Plenty of delights in Banff and Jasper National Parks:
My mom and I went for a drive along the Bow Valley Parkway Tuesday evening, where it was quiet and few others were around (compared to the overpopulated madhouse that is the town of Banff in the summer). Toward the end of our drive we were blessed to see a large black bear cross the road in front of us and feed on the bushes.
The Icefields Parkway Drive between Lake Louise in Banff and the town of Jasper definitely rivals the Going-to-the-Sun road in Glacier as the most gorgeous drive I've been on. So many lovely lakes, huge glaciers, and some neat waterfalls as well. Near the end of our drive Wednesday, before reaching Athabasca Falls, we were delighted to spot mountain goats by the side of the road--two mothers with their two kids.
Delighted to be able to take photos of a fantastic rainbow the evening we got into Jasper. Mountain rainbows are so great, because they really look like they go into the ground in a place someone could reach. And it made up for the rainbow in Waterton I saw 11 years ago and didn't have a camera around to capture.
Thursday morning was amazing, because we drove over to Maligne Lake, and were blessed to get three tickets for the 11:30 boat ride to Spirit Island. They had sold out weeks ago, but there just 'happened' to be five cancellations right before another couple and our group showed up to ask. So we got the last three spots! And the views on the boat ride when they let us off to take photos are among the most gorgeous I've ever seen. Since the weather was mostly cloudy, my photos can't do the place justice at all.
Walking beside the lake beforehand, I was delighted to spot, photograph, and get video of a common loon swimming and diving in the water. It was amazing to watch him chasing fish underwater--they swim so fast!
On Friday morning Cindy and I drove to Mt Edith Cavell and did a long walk up to the wildflower meadows. Great views of Angel Glacier, Ghost Glacier, Edith Cavell Glacier and the meltwater with ice floating in it at the bottom. Beautiful forest, marmots and pika around to delight in watching, and amazing views at the top above the tree line.
Friday was a big blessing because the forecast was for rain but it ended up being the sunniest day of our visit. That meant my mom and I were able to get back to Maligne Canyon in the evening and walk around a little--after the crowds had dispersed, which made it even more wonderful. Love that place! Then on the drive back to Jasper we got to see a huge elk with an amazing rack of antlers...to remind me of hyarmi and their forest-lord, of course.