After some serious grocery shopping we headed north on Monday on the famous Icefield Parkway from Lake Louise to Jasper. Spread along the highway are various viewpoints and hiking trails.
We stopped at Bow Lake to follow a trail along the lake back to the Bow Glacier Falls. From the edge of the cliff that marks the end of the glacier, water chutes down vertically some 100 meters. More impressed than the falls, however, left us the wonderfully serene and peacefull scenerie around the lake.
Later on we stopped at the Pyto Lake Lookout. The highest possible point on a Canadian highway is right there (2069m), but more importantly – and of course more impressively – is the gorgeous view over Pyto Lake. Certainly one of our highlights in the rockies! At such attractive and easily accassible points the effects of masstourism are just grose, though. Busses unloading herds of people who almost push you aside to get the best shot…after all, they've only got 5 or so minutes until they have to be back in the bus. Yuck!
Later that day we also stood next to the Mistaya Canyon mouth wide open in awe. It's amazing how the force of water can carve such marvelously wild canyons.
Another highlight was the wood-fired sauna at the Rampart Creek Wilderness Hostel. Dark, steamy-hot, cozy, and right next to the ice-cold creek!!!
The next day we "did" two trails: the first up to Parker's Ridge, the second up to Wilcox Pass. Both are recommendable; especially Wilcox Pass was great. Hardly anybody hikes there (the oh so touristic Columbia Icefield so too close), but the view it offers is un-surpassed for that area. Even before, however, we hiked down a tiny unmarked trail to the Panther Falls. Those are certainly the coolest falls in both Banff and Jasper NP. That night we stayed at Athabasca Falls Wilderness Hostel. We thoroughly enjoyed it, but the plastic-wrapped matraces were terrible. You hardly dare to move, since you might wake up the entire dorm; the noise coming from the matraces is so loud.
Along the road we spotted another black bear and groups of mountain goats.
Around noon we drove into Jasper today. Just before Jasper we saw a couple of female wapitis/elks grazing at the shoulder of the road.
It appears that high main season has finally started here in the canadian rockies. We feel that places get more crowed every day and for every single accommodation we have to pay the highest possible rate. A week ago we managed to get the cheapest room at the Patricia Lake Bunglows from tomorrow to Sunday, but for tonight we found a private room at the Miette Guest House.