Monday, July 13, 2009

Jasper and Banff National Parks on Saturady and Sunday

We spent Saturday and Sunday driving through the lovely national parks of Jasper and Banff. Our drive through Jasper led us along a lovely river, some pastures of elk and mule deer. We saw some glaciers and some lakes and then arrived in the town of Jasper where we rode the Tramway up the mountain to the level of over 6,000 feet. In spite of the clouds at the beginning of the ride, the clouds parted after a while and we were able to see mountains in the distance and down to the town of Jasper. The kids really enjoyed this ride as much as we did the time we took it 27 years ago. We saw small chipmunks at the top and got a nice picture of one. The town of Jasper and the entire area have changed and grown so much that we did not recognize it.

After our tram ride, we drove up another mountain toward a campground and lake and saw a herd of mule deer. This was an amazing sight because we had never seen more than one or two at a time. Then we drove south toward Lake Louise, a small town in Banff National Park that we had visited in 1982 when Gil and I brought Ed to this area and we camped in a tent. The Althabasca Glacier was one that we had actually walked on in 1982, but it has receded so much and has become so unstable that tourists can no longer walk on it without an escort, which we passed up. Then we reached the town of Lake Louise and wanted to show the kids the glacier and chalet' that we had seen 27 years ago. Again, the area had changed so much that we did not recognize the town (had exploded with hotels, inns, and camp grounds) but finally found the parking lot closest to the lake and walked down to see the glacier. The glacier has receded many hundreds of yards and the area near the lake has become so crowded with tourists this time of year that you could hardly walk for people! We did get some nice pictures and I will add them to the blog.

We were unable to camp at Lake Louise as planned because they have only one campground there and it was full by 3:00 pm so we went farther south to the village of Banff and found a lovely spot at Tunnel Mountain Campground so we paid for Sat. and Sunday nights. On Sunday we went back to the villages of Lake Louise and Banff to drive around and later in the afternoon did some shopping at the local Safeway. We found groceries very expensive there, so we kept our list to a minimun....essentials only. We really enjoyed those nights at the campground which had over 660 sites.
It was actually beautiful weather for our weekend, but rain was forcast for Monday.

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