and the Icefield Parkway
We eventually pull ourselves away from Yoho and point north towards Jasper.
This stretch of road is amazing and had us pulling over ever few km for photos or to stare at the next vista/view. It reminds us a lot of the Going to the Sun road in Glacier National Park, but with considerably less people.
Everything is still huge, the water is still unbelievably blue and we cant help but wish we had weeks on end to backpack in to every section of the park that strikes an interest. Too many places, too little time.
We pulled over midday for a hike up to bow summit at 6900m and enjoyed the lookout over peyto lake, back to the glacier and the canyons below.
Pretty popular hike that was again leaving us wishing we had packed gear for a deeper hike into the woods, but well worth the climb up.
Many of the falls in Jasper NP are literally on the side of the road. Tangle falls could almost be shot from your windows without ever getting out of your car.
But if you want to frame the shot to avoid the touristas snapping their family photos…you’d probably better pull over (unless of course you’ve got immense photoshop skills to remove those tourists once you’re back at home).
Sunwapta Falls has a small island framing the view of the falls to set itself apart in our memory banks.
We have learned by now that campgrounds fill up rapidly in the parks, so we sprinted a bit further up the road to find a site and drop off some gear and then backtracked to Athabasca Falls hoping for good light and a stress-free camp search.
Our plan worked out great but we also sat for a long spell on the highway because of a massive wreck up ahead on the parkway. We sadly saw an accident every few days while we’ve been in the parks…many clearly without happy results.
It’s so hard to imagine what the people in these accident must be going through (much less their friends and families back home), compared to the peaceful beauty they clearly came here to see. It obviously had us driving even further below the speed limit than we probably already were, and also ever thankful for each moment we have on this planet.
Yet another reason, and another good reminder why we work so hard to ensure we aren’t wasting a single minute of it.
Athabasca Falls really drew us in. Maybe because the falls have a handful of different viewing platforms from all different heights and angles, maybe because we arrived late enough in the day that the sun was falling and made us aware of the sunset shots we might miss if we left, and maybe because we happened into some other travelers to chat with while the sun slowly dropped toward the horizon.
Regardless…we found ourselves spending the better part of the evening snapping photos, talking travel and with me jogging back and forth and up and down between the various platforms looking for the perfect shot.
The sun never quite hit the perfect light thanks to some low cloud cover, but our experience here was no less the memorable for it.
We drove back to our camp spot for the night and were pleasantly surprised at the amount of light remaining and how beautiful the still lake and its reflection were just behind our campfire.
We spent the evening staring at the stars and our fire and crashed with a continuing array of beautiful scenes in our head.
The next morning we got up and drove the short distance into the actual town of jasper, where we got our wifi fix at a great little coffee shop, hit a grocery store and stopped over for a few hours at the Fairmont Jasper to enjoy their spa/pool to help ease our sadness of finishing our time in the Rockies.
We might have just stumbled upon something here recently…
we find ourselves really starting to enjoy this pairing/contrast of #vanlife and hiking/backpacking combined with pampering ourselves at a local spa!!