We drove north from Banff on the Icefields Parkway one of the most scenic roads in the world according to National Geographic. It has over 100 active glaciers and you can see many of them from the road. We decided to take a tour from Jasper so we could get out onto the ice. From the Icefields Center our tour bus took us up to the edge of the Athabasca Glacier and there we boarded an Ice Explorer designed specifically for driving on the glacier. There are only 28 of them in the world and 27 are here in Jasper National Park. The other one is at the Research Station at the South Pole. Our driver and guide "Super Kyle" took us at a rapid pace of 10 miles per hour, up and down a 35% grade through a tire wash, so as not to take anymore gravel onto the glacier, and past other ice buggies on our way to the parking area on the glacier. Of course we had to have pictures taken and we even found another pair of the Red Chairs. Josie filled up her water bottle with the clear and very cold water. All around us were other hanging glaciers that at one time had connected with Athabasca glacier. It was a great adventure.
The second part of our tour took us to the Glacier Skywalk. A glass bottom walkway suspended 1000 feet out over the Athabasca River George. Even if you are not afraid of heights it is a little unnerving walking when there seems to be nothing below you but air. One of our guides then pointed out a young Mountain Goat who was sitting under the superstructure of the walkway. How he or she got to such a precarious spot on this 1000 foot cliff is baffling. As we were walking back to our pick up point for the bus we saw a beautiful male Big Horn Sheep just over the guard rail. He was not bothered at all by everyone taking his picture and seemed to pose for us.
One day we went to Miette Hot Springs and enjoyed the 105 degree waters. This made up for us not being able to get into the springs at Banff. Here too we found another pair of the red chairs.
Once again I was able to enjoy a round of golf. This time at the scenic Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course.
We had a great camp site here in Jasper with beautiful views only a few steps away. We had a female Elk and her calf walk right through our site one morning. Then later in the week a herd of 45 to 50 came through one evening. The dominate male was quite a majestic looking fellow. There is a exceptional berry crop here in the mountains this year. They say since there has been so much rain, almost every night, the berries are early and plentiful. This means there has been a lot more bear activity. The bears love the Bear Berries and the Bunch Berries and we were told a bear can eat enough in one day to equal the calories there are in 400 Big Macs. There are a few cool birds also hanging around the campground, including the Oregon race of the Slate-colored Junco, Red-breasted Nuthatch and my favorite the Gray Jay.
The final day in Jasper just happened to be Josie's Birthday. So we browsed the shops in town looking for a birthday present. She picked out a nice set of Peridot earrings, which happen to be here birth stone. Later that evening we celebrated with a fine Italian dinner at the Jasper Lodge. Tomorrow we head southwest to Kamloops, British Columbia.