Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Icefields Parkway & Calgary

My mom and I had a nice little road trip together this past weekend. We set out early on Saturday to the mountains. The weather was gorgeous; we really couldn't have asked for a nicer day.
Our first stop, just before the town of Jasper, was Maligne Canyon. I'd only been in the wintertime, so it was interesting to see the Maligne River at work, ever eroding the canyon.
We stopped next for a car picnic at Pyramid Lake, a little ways outside of Jasper. We crossed a wooden footbridge to Pyramid Island, sidestepped a wedding ceremony (apparently that's a thing!), and checked out the historic picnic shelter.
Next door to Pyramid Lake is the beautiful aquamarine Patricia Lake. It was sad to see all the pine beetle destruction in this area.
We walked around Jasper for a bit and caught some very enthusiastic Parks Canada street theatre.
peeping the animals at the Athabasca Hotel
Back on the road, we set out along the Icefields Parkway, a 232-km route through the Rockies from Jasper to Banff. Our first stop was at Athabasca Falls. It's a beautiful place (my co-resident proposed there last year!).
We hit up a couple more viewpoints and met a curious chipmunk.
Next up was the Columbia Icefield. It's the largest ice field in the Rockies, although just one of its six "toes", the Athabasca Glacier, is readily accessible.
the Athabasca Glacier -- about as far as you can go without a tour
We stopped for a photo at the Big Bend viewpoint, then headed on to Peyto Lake.
A crowded Lake Louise was our last stop on the Parkway. It was too bright to get the classic westward photo, so here's one of the boathouse.
We drove briefly around Banff then motored on to Calgary to check into our hotel. We walked down the block for some 10 pm McDonald's, then called it a night.

We spent Sunday wandering around downtown Calgary, which is way more happening than I remember it to be. From great river valley trails to a free C-train zone to the beautiful CORE shopping centre, Calgary's done a wonderful job of vitalizing its downtown.
the much-Instagrammed pedestrian Peace Bridge
Bow River views
Prince's Island Park
took the C-train over to Olympic Plaza; this big pond is a skating rink in the winter!
love the old buildings -- neat to see a Goodlife Fitness in an old bank
Stephen Avenue, a pedestrian street
cowboy roots
We headed out mid-afternoon to take the scenic route -- Highway 22, the Cowboy Trail -- back to Edmonton. Passing through Rocky Mountain House and all manner of small towns sure beat the QEII. All in all, a fantastic weekend!

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