Monday 29 August
By car Highway 1 towards Calgary and getting off at Canmore. Canmore is small and cute. Great spot for breakfast at a local coffee shop. A short village exploration and then into the mountains. The road passes the park info center, where we buy a day pass. Then onto gravel road 742 into Canmore Provincial Park. Beautiful drive with amazing views along the Spray Lakes and imposing rocky mountains. This continues into Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, where we have lunch at Lower Kananaskis Lake. Via the 40 back towards Banff. Along the route is Lake Minnewanka. A must. We park the car and walk to the lake. Quite touristy with the lake cruise and all. We let this pass us by and continue walking along the lake. Again beautiful green water and mountains in the background. At the bridge a sign that you are not allowed to continue from here, only with groups of at least four and bear spray. From here we walk together with a couple of French people to the viewpoint that we have in mind. We don’t see a bear, but apparently there are enough of them here. Back in the car and onto Hwy 1 to Lake Louise. We arrive here after 5 pm, on the useful advice of Marinette, and there is indeed parking space. On the lake a great view of the mountains with glaciers. Fortunately, the largest crowd has already left, but it is still quite busy. Several people canoe on the lake or paddle on a sub. Again deep blue-green water and a nice path along the lake. Unfortunately, the road to Lake Moraine is closed and the shuttle going there can no longer be booked for the next few days. A pity.
The next day directly the 1 in the direction to Lake Louise. Apparently the 1 at Golden is open again, just when we don’t need it anymore. A little further we go on the 93 through Banff National Park and then Jasper NP. We buy a day ticket for the park and continue on. First stop is Hector Lake. Then a few stops at Bow Lake, an unlikely light blue lake with snowy mountains around it. Awesome. The necessary photos later we unfortunately have to continue. A lookout on Peyto Lake soon follows. A short but steep walk. Fantastic view of very blue-green water and the glacier. Lovely to have lunch here. Along the way along the 93 also beautiful mountains and distant views. Waterfowl Lake is another point, again beautiful. We cross the Saskachwan River, take the Sunwapta Pass and then arrive at the Columbia Icefield. Park and hike up to the base of the glacier. Wonderful to see how the glaciers form on the edge of the icefield and fall over the rocks. The temperature has risen nicely and the cold of the glacier is very pleasant. We see the signs with the years where the glacier once came. At the main road around 1890 and as we get closer to the glacier signs with 1962, 1980 and last 2006. Indeed, the glacier has moved quite a bit, but apparently already from around 1900. Driving up the 93 again, a snapshot at Stutfield and a visit to Sunwapta Falls. Beautiful water feature that falls down with thunder and violence. A little further along the road the Athabasca Falls. Also impressive and very refreshing, now that it is 28°C. From here we drive on to Jasper, where we check in at the Lobstick Lodge on the edge of the village.
Wednesday, we get a muffin and orange juice in a shop and drive to Maligne Canyon. We take the short route along the Canyon and right next to the parking lot we see a beautiful gorge with fast flowing water at the bottom a 50 m down. The following bridges again give a nice view of the gorge. We decide to follow the long walk along bridge 5. Beautiful surroundings and fantastic views. Just before bridge 5 we see rafts going into the water. This looks quite challenging. At bridge 5 we have breakfast at the water in the sun. From here we take the forest path, straight up a steep climb, suffer for a while and then almost flat to the starting point. Here we take the detour upstream before we climb back into the car. Now heading west, down the Yellowhead Highway. Moose Lake is worth a photo with the beautiful reflections. A stop at the Rearguard Falls and on to Tete Jaune Cache, looks like a trailer park, turn around and head back to Jasper. An hour later, and a time zone back, on the border of Alberta and British Columbia, we are in Jasper. Go into the pool and read a book.