Ever felt like you were driving into a series of postcards? That the land itself is so vast and the form and light and colour so vibrant that you may become overfull and burst with the grandeur… welcome to the Rocky Mountains, Canada
We stepped off the train as though into an altered state of reality that held us enthralled for the next 230 kms as we drove to from Jasper to Lake Louise along the Icefields Parkway where we stayed the next two nights.
On the way saw our first bear in the wild!!!! It was an unexpectedly emotional experience, as if something was still seriously in balance at least somewhere in the wilderness… Now we have seen five different black bears, but no grizzly bears yet – they are so endangered that they are all numbered.
To say it is a feast for the eyes and senses… and spirit… is an understatement…
Lake Louise is an extraordinarily breathtaking azure blue lake nested into a cluster of snow crested peaks. We hiked up an 8km mountain trail above and beyond it, through snow and ice to Lake Agnes and a very welcome log cabin tea house where all the supplies are hiked in. It was all even more spectacular from above.
We have since spotted deer, elk, long haired mountain goats, curly horned mountain sheep, chipmunks, red squirrels and striped ground squirrels. Birds are abundant too- we have heard woodpeckers, a huge solitary trumpeter swan, bluebirds, striking kingfishers, an unusual black billed magpie. The crows here are as big as a decent hawk in Australia, no wonder they are so significant as totem animals.
At the Columbia Icefields we took a special trip onto the Athabasca Glacier and walked on ice well over a kilometer thick and drank from the glacial melt. As awesome as it was, it felt sad with impending loss as the lifespan of particularly these smaller glaciers may well be shorter than our children’s.
We gladly returned along the same route but with the reverse aspect to where we are now spending the next two nights 60 kms the other side of Jasper. Imagine driving from Melbourne to Port Fairy with every turn having another majestic chocolate box view to wow over!! Then of course there are all the side tracks to waterfalls, and frozen and spring thawing lakes, interspersed with turquoise ponds, while all along accompanied by the limestone fed pale blue Athabasca River.
Words and photos will never quite describe the wonder of Ghai’s formative expression….