Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Wow what a Day!

We thought we had been seeing some amazing scenery in the Prairies and Northern Ontario. And we had. Places like Kakabeka Falls just north of Thunder Bay, Winnipeg’s great city parks like at The Forks, Saskatchewan’s Cypress Provincial Park, and Alberta’s Brooks Provincial Park, to name a few, have all been stunningly beautiful. But today topped it all. We started off from Rocky Mountain House and traveled west through Nordegg and then into the Icefield Parkway that runs between Banff and Jasper National parks. This parkway was originally constructed (one lane to start) in the 1930’s by poor laborers using picks and shovels and paid at the rate of 20 cents per day. It opened in 1940 and has since been widened and improved. It is touted as “the highest and most spectacular road in North America” and it definitely lives up to the claim, at least as far as we know. We followed it west up to the Columbia Icefield and then all the way back down to Lake Louise. Before we ever got to the park the various stops looked over the start of the rockies and over a huge man-made lake called Abraham’s Lake. The water was relatively low which actually made for a surreality. All around where there had been more water in previous times, the shore was made up of a white surface, possibly rock or a fine gravel and it glowed. The water was that turquoise (or maybe vermillion) that we had previously only associated with the famous Lake Loiuse. It turns out that all the lakes around here are that wonderful colour. The icefields refer to the glaciers that still exist and show themselves all along the parkway at the tops of the mountains. We got to walk up to one of them. Chris has always been fascinated by how the glaciers came and went in our home province. Here we could see the actual moraines of gravel that were left by the glacier each time it advanced and retreated. There are signposts showing how far along it had been in 1908, 1924, all through the 50’s, 80’s and 90’s. If Chris was excited, Ellie was downright ecstatic! She absolutely loves snow and the mountains. She ran and rolled up and down the hill, well at least as far as her extend-a-leash would allow. Over the course of the day, we also saw a fair amount of wildlife including a coyote, a moose, a deer, and a couple of bears. Tonight we are in Banff. And since it is too expensive to stay here long (especially with a dog) we went right away up to the Banff Springs Hotel to have a look. The hotel is imaginative, expansive, and is situated in the most beautiful possible setting. We walked around comparing menus in their multiple restaurants and ended up having a light meal in their Grape Room, actually a wine bar.


Blogger Kaila said...

It sounds surreal. I'm jealous.


12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what a great trip! lucky ele.
having fun reading about it back here in the paradise of the world. miss you! zoe.

4:46 AM  

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