Friday, June 10, 2016

2016 Epic Road Trip - Day 28

June 10, 2016

Day 28 - Banff, AB to Hinton, AB - ___ Miles

Left Banff National Park and headed north today through Lake Louise and onto the Icefields Parkway, which stretches 150 miles to Jasper, Alberta. Both sides of the highway are lined by glaciers with periodic aqua-colored glacial lakes on the sides. Passing “avalanche area” signs, along with the warnings for wildlife on the roads.

On this stretch, there are several animal bridges and underpasses. They are built with natural rock and covered in sod with trees planted to persuade the animals that this is a “natural” crossing area. The animal bridges carry about 11 species of wild animals and have cut the road kill totals by about 80%.

The glaciers are defined as areas where the snow never melts. The mountains that you see in the pictures have progressively more snow at the tops as we head north. I can only imagine what they look like in the winter. It has definitely become time to pull out the socks, long pants and jackets.

The Columbia Ice Fields consist of about about 240 square miles of glaciers, of which only the fingers of the Glacier are visible from the road...even so, they were awesomely impressive. The concessioners of the icefields park, part of Jasper National Park, built a skywalk that leads to a glass-floored observation platform 918 feet above the Sunwata Valley below. The views in every direction were magnificent. Looking straight down through the glass was not for the faint of heart and several people there were not able to walk out onto the glass. I on the other hand thought it was absolutely amazing and made several loops around the deck.

Along with seeing the glaciers, there were many waterfalls and brooks and braided rivers, flowing northward to the Arctic sea.

Mountain Goat!
Along the way to Hinton, there were some mountain goats grazing by the side of the road. Also, I saw some Caribou grazing down by the river. Truly an awesome sight.

Even though the weather was cold, damp and rainy (yes, I am wearing long pants, a heavy sweatshirt and have on warm socks and sneakers!) it was a marvelous day with sights that I will never forget.

Stopped at the Hinton / Jasper KOA for the night.

And more scenery photos!

Looking straight down!

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