Saturday, November 13, 2010

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

Banff to Jasper via the Icefields Parkway

This was officially my favourite day on this tour.  While we knew it was going to be a long long day on the bus it has the most stops with the most awesome views.  So this morning my wonderful Salena earnt a friend for life and Free accommodation in Brisbane from me.  She handed over her baby to me and I promised to love and cherish until the end of the trip. She is a big believer in pay it forward I just haven’t worked out quite yet what mine will be.  But I am sure when I least expect it.  
Sunrise out of Starbucks 
But bye bye Banff I will be back one day.  Do you know that Banff has a strong Scottish heritage and was named after Banffshire?

Bambi as we were leaving Banff
We began the day with beautiful blue skies and seeing a deer in the car park… too bad the good weather didn’t last long. We drove up the road out of town towards Lake Louise and the weather was overcast and cold again. It was definitely not looking good for clear skies above Lake Louise. 
Yep not looking good 
I want to share (bore) you with some interesting facts we were going to be climbing to 7000 feet above sea level from 4500 ft so we would notice the difference in altitude as we go.  The Banff national park is actually the third oldest in the world while Yellowstone is the 2nd oldest while (drumroll please) Royal National Park in Sydney is the Oldest.  Also but Banff National Park was Canada’s first NP. China only has one time zone which is the only country that does because Canada has 5 and complain about the 4 we have especially during Daylight saving time.  Lake Louise is known as the lake of many fishes although we didn't get to see because it was covered in clouds.
The river by the Château  

The Victoria Glacier which we also didn’t get to see either L.  The Laggen station which is just outside of Lake Louise was the first station on the Canadian Pacific railway.  Also Dr Zhivago in part was shot at Lake Louise. The rock flower that feeds Lake Louise is said to be over 400 million years old and it is also found in the nearby lakes as well at the same age.

Looking towards the Lake...
My first view.. well what i could see anyway

We arrived at Lake Louise which was surrounded in Mist and cloud while if it wasn't Lake Louise it would be beautiful. Then the tour director says oh well this is the risk we take by coming so early because it is usually covered in fog of a morning. WTF!  Don’t tell us that!!!  Because that means you haven’t done your job properly and checked the weather or organised an alternative excursion to previous afternoon when the weather was fine.  So frustrating… this was my pinnacle thing that I had been looking forward to Lake Louise for soooo long and it was so disappointing.  
Lake Louise 

When we got there it was a very chilly -1 brrrr and I needed a toilet… which was caused by the hot chocolate from the sunrise run to Starbucks but like everything in Canada and USA nothing opens until 10am including the toilets so I had to use the bus toilet which is not always fair on the bus driver. 
A Canoe a Lake and that Lake is Lake Louise 
So went off to explore what we could in the 30mins we had at Lake Louise. Saw the interior of the Fairmont Hotel in Lake Louise and experienced the Freezing cold and the water overrun by Japanese tourists including their own film crew.  
The lake Louise boat shed 

The water was really fresh and cold – yes I tried it...  I love the glacier fed water it has an amazing taste.  I ran into Dean and Angela and she was just as devastated as I was about the fog.  While it was pretty and eerie it still wasn’t the same as the pictures and kind of killed the experience for us all.  Lake Louise is the Rockies!!!!! 
Château Lake Louise.

