Saturday, October 19, 2019

Glittering Glaciers and Flowing Falls...That's Jasper National Park!

When you enter Jasper National Park you actually get Banff National Park as a bonus as it sides right up next to it.  And if that wasn't enough, there are four more in the range, and that's not counting beautiful Mt. Robson, the most grand and highest of the Rockies!  It's no wonder it takes all day just to drive through Jasper and Banff, stopping at just a few of the "scenic spots".

We took two days to enjoy the scenery and still didn't see everything.  Lots of great waterfalls; the most powerful one being Athabasca Falls.  These fall over quartzite forming an impressive canyon.  Standing above them you could almost feel their power as they pounded the rocks below and felt the mist spray against your face, it was truly amazing. And to think this was in mid-August, so, what must it be like just as it begins to thaw from the winter?  Wow!

Another short walk to a footbridge takes visitors to view the Sunwapta Falls plunging water below you.

All along the roadside were lakes, so big and beautiful, many seemed to be rivers.  Most, the beautiful teal color created by the glaciers.  Some though, a milkier color created by sand being tumbled by rushing waters.  Each so different and unique.

The Rockies themselves were awe inspiring we rounded each corner the sun would shift and the mountains would take on a different look, a different view.  We both were constantly saying "wow, look at them now!,  isn't that beautiful?"

As we moved on from there, we spotted a couple of local animals…first a very healthy Elk munching some grasses along side the road.  He was causing quite a stir as several of us stopped to take a picture of him.  He didn’t give any of us any mind at all, never even glancing our way, much to the chagrin of the photographers, I’m sure!  ;-)

Another bonus was a handsome black bear greedily foraging for berries.  A number of drivers stopped for him and were quite excited to see him so close to the roadside!  He couldn’t care less either that we were all enthralled to watch him have his lunch!  Once he cleaned out the bush in front of us, he quickly scampered off to the bushes deeper in the forest for more.

But, all that aside, the biggest wow factor of the parks is the Columbia Icefield and the Athabasca Glacier.  To see this massive glacier up close is amazing. Now, we had seen glaciers in Alaska, you expect them there.  Glaciers are big, but when they are surrounded by snow and ice, you don’t really get a sense of how big, or not, as it may be.  But when they are not surrounded by ice or snow, when they are a white chunk, so to speak, you can't  really get a feel for how big they really are.  It was surreal to see this here - not in Alaska.  All alone, surrounded by earth, rock and shrubs.  Pictures just don't do it justice.  Then, to see the markers as to where it "used to be" from 1908, or 1918, 1928, etc.  and where it is now, really hits home as to how much it is melting.  It puts all those rushing waters we were looking at earlier into perspective...

We came back again and again and just enjoyed the weather, the views and beauty of this great national park.  Such a treasure they have here…

...catching up in Arizona,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:

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