We have had plenty of cold, cloudy days on our journey northward, but today was an absolutely perfect day to make our journey down the Columbia Icefield Parkway.
As we drove through the mountains we marveled at their immenseness.
Our first stop was Peyto Lake. It was breathtaking. The blue of the water reminded me a lot of Crater Lake.
The next lake we cam to was Waterfowl Lake. Everything was so still, you could see the reflection of the sky and mountains.
We began to wind our way around the mountains and stopped at this overlook to see how far we had come.
The drive through the mountains was awesome.
We arrived at the Athabasca Glacier where the Columbia Icefield Discovery Center is located. It is the most visited glacier in North America because of its easy accessibility.
After we parked in the parking lot and had lunch, we headed to the Interpretive Centre to purchase our ticket for the Glacier Discovery Tour. We walked in, purchased our tickets, and were on the bus 15 minutes later. You ride a regular bus to the other side of the road near the glacier and then take this specially designed snow coach to the glacier's edge. We were told there are 23 of these snow coaches, 22 are here and 1 other is in Antarctica.
Riding to the glacier almost felt like being on the moon, it was rocky and desolate. This is the view as we went back up, but going to the glacier you go down the 32% incline!
Once we were at the glacier, we had 15 minutes to walk around. The ice was solid and any mushy places were marked with cones, so we felt safe. There was a stream of glacial blue water where we could fill water bottles if we wanted to.
There are actually three visible glaciers on the ride. We were told our brains are unable to comprehend the size because it is just so enormous.
People on the glacier.
Our obligatory picture by the glacier. :)
As we left, a sheep was spotted on the other side. I was able to get this picture after we had passed it.
We weren't through with our adventure yet. We loaded back onto the regular buses and headed down the road to the Glacier Discover Center. It is built off and over the side of the mountain with gorgeous overlooks.
You can walk out on a plexiglass walkway which extends out over the valley and then look down through the plexiglass. There were some great views.
After we returned to the Visitor Center, we watched a movie about the glacier and looked at the pictures showing the glacier over time.
You can dry camp at the Visitor Center overnight for $17 CAD, so this was our view for the night.