Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Icefield Parkway

We arrived at the hotel this evenning to find that instead of Internet isolation we have free WIFI and free international telephone calls.
Our day started out with Weetabix or porridge for breakfast.It was then a quick look at the view point over the river before we checked out. Louise's friend who visited last year recommended the Bears Paw Bakery. It was an excellent recommendation and provided us with a fine array of provisions for lunch. A  quick visit to a gift shop then coffee and cake back in the cafe and we were off to the Icefield Parkway. The first stop that is missing from most tourist itineraries was Jasper's recycling centre where our fine collection of used beer and wine bottles were traded in for 80 cents.

30 km from Jasper we stopped at the Athabasca Falls . Photos were taken and falls admired from both sides of the river. 2,4 km further on and  the next stop was Sunwapta Falls. Lunch was taken from the picnic area above the river. It was then down to the falls for more photos and video of moving water. Whilst the ladies set off in the car in search of a gift shop they had spotted when we turned off  the main road I walked the 2 km though the woods to the Lower  Falls. It was well worth the walk. They were very impressive and could be enjoyed in piece and quiet as only a handful people made the journey.

The next 50 km were punctuated with stops to admire the views of the river  mountains and waterfalls.

Our only regret was that a lot of the mountains were in a haze caused by Forrest fires in Canada and the US.

The Glacier View Inn  has mixed reviews on Booking.com and Trip Advisor. We booked it because of its location but were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the room the friendly welcome and efficiency of the check in. We booked the  Glacier Explorer trip to take us onto the glacier. The 6 pm trip was the last of the day. A coach ferried us on the road for the first part of the journey to the transfer station  where we boarded the vehicle that took us on a 20 minute journey onto the glacier. After a little encouragement from the passengers we drove down the "steepest unpaved road in Canada".   The 6 enormous tyres guiding us safely down the moraine and on to the ice. We were then given the opportunity to walk around ,take photos and fill our water bottles from the melting glacier water.
The horn was sounded and it was either get back on board or a long walk.

We ate in the restaurant with a view over the glacier. The food was OK and  better than some of the reviews suggested. The view was excellent.

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