On our last day of our Alberta trip, we drove back down the Icefields Parkway to Calgary, where we were flying home the next morning. We had all day to explore the Parkway so we scheduled a few stops along the way, and also pulled over at several of viewing spots set up along the highway.
Our first major stop was at the Athabasca Falls. The falls are so stunning that it’s impossible to take a bad shot of them (we were also helped by the fabulous weather). In fact, of these pics below, can you tell which of these were taken by my eight year old daughter, using her “camera” that is little more than a $50 toy?
(Answer: the first and third are kid shots.)
There’s a dry riverbed here, where the Athabasca River used to run but doesn’t anymore, which means you can walk right through the old canyon. The dry canyon comes out at the river below the falls, which has a distinctive milky look to it from (of course) glacial rock flour. The canyon was pretty much the only place on the whole trip where we saw a few mosquitoes – I’d brought bug spray everywhere but didn’t use it once. Not sure if that is typical of the area, or we just got lucky, but I was pretty happy about it.
Back in the car, we stopped at a few places (like the Saskatchewan River crossing, where there is a rest stop where you can get a burger for $14.95 – pack a lunch on Icefields Parkway day!).
Eventually we ended up at Bow Summit. Bow Summit is the highest public road in Canada – it’s a little side road to the parkway that takes you up to the top, where there’s a lovely view of Peyto Lake and its glacier.
Then it was, sadly, time to say goodbye to the mountains and head home. The next morning when we got up for our flight, it was pouring in Calgary – and later they had flooding and handfulls of hail. So we like to say Alberta was just as upset to see us go as we were to leave. We’ll be back soon, Alberta – kay?