Day Twenty Four: the Icefields Parkway

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.

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View along the TC1.
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Everywhere I look there are spectacular views.
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Wildlife overpass. It’s planted with trees and vegetation. You can kind of see the fence as well.

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.

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It was cloudy and drizzly at this point in the drive. But, it cleared up later.

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.

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There’s a waterfall visible just left of center.
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Our temporary tailgunners, Mike and Suzanne, were with us at this stop.
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Rory and a few of the other rigs at this pull out.

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.

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Our Terra Bus. Outside of the ones at this glacier, there are only two others, both in Antarctica. One owned by the US and the other Australia.
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The top of the glacier!
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The wheels are huge.
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Wandering around on the glacier.
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Tracker went on the glacier as well.
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Ice and rock.
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I took a picture of Wendy taking a picture
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Andromeda glacier on Mount Andromeda.

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.

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I caught a double rainbow!
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Tree along an abandoned water channel.
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The falls
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From my phone. It’s sad how many dead trees are visible in the distance–Japanese Bark Beetle damage.

 

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!

6 Replies to “Day Twenty Four: the Icefields Parkway”

  1. We missed you while you were “offline” for awhile. The wait was worth it – your pictures are AMAZING! Glad the trip is exceeding your expectations. We start ours tomorrow. Yay!

    Like

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