Traveled: Banff, AB, CAN - Jasper, AB, CAN - Hinton, AB, CAN
Interstates: 93, 16
Miles Driven: 400
Hours on Road: 8
Weather: Sunny & Breezy (55 degrees)
This morning we awoke around 8:30am and was on the road by 9:30 as we knew we had a long day ahead of us. We would be driving to Jasper which we were told was around 2.5 hours away. Little did we know that both the weather and the scenery were going to be so nice that it would end up taking us all day (literally) to get to our destination. Within the first hour we spotted our first glacier with a beautiful blue and green lake at the bottom. Bigger mountains with more snow and ice was the theme of the day. We passed so many awesome views it's hard to explain. I know I sound like a broken record in each of these last few posts but each day seems to give something just a little bit better than the last. We passed numerous mountain ranges, numerous glaciers, and numerous lakes and rivers, each of which was just a little more beautiful than the one before. I honestly can't imagine what it would have been like to visit this area and travel on foot or by horseback for the very first time ever... It must have been a tremendously breathtaking experience, I'm sure!
Eventually we made it to the Columbia Ice Fields, where we had tickets to take one of the Terarover Buses up to the Columbia Glacier. Along the way we learned several pieces of information. For example, there are only 21 of the Terarover Buses in existence today. 20 of the 21 are in use at the Columbia Ice fields with one other being used by a team of US scientist in the Antarctic. Each of the large buses cost between 1.2 and 1.4 million dollars to build. If you can imagine a cross between a School Bus and a Greyhound Bus… then take that and add a touch of Monster Truck and you have yourself a TeraRover. These things were incredible. We arrived at the ice fields and ate lunch in the camper before walking up to the Visitor Center. Once there we boarded a Greyhound bus which took us up to the base of the glacier. Once we arrived there we exited the Greyhound and boarded the TeraRover Bus, which took us up on the Glacier…. This was around 7500' above sea level. This was breathtaking as we were walking around on a piece of ice that had been there for thousands of years. On one side there was and "Ice Fall", which is similar to a water fall but made of ice… go figure. We walked around and took tons of pics and videos while the boys played. After about 30 minutes we loaded the TeraRover and returned to the base of the glacier. On the way down, the driver informed us that the mountain peak to our left was the only "tri-contenential divide" in the world. This basically meant if you were standing on the peak of that mountain and poured a bottle of water out there, that water would run down 3 different sides and into all 3 of the different oceans bordering North America. Once we returned to the base, we loaded back in the Greyhounds which took us back to the Welcome Center. Once there we looked around the gift shop and then continued on our way toward Jasper.
Again, the views continued to amaze as we had to make several more stops for pictures before arriving at the Athabasca Falls. These falls were beautiful and the park they had created around them was fascinating as well. We toured this area for about an hour, looking at the falls from several different angles and the varying rock formations all around the area. Of course we took tons of photos here as well. Once we finished up here, we were back on the road. We contemplated continuing past Jasper and trying to make it to Grand Prairie, but decided to stop off and stay in Hinton instead. So here we sit, camping in the parking lot of the WalMart in Hinton, AB, CAN. Surprisingly enough, we are not the only one, as there are probably 30 or so more campers around us here. Apparently "Dry Camping" as they call it, is more popular than we had thought. Be sure to check out all of our pics and videos using the links below. I will warn you in advance, we took over 450 photos today and shot numerous videos, so you may want to have a little time available when you start. :-) Hope you enjoy!
Tomorrow we plan to head out on the Big Horn Highway and travel to at least Grand Prairie, hopefully much further though. At this point the stops and the sites have been tremendous but we are ready to head to AK! We'll be traveling long hours the next several days until we reach AK.
God Bless & Safe Travels!