Thursday, August 13, 2009

Icefield Parkway and Lake Louise

We got up and left early this morning. We headed through the mountains to Jasper and Banff National Parks. We expected travel to be slow and wanted time for sight seeing. We were also concerned about finding a suitable place to stay in the park as we had not made a reservation.

The drive was nice with a lot of pretty views, even with the sky becoming more overcast as the day went on. The only wildlife that we saw were 6 or 7 deer on the Bighorn Highway even before we got into the parks. And with the combination of the deer being skittish and not having the camera ready at the right times we didn't even get a picture of any of them.

We drove the Icefield Parkway and saw several glacier views but not up close as we did not want to take the time to hike or take a tour bus up. Travel was a bit slow but not as bad as we feared.
We watched the buses for a while and then moved on, would have been fun to do but very pricey.

nice view of the glacier

We had identified the Lake Louise Campground in Banff National Park as the best option if available. We had also been told that it is often possible to get a site without a reservation if you arrive early in the afternoon. About 2 o'clock we pulled into a line of RV's waiting to get in. Another camper came by and said they had only 5 unreserved sites left and there were more than 5 RV's ahead of us, so it all depended on how many of the ones ahead of us had reservations. It turns out we got lucky. We got the last unreserved electrical site. We would not have stayed on one without electricity as they have severe restrictions on generator use. It is a nice campground. We were very happy with the size of the sites and the wide roads for easy turns. We are right near the rapidly moving river with views of the mountains peaking through the clouds.

Unfortunately the weather became worse as the day wore on with intermittent periods of rain. After parking we drove to Banff as we had planned. But the rain was picking up which got in the way of sight seeing. When we reached the town of Banff it was raining so hard that it made no sense to get out and walk around. We thought that we would stop somewhere for a snack, but couldn't find a place with close parking to avoid the downpour so we headed back. We were able to return on a different road and see a bit more of the park. It is a disappointment as we plan to move on tommorrow (the site we are on was only available for one night), but it also reminded us of how lucky we have been with weather on this trip.

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