Sunday, August 21, 2011

Days 54-59 Jasper National Park has the Coolest Glaciers!

We just spent several days in Jasper National Park, Alberta.
We thought Banff was beautiful but Jasper might have surpassed even that (just barely!).
We had perfect weather the week we spent in Banff.  The weather in Jasper wasn't perfect, we did experience some showers and it got pretty cold a few nights, but hey, we're not complaining.  From what we've heard it's a good summer to not be in Texas!

This was one of our first stops, called Mistaya Canyon.  There are several of these small canyons throughout Jasper where water has been carving away at the stone for thousands of years, making beautiful formations in the rocks.

Angie admiring Mistaya Canyon.

Next stop: a glacier!
This is Athabasca Glacier.  The marker shows where it was in 2000.  It's receding rapidly.

It's a short walk to get near the edge of it but you're not allowed on it without a guide because it's very dangerous. There are crevices, thin ice, and hidden streams underneath it. People have fallen thru, become trapped, and died of hypothermia before rescuers could reach them.  This was close enough for us.  The breeze blowing off the ice was frigid.  As you can probably tell we were totally unprepared for this.  We're wearing about 5 layers.

We camped for the night and the following day visited Athabasca Falls.  There was a series of about a dozen  dramatic signs describing how the "falls battle the rock".  My guess is they were written in French by a poet and then translated into English because they were very passionate.

And for good reason, look at that water pummel those rocks!

It was an "assault on our senses"

In a good way!

Angie admires an abandoned channel that the water diverted away from over time.

These are "Inuksuit" and they are EVERYWHERE.  It's an Inuit (native Canadian) word that means "likeness of a person" and the Inuit make them to show directions to travelers, warn of danger, etc.  I doubt the Inuit made all of the Inuksuit that we see, but it's a nice gesture.

Guess what?  Yep, another glacier.  This was by far our favorite, called Angel Glacier on Mt Edith Cavell.  Edith Cavell was a heroine in WW1.  She was a  British nurse that treated wounded soldiers (on both sides of the conflict) and helped 200 Allied soldiers escape.  She was executed by firing squad and became known as the "martyr nurse".  As a tribute to her courage Canada named this mountain for her.

Good information, don't go near the glacier!

This mass of ice is at the base of the glacier and breaking into little icebergs.

Angie loves glaciers!

Had some really great neighbors at our camp spot that night, Tom and Catherine.  He's British and she's Irish but they live on Vancouver Island!  Which just happens to be our next destination.  They gave us all kinds of great advice on places to go.  Here we're next to their van "Ace Vandura".  They decided to do a cross Canada (and US) roadtrip a month ago!  Took us a year to get our act together...

Party at our place!  LeTigre loves a party.  We talked so late that we had to retreat inside so we didn't disturb the mosquitos.  Tom and Catherine were nice enough to provide the vodka (that bottle didn't stand a chance) and we provided the snacks.  Next day we had breakfast together and we sold them (for a big discount) our Canadian parks pass since we no longer needed it after Jasper.  Funny how things work out.

We camped one more night in Jasper and drove west the following day into the adjacent Mt Robson Provencial Park.  Mt Robson is the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies.  It actually attracts clouds!

That's a big mountain!

Took a nearby hike up to glacier fed Kinney Lake.

Then rode back to the campsite.

This was a great campsite by the Robson River.

Can't see it in the photo but there's a river past those trees.  You'll just have to trust us.
Next up: bye bye mountains, hello ocean!

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