After visiting Lake Louise, Drama Papa and I headed north along the Icefields Parkway. This parkway is peculiar to me as it is inside a national park but also a main highway along with highway speeds. National Parks are well known for their slow speed limits but we were able to zip right along.
We continued along the Icefields Parkway, reaching the Columbia Icefield and the Athabasca Glacier. As we toured the visitor center I became super excited about an unplanned excursion, taking a ride on the Ice Explorer out to the glacier and then being able to walk around glacier. My heart fluttered with excitement until Drama Papa said “I don’t want to do that”. Uh OK… why not? This looked amazing!?!?!? In hindsight I wish I would have ditched him at the visitor center and taken the ride by myself. Next time I am there I will be sure to go!
We did however walk up to the Athabasca Glacier. As we were walking Drama Papa mentioned that he did not think it was as far to the glacier as it was when he was a child. I figured it was just because it was 25 years later and he did not have the energy of a little kid anymore. Turns out he was right. As we walked up to the glacier the trail was marked with signs indicating where the glacier was at certain years and showed the obvious melting pattern. It was pretty disheartening to see how much the glacier had receded. The glacier is still rather large at about 125 square miles (325 square km) even if it is melting at a pretty steady pace.
After our jaunt to the glacier we continued on, stopping at the Sunwapta Falls Resort. We grabbed a quick beer at the resort and chatted with the bartender, who recommended we visit the Sunwapta Falls just down the road. We took a quick walk down to the falls and were pleasantly surprised with a nice little waterfall.
We also made a stop at Athabasca Falls which is about 20 miles (32 Kilometers) south of Jasper. It was another fairly small waterfall but who doesn’t like a waterfall, right?