Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Days 47-48: Glacier National Park of Canada, British Columbia

We just spent a couple of days in Canada's Glacier National Park.
It's quite beautiful and still has a lot of glaciers (they're melting, you might have heard).  There's quite a few in Glacier USA but you have to hike to see most of them and they don't allow dogs on any of the trails so we only saw one glacier from the you see them all over the place!  Canada is also much more dog friendly and we were able to take Kipper hiking with us.

Most of the trails start at the Illecillewaet campground where we stayed.

The park was created in 1885 by recommendation of the Canadian Pacific Railway.  A lot of the Canadian National Parks are the result of their efforts.  Pretty fascinating stuff.

The railway also operated a few hotels in the mountains for tourists.  The one in Glacier N/P was called Glacier House and was open for several decades but it was eventually closed and demolished when the rail line was diverted due to multiple avalanches. 

The old grounds are super cool looking.  Just the stone foundations remain.  You can totally imagine what it looked like in the roaring 20's at the height of its popilarity    Looks like it was quite the place!

If you want to see a glacier don't delay.  This photo illustrates how much the Illecillewaet  or "Great Glacier" has receded since 1887.  It used to cover the entire mountain side.  When Glacier House was open, the toe of the glacier was only 3 km from the front door!!

This is the Asulkan Glacier. Look closely...under all that snow you can see the ice showing thru at the edges.  We did the "Glacier Crest" hike to get a closer look at a couple of them.  It was fantastic but we overestimated our abilities a little and it was a bit rough coming back down.  The hike wasn't that long but the elevation change was about 3200 feet.  The climb took it out of us and made the descent pretty tough.  Our knees were shot.

But the views were worth it!

Angie taking in the scenery.

Kipper wondering why we're stopping so much.  Although he was pretty tired too.

Luckily there was another couple at the top (with their two dogs!) so we didn't have to do a timer shot for a change.  That's the Illecillewaet Glacier behind us.

The top of the hike was a ridge between two glaciers.  The Illecillewaet and then this one, the Asulkan Glacier.

Thanks Glacier NP!

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