In my last post, Visiting Alberta Rockies, I told you about visiting Lake Louise. I received a lovely encouraging comment from Alisendopf saying that we had chosen a good time to visit as nowadays Lake Louise is brimming with tourists. We had the Lake virtually to ourselves which would be rare now. You can see how private and unfrequented it was.
Highway 93 is a north-south highway in Alberta.
I am going to tell you about the sights we visited in order, along the route, although we stopped to visit some of the following sights on our way back from Jasper. First we were required to buy the Canadian national parks permit in order to travel on the Icefields Parkway and at the parkway gate there was a booth where we bought the permit. As we drove along the scenic route to Jasper from Lake Louise we were so struck by the geological formations. I am not going to even try to give you an explanation of the geography as it was so vast. We were told that snow can be expected at any time of year but, as we were traveling in autumn, we would miss the extreme weather conditions of winter.
Our next stop after Lake Louise was Peyto Lake which is near the highway. It is also turquoise in colour because it is fed by the glacier which has scoured and crushed the rocks into a fine powder called flour which gives it its colour: blue, green or turquoise. It was named after Bill Peyto (1869 – 1943) who was an early mountain guide, trapper and warden for Banff Park, Alberta. As a South African I found it interesting that he was enlisted in 1899, by Britain, to serve in Lord Strathcona’s Horse Regiment in the Boer War (Freedom War in South Africa).
As we continued, we enjoyed the amazing views of rock faces, snow and a river bed alongside the road.
Saskatchewan River Crossing, Alberta
You can find The Crossing Resort 85 km (51 mi) north of Lake Louise, at the junction of Highway # 93 (the Icefields Parkway), and Highway # 11, the David Thompson Highway. It was named “The Crossing,” as historically in the 19th century, it was used as the place to cross the North Saskatchewan River when travelers and fur traders made their way to and from British Columbia and Europe. The North Saskatchewan River flows out into the Hudson Bay and that’s why it became part of the major traders’ route.
As we traveled the highway the Saskatchewan River Crossing was the only place where we could get basic services, between Lake Louise and Jasper. We stopped to fill up with gasoline and get something to eat at the restaurant. One can lodge there but we drove onto Jasper. Luckily we were traveling at a time where these services were open as they are seasonal and closed during the winter.
Next place we stopped was to look at Athabasca glacier: we were so thankful for the jackets we bought which protected us against cold icy wind that nipped at us. We didn’t really care what we looked like at this point we just piled on the layers.
The last place along the way which we stopped at was the Athabasca falls. I love waterfalls. I feel the energy and I find it to be very sacred. As I stood looking out at the falls and observing I thought about all the generations of different cultures who might have come before to stand at this point. I felt at one with these people. Look at how the water has forged into the rock over the years.
Next up will be our last stop and visit at Jasper: with elk and grizzly bear.