The Icefields Parkway was another exciting stretch on our trip. Also known as Highway #93, it connects Banff and Jasper National Parks together in one of the most scenic drives I’ve experienced. To drive it you need a National Park Pass which can be bought for varying lengths of time at checkpoints on either end of the road. We were lucky to already have one – Jasmine’s aunt had provided us with it at the beginning of our trip back in Ontario! Unluckily, there is one place to fill up gas on the Parkway, about halfway to Jasper at The Crossing Resort. Gas prices here are insane. When we were there, it was $1.80 a litre. However, it did little to detract from the beauty of the road we were travelling. Below are some photos we took on the way to our campground.
As can be seen from the Columbia Icefields Campground, (right before the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre if you’re travelling North) the Athabasca Glacier provides spectacular viewing of its receding lines. The glacier is disappearing at astonishing speeds – 16 feet per year. Over 1.5 kilometres have vanished before our eyes in the last 125 years.
Lucky for us, if you’re travelling to see it today, the Athabasca Glacier is still a behemoth. The hike from the parking lot is short and easy. Once you get onto the ridge that looks up at the glacier, it is clearly marked and safe to walk in the designated areas. Grim and somewhat creepy signage populate the area extensively. People have indeed lost their lives climbing over marked areas, unknowingly stumbling into covered crevasses that do not relinquish their grip easily. According to one sign, the last three rescue attempts were unsuccessful. These signs just added to the quiet and somewhat somber mood up there. Being surrounded by nature constantly, it is sometimes easy to take things for granted. The Athabasca Glacier proved to be a good place for reflection on just how lucky we were to be so close to such beauty.
After our visit to the Athabasca Glacier we set up camp at our site for the evening. One of our favourite campsites of the trip, ours gave us a great view of the mountains beyond. We thoroughly enjoyed the view while we cooked dinner over a campfire. As the sun set it started to rain and by the time morning came around it had turned to snow. We awoke to everything covered in a soft white blanket.
Unfortunately, Jasmine was not feeling well and we decided to cut short our trip in Jasper by a few days. We headed to Edmonton for a hotel room and recuperation. But not before snapping more photos.
More on Edmonton, Calgary, and Drumheller to come!
Adios for now,