Jasper and Banff National Parks, Canada
Sep 5, 2005
|Monday, 5th Sept.
How would you like to be washing your truck windows in the morning, hear a "clip clop" on the road, look up and see a cow elk walking by, 40 feet away? Well, that's what Dad/Ed did this morning! We were still at the campground at the time. She was a big old girl. She sauntered past the camper into the trees where we watched her for a few minutes. Dad/Ed went back to washing windows, but I couldn't resist - I went looking for her. I did find her, standing calmly in among some spruce trees. I was able to take a few photos of her, by standing very still. She looked my way now and then, but wasn't very disturbed by my being there, as long as I didn't move.
Jasper is a pretty town with very English looking shops, mostly for the tourists. We fueled the truck but just rode thru.
Jasper and Banff National Parks of Canada have won the prize! We have seen such beautiful scenery in so many states and Canada, but we think this area beats them all. What mountains! Absolutely awesome! We hope that you will put the parks on your list of places to see. We could spend an entire vacation here!
Athabasca Glacier is accessible to tourists, by walking up a hill on a rocky trail. The elevation is high and the signs warn people not to climb to the glacier if they have heart or lung problems. I just HAD to climb up there to walk on a glacier! Dad/Ed stayed down as his "other" hip has been giving him pain if he hikes a lot. I am so glad I did! Once you are onto the area where the ice begins, there are cones placed to mark the only area where you are allowed to walk. Signs tell about the dangers of walking on or near the glacier, other than on the trail. They tell about people falling into the fissures when the ice gives way under them. Last year a 9 year old boy, who strayed a short way from the trail was killed. The rescuers did get him out but he had died of hypothermia before they reached him.
Most of the people on the glacier were French speaking Canadians, but I talked at length to two American women who took a photo of me on the glacier, as I did for them. The older one of the 2 told me about her daughter who lives in New Orleans. She has stayed, trying to work in her office, but the husband and children left for higher ground. It is such a disaster there! The woman was very happy to finally talk to her daughter to hear that she and the family are fine, but their house is almost destroyed. I have probably said this before, but we meet the nicest people traveling!
Mountain goats were the mammal we had not seen on the trip. We did find them today - not close for photos, but the super duper binoculars proved what Dad/saw on the mountain. He sure has an eagle eye for wildlife!
Our funniest animal for the day was a Raven who walked up to us a a rest area in the park. I was naughty and fed him some bread (I know, I know, we aren't supposed to feed the wildlife!). But he was very intelligent and we enjoyed watching him. He would fill his beak with 3-4 pieces of bread, then fly off down near the river, where he would hide them among the brush. Dad/Ed even saw him, with the binoculars, cover bread up with some leaves or twigs. We gave him a small piece of bread and a saltine cracker. He picked up the cracker, looked at the bread, put the cracker down, picked up the bread again, putting it further down in his beak. He then picked up the cracker again, and flew off to hide them. We could almost see him thinking that problem out!
We saw some snow on the level of the road today, and large amounts on the mountains. The other mammals seen today, besides the birds, squirrels and chipmunks, were 3 deer and a black bear.
The city of Banff was our last stop early evening. I walked around some of the shops and got us some good old American Subway sandwiches for the road. We then continued south until we drove a short ways past the Radium Hot Springs on Rte. 93/95. Tomorrow we will be in Montana. Night all.