Saturday, August 26, 2017

Icefields Parkway Part 1

On day five of our Rocky Mountain adventure, we woke up at the crack of dawn and began our road trip up the Icefields Parkway. Cell service cut out almost immediately and would not return until the following day, so I pulled out the list I had made of all the stops along the way. The signage was pretty good, but we still would have missed some of the highlights had it not been for my handy list.

Our first stop was Herbert Lake. It was just off the road and definitely worth the 30 seconds it took to walk from the car to the lake. Simply beautiful.


We hopped back in the car and continued driving, passing the Hector Lake viewpoint after 10 minutes but deciding not to stop. About 10 minutes past that was a pull-off that provided a fabulous view of Crowfoot Glacier. Naturally, we snapped a picture from both sides of the road.



Another short drive (about 8 minutes) and we arrived at Simpson's Num-Ti-Jah Lodge. My family and I stayed there when I was about eight years old, so I have great memories of that place.


The lodge sits on the rocky shores of beautiful Bow Lake, making it a popular stop for tourists. When I visited as a child, it was an especially chilly summer, and the surrounding mountains were still covered in ice and snow, like a winter wonderland. I remember it vividly.


Our next stop was Peyto Lake (another 10 minutes up the road). Named after turn-of-the-century guide Bill Peyto, Peyto Lake is known as "the bluest lake in the Rockies."


Also in the same location is Bow Summit, the highest point on the Icefields Parkway (2,135 meters/7,000 feet elevation).


After a 25 minute drive, we stopped at Mistaya Canyon. We walked 0.5 miles down a steep incline and arrived at this spot.


If you look closely, you'll see the powerful current rushing through the canyon. Truly an incredible sight! There were additional trails we could have hiked, but we were on a tight schedule, as we had to make it to our glacier tour by 4:00pm. We made the grueling trek up the steep hill and back to our car.


A short five minute drive along the main road brought us to Saskatchewan River Crossing, the first oasis with gas and food that we had hit since Lake Louise. Still no cell reception, though. 

Twenty-five minutes later, we made our way up the "Big Hill" and pulled over on the side of the road for a breathtaking view of the North Saskatchewan Valley.



By that point, we were only 10 minutes away from our destination for the night, a large building that houses the Glacier View Inn and the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre.

I had called the hotel a few weeks before and booked their very last room that week. What a blessing! It is the only hotel and restaurant for many miles and was the perfect place to stop. But before calling it a night, we still had to take our glacier tour, my most anticipated stop on our entire trip. This has been a long post already, so I'll have to wait until next time to tell you all about our excursion on the Athabasca Glacier.

13 comments:

  1. Anonymous8/26/2017

    So many beautiful views! You must of kept busy. I always say see as much you can before you leave...Jane

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    1. I completely agree, Jane. Especially when you travel far from home. Might as well pack as much in as you can (without running yourself ragged, of course).

      Ellie

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  2. Anonymous8/26/2017

    This arm chair enthusiast is exhausted just from reading this post about your destinations that day!

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    1. Lol, it was a jam-packed trip. :)

      Ellie

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  3. Anonymous8/26/2017

    OK when you are in your thirties and you two have a handful of little Handsomes with this much energy, are you two gonna be doing this with them too?!

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    1. Haha, you made me smile thinking of "a handful of little Handsomes." I'm sure we won't do as many faraway trips when we have kids, but we look forward to taking plenty of shorter trips with kiddos.

      Ellie

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  4. Peters fam8/26/2017

    Awesome Ellie! Am trying to wait patiently for the glacier story! Wish I could obtain your list or itinerary for when we want to go since it will be the first time we are there. I'm sure it would be so helpful. Maybe I could email our "guide" 😀 for it when we want to go.

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    1. I would love to be of further assistance as you plan your trip, Peters fam! Just send me an email (NashvilleWife@gmail.com).

      Ellie

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  5. Anonymous8/26/2017

    Ellie! The pictures are beautiful I can't wait for part 2 of your tour. Thanks for sharing

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad to hear that. Have a blessed day.

      Ellie

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  6. Anonymous8/26/2017

    This could almost pass for Switzerland.

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    1. I agree, it definitely could. You sound like someone who enjoys the mountains?

      Ellie

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  7. Anonymous8/31/2017

    Thanks for sharing these photos!! These are beautiful places. I will have to visit.

    Thanks again!

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