Banff and the Canadian Rocky Mountains National Parks
Waterfalls and wild rushing water carving its way through mountains.
Falling into a turquoise pool.
Rocks and boulders like these above, were left behind as the glacier retreats – leaving layers of them to form terminal and lateral moraines – the geologic evidence of glacier activity throughout North America.
Glaciers carve the sides of these spectacular mountains continually, although these glaciers are melting and shrinking more everyday.
Below is the Lake Louise Ski Resort – the site of my first ever ride on a ski lift.
The Lake Louise Lodge where we had a fab buffet lunch and relaxed after the ski lift ride to the top of slope.
A view from ski lift to Emerald Lake and a magnificent Fairmont hotel nestled at the base of the glacier created lake.
A long distance view of the Ice-fields and the fairytale lake resort.
Took this from the gondola of the ski lift – it’s like flying although still tethered. The chiseled Rockies are spectacular from this viewpoint.
A small restaurant across this glacier lake welcomes visitors with refreshments and a fab view. The crowds visiting these parks were huge – we went into the parks early in the morning, but still could not avoid the bus loads of folks doing what we were doing – enjoying the fantastic scenery.
This roaring river is filled with the “glacier flour” appearing grey and muddy as it moves swiftly carving through the riverbed edge.
Here the Rockies glacier lakes get their turquoise color from the same “glacier flour” that drifts down the mountain sides and because of its complex granite mixture, it reflects light full of color – appearing to be a deep Caribbean blue.
Flowers were blooming everywhere, wild and cultivated – the colors of everything growing – were delightful – trees, plants, grasses and wildflowers were remarkable and always worth a photo.
Above in this photo – a young boy examined the lovely begonia basket from below – after my shot he laughed as did his family who watched me spot his antics and approved of the photo.
The color variety in this shot across the lake was enchanting and one of many great shots in the Yoho Provincial Park near Banff.
A rare purple bleeding heart plant hung at one of the small visitor resting places in Yoho Provincial Park.
I included this shot to explain better where we were – between two enormous provinces. These Rockies seem more jagged and rough hewn than the US version – they continue to evolve due to remaining glaciers and the extreme weather.
Look a glacier on the left! It was the first of many but a big thrill and part of the enormous Columbia Icefields.
Above is the tongue or beginning edge of another glacier – demonstrating the proof that these spectacular iced mountain movers are dying wonders. The impact of a warming climate becomes obvious to us here.
And now for a ride to the Athabaskan Glacier – part of the Columbia Ice fields followed by a leisurely stroll atop the ice.
The Glacier Mobile People Movers – getting to the huge glacier in style.
Hundreds of thousands of visitors take these tours of the glaciers each year.
In 1843 the Athabaskan Glacier was across the highway, up the hill and through the parking lot. 170 years later you must hitch a ride on a tour bus across the lots and highway and then board the Glacier Buggy for the drive up on to the glacier for your visit.
Love these big Red Glacier Buggies – they were specially manufactured for this purpose. Rugged and tough they provide visitors a terrific way to experience a glacier up close and personal.
Hey we are walking on a glacier here! I admit that I did an attack of sea legs doing this – it did feel weird but we are so glad we did it!
One of our tour members Judi, posing in front of the Glacier Buggy we took up to the top of the glacier – named the Porcupine!
For the especially brave, there is a guided walk along the glacier but don’t try it alone – uneven melting and freezing causes deadly crevices that have been the sight of tourist injuries or even deaths over the years.
Here the melting of the glacier ice causes little rivers of crystal clear glacier water – we tasted it and it was delicious but very cold – no ice cubes needed!
Ice driven rivers meet and merge into bigger ones along the glacier’s edges.
Across the glacier on one of the mountains that surround the ice fields, we spotted this ice lizard making its way to the summit to bask in the warm sunlight.
After visiting the Banff and Jasper area we continued our drive north deep into British Columbia.