Anyway we took off down the road onto the Icefields Parkway.  We started seeing some of the mountains we were actually seeing the mountains in their entirety instead of half peeking out of the clouds.  While we saw them going to Canmore the night before it wasn’t the same thing as seeing this amazing sight.  Karin tried to get Salena to Stop so we could actually take photos of the mountains with blue sky and the whole of the mountains.  But we got told we were stopping in 5 mins which was a little strange because we had only been back on the bus for about 30mins.  
Stop the bus we have BLUE SKY!!!!  
So when we came around the bend we pulled over and we saw this… OMG wow… it was so pretty but everyone took forever to get off the bus so we could enjoy this awesome view as well.
Bow Lake WOW!!!!  
It was so packed with all the Japanese tour buses so I plonked myself down on the dirt and in front of everyone and got an amazing view…. 
Looking back down the parkway 
And of course amazing photos… the mirror on the lake with the snow-capped peaks was kind of perfect.  
The Mirror of Bow Lake 
It was such an amazing sight given that nature can create such beauty in the middle of nowhere.
The Mountains behind Bow Lake   
I just wish we could have more time to go actually further down away from the tourist but it was literally a 20minute break.  The views as we continued down the road were amazing and also were we were climbing in Altitude as well. On the outer edge of Bow lake we passed Tito Lodge which is a accommodation outpost . Bow Lake faces onto the bow river which has that beautiful rock flower colour.  We also passed Hector lake on the parkway it was such a scenic drive and could have spent hours there.
Winter Wonderland  
We arrived about 10mins later at our next stop.  Which had no amenities stops … because it truly was in the middle of nowhere.  But we reached our highest point for the day at 7000 feet above sea level.
the amazing blue of Peyto Lake  
We walked down this walkway in between all the Douglas fir trees covered in snow. It was winter wonderland and the experience of walking down in a Christmas wonderland was just WOW… I think that is all I said walking down was Wow WOW.  It was so beautiful and awe inspiring.  I fell in love with the beauty straight away and wish we could have been there longer again.
The beautiful blue of Peyto Lake   
I especially loved the snow covered trees. We just don’t get to see that sort of beauty in Australia and it was amazing. It was busy as because another 2 buses came in before us and then 1 more behind us.

I found this looking for another photo...  sorry for the quality ... but it was my point and shoot - so i have to say that the iphone does better video 

So it was hard to get a good spot for the photos but I got there in the end. I am pretty dam determined when I want to be hahaha.
sigh I miss it ...  even though we had a flying visit... the beauty the colours to me each photo is different
Peyto Lake is so blue because of the rock flower and the glacier river that feeds it.
Beautiful Winter Wonderland 
It was named after by Bill Peyto who was an early trail guide and trapper in the Banff area. 
There was a even higher peak apart from my excitement :) 
I think this was the point that it finally hit home that I was on the other side of the world finally see the photos that I have always gazed at and hoped and prayed one day that I would get to experience and here it was in front of me.  And I had a massive happy smile on my face.
The Observation Peak

As Frank said on the way down Amazing Awesomeness Lake and it truly was. After we dragged ourselves away from Rockies Paradise we got back on the bus and headed towards our Morning tea stop at Saskatchewan River Crossing.  As we made our way there we passed Chephren Mountain which was formerly Pyramid Lake which was 6000 ft above us which was massive and so majestic – just like the whole area really. 
Icefield parkway  
The area is actually a U Shaped Valley with Chephren, Water Fowl and Upper Water Fowl Lake which was formed by a glacier. You have to love Mother Nature as she has some amazing moments of brilliance especially in these amazing glacial valleys. The glacier that we were going to see later on at Columbia Icefields actually feeds 5 of the Glacier. Yes Mother Nature is truly beautiful amazing creature.
Saskatchewan River Crossing
We had our morning tea and Potty break was at Graveyard flats which were at Saskatchewan River Crossing and I made sure I had my photo taken with my new friend for life… the amazing Salena.  She has such a great personality and despite the enormous favour she did for me everyone on the bus has loved her.  Great sense of humour and pretty agreed with us about frank … haha
Saskatchewan Crossing - what a amazing view

As we made our way towards the icefields the mountain were just amazing and so majestic and the sheer rock faces were just jaw dropping. This was such a good day for the views that we were seeing and getting to enjoy. I think I drove Karin mad that day with the continual shutter clicking on the camera.

Afternoon blog to follow it was just too long...  :) 

1 comment:

  1. Hey sweet girl,
    Just having a little looksie. Amazing photography Eileen. Just so beautiful. Love your style and writing too.