Up and hitched before 9 am, we headed out on a very long travel day. We would be driving from Banff to northeast of Jasper, near Hinton, AB. And we were taking the Icefields Parkway, which National Geographic has named as “One of the World’s Most Spectacular Drives.” Before we got on the Parkway, we stopped at an overlook along TC1. It boasted a great valley/river view and had a nice exhibit on the wildlife over and under passes that I mentioned yesterday. As we traveled on, I managed to take a picture of an overpass.
We had to pass through a park pass check to get on the Parkway. You have to have a valid park pass, and they have periodic places to check them. It was a bit slow through this check point, and I got separated from the others. A few kilometers into the Parkway, people were stopped in the middle of the road–it was a bear jam! There was a huge black bear on the right shoulder. I didn’t get a picture of him, as I was driving. But he was very big!
Finally, I caught up with the others at another look out. This one had a glacier.
Moving on, we stopped at another lookout for more pics. There is so much to see along this road. This stop was just before arriving to the Columbia Icefields, where we would be doing a walk on the Athabasca glacier! It was a steep grade up, but the view was great.
We got to the Icefield, found the group and waited for our turn. You’re loaded on a big bus, which takes you across the street to where the giant terra buses are located. These rigs are the ones that actually drive onto the glacier. The have giagantic tires, but they are only inflated to 16 psi! The “road” we went along at one point has a 32% grade–18 degrees!!!! It’s the steepest grade traveled by commercial vehicles in the world. I had to close my eyes a few times, I won’t lie.
It was a really amazing experience. Cold, wet, but amazing.
After leaving the Icefields, we pulled over again at the Athabasca Falls. These were very powerful, that’s for sure. A beautiful sight.
Once we left the falls, it was a short drive to Jasper, but this wasn’t our final destination. We drove another 70 kilometers or so to the Jasper/Hinton KOA. It’s really close to Hinton, AB. Not so much to Jasper. Full hookups!!! But the Wifi sucks. So, I drove into Hinton on 6/19 (I honestly have no idea what day of the week it is anymore) and have been sitting in a Starbuck for hours doing these updates. Hope you liked them!