Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Western Canada Vacation: Day 3: Jasper

Day 3 of our vacation has now come to a close.

Yesterday we spent our time hiking to the Banff Springs Hotel and the Bow River falls.  After doing some shopping we then left Banff for Johnston Canyon.  Johnston Canyon is a popular hike in the area and rightly so.  The limestone canyon has been formed over thousands of years by the water rushing through it.  At some points the trail consists of a boardwalk that is literally attached to the side of the canyon.  The return hike to the upper falls of the canyon was 5.4 km so by the time we completed it we were quite tired. To end our day we went to a great brew pub in Canmore called the Grizzly Paw. I had an awesome amber ale.

Now on to today. Continuing the momentum from the day before we packed in another full day as we travelled from Banff to Jasper.  While only a distance of 300 km the entire journey took about 10 hours. Our first stop was going to be the famous Lake Louise but we had an unscheduled stop on our way to the Bow Valley parkway when a grizzly bear decided to walk in front of our car.  This awesome site was not enough for Shannon who proceeded to get out of the car to get closer pictures. The bear didn't care at all and as a result we got some good pictures.

Lake Louise was beautiful as expected but after going on a short hike we left since it was so crowded.  Instead we ventured on to the Icefields Parkway that would eventually take us to Jasper.  Our first stop came soon after at the Bow Lake Trail.  We spent about an hour here exploring the area around this glacier lake.  After a quick stop at Peyto Lake for a few pictures our next hike was at the Panther and Bridal Veil falls.  This hike was fun and exhilerating as we managed to find a trail that got us right behind the thunderous falls.  This stop was also particularly worthwhile as it got us away from the crowds for a while.

After a bunch more driving we finally entered Jasper National Park and soon after stopped at the Icefields Centre.  Here we decided to join all the other tourists and take the Sno-Coach right on the the Athabasca Glacier.  This was quite the experience to be standing on a glacier even if they were charging $30 for it.

Once we were finished exploring the Athabasca glacier it was 7:00 pm already and we were still at least an hour from Jasper.  Needless to say our journey from there had much less stops but we did manage to find some goats for Shannon and another waterfall for me.

Our long day finally ended just after 9:00 pm when we safely arrived in
Jasper and found our B&B for the next few days.

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