010 – Icefield Parkway & Jasper – 1st May 2019

Icefield Parkway is the name of the road that runs between the towns of Lake Louise and Jasper and on the day we left Canmore it lived up to it’s name – it had snowed heavily overnight and it was bitter cold.

The road was a combination of ice and snow and our windscreen wipers kept freezing up. Luckily I knew someone who could help with that!

To give you an idea of just how cold it was take a look at the wheel of the RV that we parked beside at our overnight stop.

It was a shame really because the Icefield Parkway is rated as one of the most scenic drives in the world, and bears are often seen from the road, but on the day we travelled the first half of it we were lucky to see to the end of our bonnet at times.

We woke up to a much better day the following morning and realised what a beautiful setting we had stayed in.

We couldn’t see the mountains behind our room the previous day!

Continuing up the Icefield Parkway towards the town of Jasper we stopped at the Columbia Icefield Station where it is possible to take an “ice crawler’, a monster of a truck, out onto the Athabasca Glacier.

One of the large ‘ice crawlers’
To give an idea of the size of the glacier there are three ‘ice crawlers’ in the bottom right corner

When we saw the number of tourist buses in the car park our hearts sank a little until we realised that there was a hike we could do out to the glacier and there seemed to be very few people taking this option. We are pleased that we did choose to hike because if we hadn’t we wouldn’t have met William and the diminutive Monique.

William & Monique

William came to speak to us in the car park as he was preparing to set off on what we thought was a short hike like us. He needed a pair of pliers and fortunately we were able to assist.

It turned out that they were about to ski cross country style out over the glacier in order to climb Mount Columbia before returning three days later. I expressed my concern at the duration of their trip particularly knowing how the weather can change so quickly and can be so cold but this was when the ‘petite Monique’ told me that she had summited Mount Everest and had solo climbed Mount Logan in the Yukon (I didn’t think now was an appropriate time to tell her that I had been to the top of Ben Nevis). I was amazed at the achievements of this young lady and slightly awe stuck at their adventurous nature.

What surprised us even more was when they expressed their interest in our trip and our vehicle and how jealous they were of what we were doing. They said it was their dream to do something similar at some point and I have no doubt they will. We said our goodbyes and went off in different directions.

Our walk had taken us to a higher viewpoint and we were able to look down and watch the progress of William & Monique

Can you see them – you can just make out their ski trail on the lower right side

On the return to the car park Chrissie was behind me when she suddenly fell to the snow. I was just about to put all my first aid training into practice when she shouted out “Look I’m a snow angel”. Bloody woman, scared me half to death!

After a wonderful morning at the glacier we continued on towards Jasper passing Tangle Creek waterfall….

and then nearer to Jasper we passed the Athabasca Falls

Arriving in Jasper we felt a small bit of luxury was called for and booked ourselves in for three nights at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge.

Over the last few days the weather has been good, a small bit of snow on each day, but nothing that has stopped us from going on some local hikes including The Valley of the Five Lakes and Maligne Canyon

We set off tomorrow towards Prince Rupert and the ferry that we are due to catch on 7th May at 3 a.m.!!

5 Replies to “010 – Icefield Parkway & Jasper – 1st May 2019”

  1. I am reading and following your blog…its so exciting, because you are travelling my trails and roads I travelled with my Friends and years ago with my wife. Now you are travelling the yellowhead highway and you stay in Dome Creek ….I know that from my daughter , you meet her there at the Cabin of Nick Hunter.
    Many Greetings to all there !

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    1. Guten Morgan Matthias
      It is very nice to hear from you
      Yes, we are in Dome Creek and we spent a lovely evening last night talking with your daughter and Nick and Kaitlyn.
      We are only here for one more night and then we head to Alaska but we will be back in a few months time.
      We hope you enjoy reading about our travels
      Best Regards
      Paul & Chrissie

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  2. Dear Paul, Dear Chrissie,

    Sorry it took so long to get back to you! What a pleasure it was to meet you at the Columbia Icefield!

    We felt so inspired by your adventure and we were delighted to have the opportunity to chat with you before heading in the backcountry. Thanks for the post and the superb photos! Actually Monique published one of them on her Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/monique.richardalpiniste/photos/a.563374057029076/2448129011886895/?type=3&theater

    Your photos are so cool. Monique and I are so small in the immensity of nature…

    By the way, we had a great trip on the icefield but couldn’t summit Mt Columbia because of the weather; we reached the base of the mountain but decided to turn back to stay safe. An epic expedition nonetheless. (We managed to summit another peak a few days later; Mt Hector (3 394 m))

    We hope that your trip is going well. This is so inspiring. We are very grateful to have had the pleasure to meet you and we wish you the best. We hope to meet you again one day so we can share our stories.

    Stay safe, and enjoy the adventure!

    Your friends in Canada,

    Monique and William

    PS – Thanks again for the pliers!

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    1. Hi Monique / Richard
      How lovely to hear from you. I’m pleased to hear that you returned safely and also pleased that you liked the photos.
      We are on the Prince of Wales Island in Alaska and due to head further north into the interior any day now but we are currently unable to because of the AMHS ferry strike. After our time in the Alaska interior we will be returning to Canada as we head south (anticipate this will be around end September..ish) and would love to catch up with you guys if at all possible.
      We will keep in touch and update you of our plans and dates when they are known.
      Best Regards
      Paul & Chrissie

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