Day 15 - Banff-Jasper

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It's another day of Rocky Mountains today: Castle Rock, the Crow Foot Glacier, Bow Glacier, Peyto Lake, the Columbia Icefield Parkway and a snow coach ride on the Columbia Icefield. We're already in Jasper National Park.

In the afternoon we go rafting on the Athabasca River and we end up in Jasper, where we spend the night.

Crow Foot Glacier CrowfootGlacier.JPG (92253 bytes)
PeytoLake1.JPG (64165 bytes) Peyto Lake. The beautiful blue color is caused by the very fine dust and sand from the glacier. It's so light weight that it floats in the water. All the particles break the sunlight in that way that the lake gets its blue color.
Here you see the end of the glacier where the ice melts and the dust and sand particles float in the water. c-PeytoLakeGlacierEnd.jpg (91725 bytes)
IcefieldParkway.JPG (81781 bytes) The Ice Field Parkway, which leads to Jasper.
Near the Icefield Parkway we have a picknick instead of in a motorway restaurant.  IceFieldParkwayPicknick.JPG (101529 bytes)
JasperNationalPark1.JPG (72068 bytes) From our picknick spot we can enjoy the nice weather and nature.
The small lakes along the Icefield Parkway reflect the landscape like a mirror because there's no wind today. JasperNationalPark2.JPG (89765 bytes)
ColumbiaIcefields5.JPG (83039 bytes) Here we arrive at the Columbia Icefield, or better said: one glacier of the Columbia Icefield: the Athabasca Glacier. We are going to do a trip on a snow coach and drive on the glacier.
Here's the snow coach we take. This coach is capable of driving over snow and ice. That's what the large tires are for. SnoCoach2.JPG (61451 bytes)
ColumbiaIcefields4.JPG (69364 bytes) Here we go.
We're not the only ones today, but there's plenty of space. The size of the Columbia Icefield is 325 square kilometres, one of the largest accumulations of ice and snow south of the Arctic Circle. We only see a tiny bit of it today. ColumbiaIcefields7.JPG (75080 bytes)
ColumbiaIcefields1.JPG (79961 bytes) This glacier and the Columbia Icefield is a remnant of the last Ice Age that ended only 10,000 years ago.
It's only a small area where we are allowed to walk because it's still a glacier. That means that there are holes and gorges. If you fall in one, they will find you years and years later at the bottom of the glacier, where it melts. ColumbiaIcefields6.JPG (80101 bytes)
ColumbiaIcefields10.JPG (94632 bytes) Behind the horizon there's the rest of the Columbia Icefield.
This glacier and the icefield form a gigantic frozen reservoir of fresh water. ColumbiaIcefields9.JPG (76378 bytes)
ColumbiaIcefieldsPlate.JPG (43936 bytes) This is a information sign on which you can see the complete Columbia Icefield. With the snow coach we have been only on the toe of the long glacier you see on the photo. It's hard to imagine how big the icefield is.
The Athabasca River, originating at the Athabasca Glacier, where we just have been on the snow coach. AthabascaRiver.JPG (111010 bytes)
AthabascaRiverRaft5.JPG (70857 bytes) Here we go rafting. The water isn't wild, we only got a wet behind. But it is a nice boat trip and the weather is still good.
This is our guide for this rafting trip. AthabascaRiverRaft1.JPG (84018 bytes)
AthabascaRiverRaft2.JPG (43681 bytes) Our travel companions in the other raft.
One last picture of the Athabasca River before we go to Jasper and to our hotel. AthabascaRiverRaft3.JPG (69337 bytes)
Panorama2.jpg (46068 bytes)

Panorama photo of Peyto Lake

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