Today, we started for Jasper National Park. We managed to get a reservation at the Best Western in Jasper (recommended) so we decided to take one day and drive through the Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper, then tour a little of Jasper the next day and return to Banff.
We started off driving from Banff toward Jasper on the Icefields Parkway. We had two mountain passes to cross. As we approached the first, Bow Pass, the rain started changing into snow, and I wondered what this trip was going to be like. But as we crossed the pass, it didn't drop below 1 degree Centigrade, so it was still above freezing, and the weather improved as we crossed the pass. The next pass was Sunwapta Pass, the border between the parks, and the weather was fine all the way except for being a little cold, but not as cold as it was when we took the tram to the top of Lake Louise ski resort.
After crossing Sunwapta Pass, we arrived at Icefield Centre. We had lunch there, then went to the walk to the foot of the Athabasca Glacier. It is one of the largest glaciers and the one that you can walk almost to the toe. There are shuttles that will take you onto the glacier, but we didn't like the packages they offered. You could not get just the shuttle but had to also get the walkway which we didn't want, so we declined the rides and walked instead. As it turns out, this was great and we were glad that we took this way.
The walk is not far but it is a little steep in places. You walk up the path maybe a quarter mile and you are right in front of the toe of the glacier. They advise you to not go onto the glacier as you might fall through a crevasse so we walked close enough to get a good view. It is a massive thing. And it is much smaller than it was in the past thanks to global warming. There was substantial flow of water out of the glacier which you would expect since it was above freezing. The longer we stayed, the more the skies cleared and the nicer were the views of the glaciers. We also saw evidence of the glacier wearing grooves in the rocks, which were also very interesting with their colored layers of sedimentary deposits.
After walking close to the glacier, we started down the Icefields Parkway toward Jasper. Along the way, we stopped at Sunwapta Falls, then continued into Jasper. We found our motel and checked in, and explored Jasper town center. We stopped at the Jasper Brewpub and had a pint and a nice dinner. We also found a nice liquor store and got several bottles of Canadian wine. Wine there is more expensive than back in the States and I don't think Sonoma County needs to worry about being passed by better wines from Canada.
Retirement is great. We bought a travel trailer and are exploring National Parks. (Actually, we bought one and sold it and bought a second one better suited to us. It happens...) And I have time to do some woodworking projects and things around the house. And now I have gotten interested in ham radio so there goes any free time.