pjs… just glad none of the group spotted me. Finally made into bed about 10.30-11pm very weary after such a big day…  But what a amazing day and one I will cherish for such a long time. 

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