A bear of a day

Today we spent the morning in foggy rainy Lake Louise area getting some work done. 2011-07-26-Foggy morning.jpgAndrew had a bit of a hiccup with the computer so we stuck around until we got it resolved. We know that once we leave this area we’ll likely not have cellphone signal again for a while because we’re headed through a national park. In fact, we’re surprised we got any signal in Lake Louise because it’s also a NP.

2011-07-26-Jasper National Park.jpgWe set out to reach Jasper today, or beyond if we could make it. Along the way we saw 2 bears causing a ton of traffic. Both were relatively small compared to the ones they warn you about.

2011-07-26-Scruffy looking bear.jpgYou might think we’re really good at spotting all this wildlife but sometimes we get a little help from the huge crowd of people pulled over on the side of the road. You can spot this a mile away and know its time to pull over if you want to see something.

2011-07-26-Stopping for wildlife.jpg2011-07-26-Such a commotion, poor bear.jpg2011-07-26-Another bear.jpg2011-07-26-Another wildlife sighting.jpgJust afterward we made it to Saskatchewan Crossing where there were a little restaurant, pub, gas station, and hotel. It seemed like quite the setup.

2011-07-26-The Crossing = keep driving.jpgOf course with no gas stations within 100 kms either direction they held a bit of a monopoly and they exploited it heavily. Andrew and I weren’t the only ones to think that $3.00 for a tea and $17 for a hamburger and fries was a bit outrageous for Alberta.

2011-07-26-Pretty sure Starbucks is cheaper..(Cellphone snap).jpgGas was even $1.69/L – insanity. Lake Louise was $1.16/L and they’re REALLY touristy.

2011-07-26-Yup $1.69-L for regular clean.jpgIf you ever find yourself driving Hwy 93 between Lake Louise to Jasper, just stock up before you go – the tourist traps are a plenty. It does make me happy though when some people can see though it.

2011-07-26-Customer satisfaction survey(Cellphone snap).jpg2011-07-26-Tell us what you really think..(Cellphone snap).jpgWe just moved on – I wonder how places like that survive with 100% mark ups on everything. At least the best things are free – the scenery as we drove was stunning but on an even grander scale as we drove through the ice fields and into Jasper National Park.

2011-07-26-A glacier.jpgThere are tons of waterfalls and huge mountains surrounding you everywhere you look. You’ve never felt so small. On our drive we climbed to 2000 metres and still had these massive stone towers looking down on us. After a while you get acclimated to the size, and then, you see a tiny car somewhere and you realise the scale again.

2011-07-26-You're smaller than you think.jpgWe visited the Athabasca Glacier which had two main take-home messages:
1) climate change has caused the glacier to recede at its current rate; and

2011-07-26-It's all our fault.jpg2) you’ll fall in a crevasse and die if you cross the safety rope.

2011-07-26-Danger! Glaciers can kill..jpgThe irony of it is, for just $100 you can go on a tour and drive on glacier in a giant monster truck-like modified bus. So to clarify, you can drive around on a supposedly un-safe glacier while polluting the planet and causing global warming – I know this is altogether dramatic but it seems they don’t follow their own rules if they can make a bit of money along the way.

So anyway, to avoid death and we followed all warnings to a T as we made the climb to the toe of the glacier.

2011-07-26-Warning glaciers could be hazardous to your health.jpgMaking sure to pace ourselves to avoid this:

2011-07-26-Help!.jpgTurns out the longer you wait to go see this glacier the farther you have to climb up – it has receded quite a lot over the years.

2011-07-26-Glacier in 1925.jpg2011-07-26-Glacier was here in 1844 (at the foot of the now parking lot).jpgAt the top its quite cool. Not sure what I was expecting though – it is after all, a giant block of ice.

2011-07-26-Athabasca Glacier.jpgIt was pretty, and worth the stop. Though I am glad we have our winter stuff with us – hats and mitts definitely kept us comfortable.

2011-07-26-In need of Eskimo kisses.jpgAfter our safe decent we drove on, finding our sunset and a spot to park for the night – we didn’t quite make it to Jasper but it was close enough.

2011-07-26-Summer Breezes.jpg