The Bow River flowed by the Lake Louise campground and a 7.1 kilometer loop trail ran up one bank and down the other. Along the trail were several interpretive signs. One of the signs identified the Nuthatch, a bird we had been seeing all over the area. Other then that the trail was not very scenic nor remarkable in any way. After walking we had breakfast, hooked up the trailer, dumped and headed for the Ice Field Parkway. The Ice Field Parkway is the 233 kilometer highway between Lake Louise and the town of Jasper. Although Lake Louise is a destination in its own right it is part of Banff National Park. The Banff and Jasper National Parks are connected with each other so the Ice Field Parkway is complety within the National Park System. Banff is connected to Yoho and Kootenay National Parks as well. It's quite a chunk of Rocky Mountain real estate that the Canadians have set aside in their Nationial Park System.
Approximately half way between the towns of Jasper and Banff on the Ice field Parkway is Wilcox Creek campground.
Canadian campgrounds, Picnic areas and National Parks have these neat, enclosed picnic tables with their own wood burning stoves. If you have been to my house you know that I am into wood burning stoves. Obviously, I am impressed by the ones in Canada which can be used for cooking and they provide the wood as well. Several years ago we were in Fundy National Park in New Brunswick. They had these neat buildings with stoves also. The Ranger told us that at Canadian Thanksgiving which is in October people from a nearby town come to the park a few days before the holiday and slow cook their turkeys in these stoves. On Thanksgiving the families gather for their feast. By the time he gets home after making his rounds he can't eat another thing and which usually upsets his wife. You would think after the first time she would either join him on rounds or make him call in sick.
We camped in the campground and drove less then a mile to the Ice Field Centre and the opportunity to ride or walk up the Columbia Ice field. We rode the "Snocoach" onto the Athabasca Glacier and walked up on our return from Jasper.
Thanks to Rena, a friend who had been there before us we carried cups up to the glacier and were able to drink some of the glacial water. It tasted pretty good but the coach driver informed me that it was mostly snow melt from the winters snow fall. In order to get only glacier melt we had to come later in the year. (the dots on Debby were from the light rain that fell on my lens)
Walking up is not quite as safe as riding in the "Snocoach" but we put on our winter coats and walked up a little way on our return from Jasper. The last four attempts to rescue people, including children who fell into crevasses failed. The water Debby was putting into her cup flows down the glacier and there are other flowing streams in the ice. Some of these streams flow beneath the surface and create crevasses under what might look like a solid weight baring surface. Any divergence from the path marked out by the Wardens could be fatal. Frankly, I wasn't even convinced that this path delineated by ropes and poles was very safe.
Recently there has been a controversy about global warming. Tax payers money is being spent to investigate this situation, never the less our President continues to deny the facts. Actually all he has to do is visit the Columbia Ice fields and open his eyes. Even he can't help but notice that the glacier is melting. Of course he'll try and find another reason to explain it like maybe the Canadians come out at night with blow torches.
When you cross the road from the Ice Field Centre there are markers showing were the toe of the glacier was at that time, the first of which is dated 1890 and is about a half mile from the glacier while the last the is 2000. As you approach the glacier the time in years gets shorter to show that the the rate of melt down is increasing.
Next: Jasper National Park
Home | The Big Trip