2013 Trip Six, The Northwest, July 3

Canmore, Alberta July 3

We returned to the Lake Louise area of Banff National Park today. We spent several hours at the Lake Louise ski area. They have a summer program that involves a chairlift or gondola ride up the mountain along with views of the area and wildlife talks and walks.

Grizzly bear and cub

Grizzly bear and cub

We chose the chairlift. I took a chance I would not get vertigo on the ride up. Not only was the ride up perfectly fine, we saw a grizzly bear and her cub from the chairlift. That was a very safe means to see a grizzly.

From the ski area, we had great views of Lake Louise across the valley. The lake looks more like a seafoam color from the distance.

Lake Louise from ski lift

Lake Louise from ski lift

The ski area offers a guided walk into their protected grizzly bear area. The ski area works with Parks Canada and has established a perimeter around the ski zone. They have safe zones where the grizzlies have their natural habitat and protected ski runs for us humans. You can only enter the grizzly habitat area with a guide and for a limited period of time. Of course, we didn’t really want to see a grizzly up close and personal.

We chose the chairlift ride option that includes a buffet lunch and after lunch we headed out for the Icefields Parkway. The parkway extends from Lake Louise to Jasper. We will be using this road later to reach Jasper after we leave Vancouver. We chose to drive a portion of the parkway today because there are many sites to see. This will allow us to concentrate on Jasper National Park when we visit in August.

Bow Lake

Bow Lake


Bow glacier, falls, and lake

Bow glacier, falls, and lake

We stopped at the Crowfoot Glacier viewpoint. There used to be three glaciers here. One has disappeared. One has shrunk dramatically and the last one is contracting.

The second stop was Bow Lake. Bow Lake is the closest lake to the headwaters of the Bow river, one of the rivers that caused so much flooding in June. The river is still running high and fast. The lake colors are in that blue to sea foam to emerald color that is dependent on rock dust to set its color.

Bow glacier supplies water to Bow Lake. Like others in the area, it is shrinking but you can see the glacier and the water feeding the lake.

We continued on the Icefields Parkway over Bow Summit. At 6800 feet, it is the highest year round driveable road in the Canadian Rockies. (At this point, we have yet to drive on any narrow, winding roads we encountered so frequently in the U.S. But we have been primarily going north to south, not east to west.)

Peyto glacier

Peyto glacier


Peyto Lake with incoming water from left

Peyto Lake with incoming water from left


Peyto Lake, another look

Peyto Lake, another look


Mountain and valley view from Bow Summit

Mountain and valley view from Bow Summit


At the Bow Summit area, we walked up to the overlook to see Peyto Lake and several glaciers. Peyto Lake is also fed by glacier run off. The incoming water infused with rock dust makes an obvious entry into the lake. We continued on the Parkway to Saskatchewan Crossing where we turned around (after an ice cream break.)

Our final view-point was back along Bow Lake to walk along the water’s edge and shoot some pictures from a different perspective. Back to Canmore at 7 pm and time to plan the next several days activities.

As we arrived, the water crews were flushing the lines. Maybe the boil water requirement will be lifted before we leave. In Canmore, there is no trash pick-up from the front of your house. Due to bears, all trash must be brought by the residents to central bear proof dumpsters.

Ed and Chris July 3 10 pm

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