Banff & Lake Louise, Alberta Canada, part2

Banff & Lake Louise, Alberta Canada, part2

Since there was so much to see and the scenery was just eye watering that I was taking too many pictures to share and I decided to break the first post up into two parts.  We took a drive up north towards Jasper to the Columbia Ice Fields.  The drive was along a river with glacier fed lakes and streams, the mountains towered above the highway and several different glaciers could be seen.  At the highway stop for the Ice Fields is a local tourist trap where you can pay like $80 to get taken by bus up to a area where you board a bus that is fitted with huge tires to take you out on the ice to mill about in an contained area for a little while.  Since we did a helicopter ride to a glacier in Alaska, we took the cheap route to hike 1 KM to be 100 yards away from the glacier edge and took photos of it.  They had ropes up that said you cannot go any closer to it because you might fall into a hidden crevasse, but if you went back to the tourist trap and paid for an experienced guide, he would take out out to stand on the ice for your picture.  So this guide is to know where all these “hidden” traps are, even though they are hidden?   Smells of tourist trap to me…judging by all the tourist busses lined up it must be working..

So here are some of the photos from our trip…

This is is the Athabasca Glacier that in early 1900 was at the highway and has slowly receded several KM back up the hill, leaving behind crushed rock.. you can see the hiking path to the glacier edge below…we are not going to debate the reason other than to say, yep it has been receding for probably hundreds or years and will continue to do so until the next ice age….

Interesting snow lizard on a nearby hill, I am surprised they haven’t turned it into a paid attraction somehow…

Once you hike to the roped off area you are treated with this scary sign..

They did note that even with experts, it takes hours to remove someone and they suffer from hypothermia while waiting to get extracted… and that the last three attempts were unsuccessful.  What they don’t say is when did this actually happen?  We watched the hiking guide take a group up past the toe and walk on the side of it.  I am sure a safe area could be set up but hey, might as well get all the tourist cash when you can.  If you have never been on a glacier, then go for it.  I thought the Alaska glacier we went on was more massive and the helicopter ride to high up on it was a blast.  A short bus ride to a small area with hundreds of tourists that is not really my cup of tea…

Next up was the required early morning wake up to visit Lake Moraine.  So they close the road like at 7 am because it has a small parking lot and this forces you to pay $20 for a bus ride up and back.  Seems like a theme around here, but I am not falling for it so we got up to the checkpoint right as they were closing it, I might have missed the no left turn sign, but hey, I am a crazy American driving in Canada and their signs are different (at least that was going to be my story if I needed it).  Lucky for us there were just a few open parking spots left at 7 am, it looked like people had been camping out for hours and were just rolling out of their bed, by that I mean the back seat of their car.  We were rewarded with these sights on the hike along the lake….

Ok, so now we know why this area is so popular with the tourists, so if you decide to come in this neck of the woods in the peak season of July and August, be prepared for crowds and do things early in the day or in evenings since it is light out to 10 pm so hiding out in the afternoon is not a bad thing, naps are encouraged.

Like other places we have visited this year, we are finding out that we could spend several weeks in this area, lot to see and plenty of hikes you can do, and I suspect September would be warm enough and with a lot less crowds getting in the way….

Ok, we are off headed back to Montana, we are going to spend a few days in the Great Falls, Helena and Bozeman area before we head down to Wyoming, stay tuned and hopefully less crowds along the way.  They are really starting to get to me and I was somewhat glad to head out, everyone knows how much a people person I am.

OBTW, crossing the boarder with the neighbors was pretty easy, since we don’t have firearms, don’t carry firewood and since we live in an RV it is not like we are going to be buying a bunch of goods to bring back. All I had to declare was the multitude of bug splatter on the front of the RV that decided to cross the boarder with me…



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