Jasper, Alberta

Everyone must visit the Icefield Parkway at some time. It is the most "epic" drive you will probably take. The drive takes about three hours to go straight through, but it's better to take your time and plan for many stops. Pictures do not do it any justice, and words cannot describe it. Something we can say is how much we appreciated the diverse terrain found throughout the parkway and throughout the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Everywhere you look is a mountain that looks unique to itself. 

 

One of our more memorable hikes was the Valley of Five Lakes. This trail can be as short as 2 miles and as long as 8 miles, depending on the route you choose. After briefly checking the weather in the morning (with our limited data plan), we knew there was some rain expected in the afternoon. We chose to chance it and hike the whole loop. What we were not expecting was the hail and lighting to accompany that rain. And, of course, it hit as we were halfway around the loop- so same distance either way to get back to our car.


Something that was constantly recommended to us was the famous "Glacier Discovery Walk". For about $50 a person, a million dollar "Ice Explorer" bus will take you up to the Athabasca Glacier, and allow you to walk on snow more than 400 years old. Nick and I wanted to check the glacier out, but were leaning towards checking the glacier ourselves, instead of taking the bus with 30 other tourists. As we approached the glacier in our car, it looked like rain was coming, and we quickly decided to take the tour. Advice: the tour drops you off in a little paved circular area high up on the glacier, where it has been proven safe to walk and you will not fall through a crevice. The safety is reassuring. But, further down the glacier, you can drive your car right up to it, and still get a similar experience for free. Either way, you can say you walked on a glacier :)

While we were in Jasper, Nick really wanted to scale a mountain. We had spent so much time gazing up from the bases of mountains, we wanted to be able to look down from the top. Due to time and weather, we were unable to climb one from base to summit- but we did make it to the top. Via a tram. Whistler's mountain was located right behind our campsite and we heard it offered 360 views from the summit. Unfortunately, the risk of avalanche was very high this time of year and the trail was closed. So, we bypassed the 5 miles and 4,430' gain and comfortably took a chartered tram up. From the drop off, we trekked the last meter straight up to the summit. 

During our stay, we bumped into some other full-time RVers we have been following online  for a couple of years. Jason and Nikki Wynn, "Gone with the Wynns", were traveling up to Alaska via the Rocky Mountains, and were visiting Jasper as well. They offered us some great advice for the RVing in the winter, and we have decided to spend some time in Colorado versus Jackson Hole this skiing season.