Day 9: Jasper to Canmore (Alberta)

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The only way to describe today is "absolutely awesume". 

This was a sightseeing and photo day rather than a motorcycle riding day. Total miles  covered was approximately 180 and most "iron buts" would consider that limited mileage laughable.  I do believe riding a motorcycle intensifies the experience of seeing some of the incredible sights of nature we drove by today.

After a good breakfast at the Astoria Inn, we spent some time in Jasper (Alberta Canada) this morning shopping for some items to send the wives and kids. 

We then left Jasper on the Icefields Parkway. This is a spectacular drive along the backbone of the North American Continent was designed expressly to dramatize the incredible landscape of the Canadian Rockies.  This parkway (highway 93) runs below the highest mountains in the Canadian Rockies.

Jasper is inside Jasper National Park which was established in 1907 and inthe largest park representing the Rocky Mountain region. We stopped at several points along the drive through  to absorb the views of deep valleys and ice capped peaks.  We have several pictures of these.

One of our stops was the Columbia Icefield and the Athabasca Glacier.  The glacier is fairly close to the Parkway, so you are allowed to drive near enough for a fairly short (but steep) walk to the base of the glacier.  Markings reflect the edge of the glacier in 10 year increments starting in 1982.   The amount the glacier has receded during this 25 year period is remarkable.  We took a number of photos and Josh got some good video of the Athabasca river runing under the glacier (actually created by the melting of the glacier).

Continuing on the Icefields Parkway, we were passed by about 25 bikes whose riders all had jackets with logos "Alberta Hell's Angels".  They all rode Harley's and "hogged" the road somewhat.  I was so surprised, I forgot to start my camera for a picture--what a missed opportunity.

I think my camera mounted on the handlebar of my bike is working pretty well . I took a number of pictures of Josh, Jared and the scenery as we travelled the parkway.  I think I took about 150 pictures and we culled to about 15 for uploading tonight.  You be the judge.

The Icefields Parkway also passes through Banff National Park.  This is the birthplace of Canada's national park system, created around the  mineral springs near Banff townsite.  Banff National Park has 25  of the 30 Canadian Rockies' peaks that exceed 10,000 feet.  Needless to say the sights were awe inspiring.  It was hard to concentrate on keeping the bike between the lines when you are looking at a 12,000 ft snow cap peak and a few weeks ago, you were in 100+ degree temperatures in Columbia SC.  We stopped at a number of the turnouts to take pictures. 

We visited Bow Summit, the highest point on the parkway (6785 ft) and visited the Peyto Lake viewpoint. You can see the lake and the Crowfoot Glacier.  Peyto Lake is one of the most photographed lakes in the world.  We have  a number of pictures of the  lake, the Glacier and surrounding peaks, and have included a few for this upload.

We continued down the Parkway to the town of Banff.  This is a peak season and we weren't able to get accomodations.  Apparently Banff is a very popular ski destination with over 4 million visitors annually.

Toninght we are  in Canmore Alberta.  We have scheduled a float/fly fishing trip tomorrow and this is where the guide suggested we meet him.  Canmore is located on the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies and about one and 1/2 hours from Calgary.  In the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, Canmore hosted the Nordic events including biathlon and cross country skiing.



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