Thursday, September 21, 2017

Icefields Parkway Part 2

After our Athabasca Glacier tour on day five of our Rocky Mountain journey, we spent the night at the Glacier View Inn.

The inn is located in the same building as the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Center, which is where the tours meet, so during the day, it is packed full of people. But in the evening, the crowds disappear, and only the few hotel guests are left. We ate dinner in the cafeteria, next to a large window looking out at the glacier. It was so peaceful.

The following morning, we checked out of the hotel and continued up the Icefields Parkway to Jasper. Our first stop--only 6.5km north of the Glacier View Inn/Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Center--is Tangle Falls. It is right off the main highway but easily missed. A multi-tiered cascade, Tangle Falls is 114 feet (35 meters) tall. Our stop was quick, but it was the perfect way to start the day.


We hopped back in the car and drove about 25 miles (40km) north to Sunwapta Falls. 


Just a short while up the road, we stopped at a viewpoint of the famous Athabasca River.



After another short drive, we came to Athabasca Falls, one of the most iconic stops along the Icefields Parkway.


The sheer volume of water that runs over the falls is incredible...approximately 4,000 cubic feet per second! As you can imagine, it is quite loud.


From Athabasca Falls, we drove about 40 minutes (past Jasper Townsite) and stopped at Maligne Canyon, a limestone canyon. We had seen a couple other canyons on our trip (Johnston Canyon and Mistaya Canyon) and they were all beautiful and worth stopping at.

Six bridges cross the narrow gorge of Maligne Canyon, and as you look down, the water is 50m (164 feet) below your feet. Yikes! We were on a time crunch, so we only walked to the first bridge, but someday we hope to return and do the full 7km hike.


From Maligne Canyon, we continued on down the remote Maligne Lake Road and stopped 20 minutes later at Medicine Lake, perhaps the most unique "lake" in the Rockies. You probably won't believe me when I tell you that it has holes in the bottom and isn't a real lake, but allow me to explain.

In summer, runoff from melting glaciers gathers to create what appears to be a lake, but in the fall, the "lake" becomes a muddy flatland with a stream connecting scattered pools of water. Here's the shocking part: What creates that abrupt change is a process in which the water from the "lake" drains out through the holes in the bottom and empties into an extensive underground cave system that researchers believe to be one of the largest in the world.

Maligne Canyon is actually the next spot where the underground river surfaces. I had to laugh when I read that folks in the mid-1900s made unsuccessful attempts to plug the holes with mattresses, magazines, and other materials in order to attempt to set up a ferry service.


We saw several more sites before the end of the day, but I think that's enough for now. I'll pick up where I left off next time.

21 comments:

  1. Anonymous9/21/2017

    Ellie, I've never been to the Canadian Rockies, so I'm just in awe looking at these beautiful pictures and reading about all these places you and Mr. Handsome visit. If I can change the subject, a movie called "A Question of Faith" will be in the theaters starting Friday, September 29th. It's about a car accident that affects three families, eventually bringing them together to rediscover their faith and God's mercy, just something I wanted to share. I'll be leaving that day for Virginia Beach, so I'll probably go and watch it while I'm on vacation...Jane

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    1. Hi Jane,

      I just saw a preview of that, but I hadn't heard what day it would be in theaters. Thanks for the heads-up! Have a great time on your vacation. Virginia Beach is beautiful. What do you have on your itinerary?

      Ellie

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    2. Anonymous9/27/2017

      Neptune Festival Boardwalk weekend is Sept.29-Oct.1. International Sand Sculpting Championship is Sept.30-Oct.9. Than going to Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. Maybe go over to Norfolk to Virginia Zoo? Thanks, hope to have a great time...Jane

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  2. Anonymous9/21/2017

    Enuff with the vacay photos. How's the new house coming along?

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    1. Anonymous9/22/2017

      That's horrible to say that. Most of us has been enjoying sharing Ellie's vacation. Don't deny us the joy of a good trip report. Go to a different blog if you just cant stand this. And yes I would enjoy seeing Ellie's house also. Maybe she'll make a post of it soon but that's up to her.

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    2. Anonymous9/22/2017

      I'm not a huge fan of someone else's vacation photos, either. "Guess you had to be there."

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    3. Anonymous9/25/2017

      I agree, I'd rather see someone else's house instead of their vacation pictures.

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    4. Anonymous9/25/2017

      You guys are so mean. I enjoy see other people vacation photos it's fun to look at.

      Ellie I sorry these people are so mean to you on this blog. I hope you does listen to them.

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    5. We're enjoying our new place, although we're just renting, so it's not ours.

      Ellie

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  3. Anonymous9/22/2017

    Thank you this was fascinating! You are quite the lady for getting every detail and interesting facts. I have never heard anything quite like the information you had for us today. That draining body of water is really amazing! It is creepy to think someone could go down the drain so to speak.

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    1. I'm glad you found it fascinating. I thought the info behind the lake was very interesting, as well, but I agree that it's a bit creepy. I certainly wouldn't want to go swimming in that lake! Lol.

      Ellie

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  4. Peters Fam9/22/2017

    Ellie, thanks again for another post on this! Love love that you share your adventures with us. Your the best with blogs πŸ˜ƒπŸ‘Œ

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    1. It's my pleasure, Peters fam. Thank you for your kind words. :)

      Ellie

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  5. Shela G9/22/2017

    Ellie you do have a gift for taking your readers along on your adventures!! Makes your post very enjoyable to read.
    My husband and I love being out in God's creation but health issues would not allow us to do the kind hiking you and Mr Handsome do. So I Love to go along with you even if I am just reading about it from my couch.

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    1. Thank you for your sweet words, Shela. I'm blessed to have you as a reader.

      Ellie

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  6. Anonymous9/23/2017

    https://campsongs.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/hole-in-the-bottom-of-the-sea/

    Ellie cause of this post remembered that camp song and googled it. This search was rewarded with this link at which are the words and a veggie tale video. At the start of that video it says 'and its accumulating a lot of junk'. Sort of wierd that there's comparable kids stuff on this actual weird place. Thank you for your posts because I enjoy them and they always gets me thinking.

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    1. I've heard that song before! Maybe they wrote it about this lake. Haha.

      Ellie

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  7. Ellie I have been enjoying your pictures and your description of the places you two went. It's almost like being there with you. I can almost hear the falls😊

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    1. Thank you, Regina. The falls were so loud, you could probably hear them all the way from AZ. Just kidding... :)

      Ellie

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  8. Ellie. They pictures are beautiful I love read about your wonderful vacation. That's for sharing your vacation picture with us.

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    1. It's my pleasure, Miley. Glad you're enjoying the pictures. Sadly, I only have a few more to share.

      Ellie

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