Wow – since posting Saturday as we arrived in Jasper via train, we have been busy (still). We spent two nights in Jasper Park Lodge in Jasper National Park. On Sunday, we had a “down day” which is you are on a cruise – that is like at “at sea” day s you can catch your breath and catch up. We were in a cabin (4 units per cabin) and after being on the train, it was like our luggage exploded!! This was our second time there. Our cabin this time was right next to the lodge. While there we sat by the lake and read (pretty neat place for your quiet time), walked part way around Lake Beaufort and back, watched four women play golf on the 16th green of the beautiful Jasper course (honestly – I think they were playing to say they had done it – more like a comedy show!), and listened to Ginger and Kathy tell of their witnessing the end of an elk giving birth and then she and her calf being relocated by Parks Canada to a safer location for both the guests of the Lodge and the elk and baby. The extent of wildlife Steve and I saw at Jasper were Canadian geese and a chipmunk! We have had great food on this trip but the very best meal was a steak (Alberta Beef) that Steve, Ginger and I shared (Yes – that big) while at Jasper Park. Oh. My.
From Jasper, we headed down the Icefields Parkway, stopping at Athabasca Falls, seeing many glaciers of many types (saddle, valley, hanging), and arrive at the Columbia Icefields, the second largest icefield in Canada. We changed our coach for an ice crawler and up the side of the glacier (Athabasca Glacier) we go. This conveyance weighs many tons, have 6 tires that are worth CAN$ 30K and run at a top speed of about 11MPH. They can handle the 18 degree grade that you have to go down and come up to get to where you need to be. Our driver was a 3rd generation driver for Brewster Canada (largest touring company in CAN and who have the transport concession for this). He was mid 20’s was my guess. Our driver up to the transfer station (regular bus) was 18! These kids earn a good living doing support work for the travel industry and are very much into what they do.
We headed on south from there and ended at Chateau Lake Louise at the end of the day. Our room overlooked the lake, the Victoria Glacier, and Victoria Mountain (and two others that I do not remember). The view is stunning and is the one you see in every Alberta travel guide! Steve and I slept in (as in missed breakfast) and then we took off on an tour up to Moraine Lake. This lake is one of those that is disappearing as the glaciers melt off. It is beautiful.
Had lunch at the Post Hotel in Lake Louise Village (http://posthotel.com) – which is a very old hotel and was built by a Swiss guy who came here backin the 1940s to teach the Canadians how to do ice climbing and mountaineering and was built in the style of Post Hotels in Switzerland. Beautiful place. Excellent lunch. Could have piled up in the lobby and spent the afternoon!
Next on to Banff Spring Lodge – the oldest of the Canadian Pacific Hotels. This is built in the style of a Scottish baronial castle. You.will.get.lost.even.with.a.map. Our room this go looks over the Bow Valley and Bow River and the golf course. This morning we floated (raft – class 2 (as in nothing) rapids) down the Bow River and took in the sights. Beautiful.
We wrap up here in the morning and head for Calgary and the airport (and the red-eye home)! It has been a wonderful experience. Steve and I have for years been a fan of western Canada and BC nor Alberta have ever disappointed us.
Over and over this week, I have had Psalm 23 come to mind. The Lord is MY Shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul…. I can say without a doubt that my soul has been restored this week.
Looking forward to being home. Still Choosing Joy!