Sep 22, 2010 - Alberta, Canada, Travel    2 Comments

The Icefields Parkway

The Icefields Parkway is considered to be one of, if not the most, beautiful drives in the world. National Geographic considers it one of the drives of a lifetime. I did my homework on this road! I researched grades, RV-worthiness, facilities, etc. and knew exactly what I was getting into as I headed south from Jasper towards Banff.

Except for one section after the Columbia Icefield, there are no major grades on the parkway, just a lot of small steep sections that could fool you into complacency and wear down your brakes. One of the things I quickly established was that I would not be able to stop as much as I would have liked for two reasons:

1) many rest stops and attractions were close-ended and too small to turn around with a toad;
2) they were at the bottom of hills and would require too much brake jamming to stop at.

I stopped whenever I felt I could safely do so and took long breaks to give both the brakes and the engine a chance for a rest, too.

The parkway starts off lined with trees and rimmed with jagged snowy peaks and then gradually climbs up to the Columbia Icefield where you can see the Athabasca glacier. I stopped at the centre there to see the exhibits, but was not tempted by a pricey trip up the glacier.

The Icefield is located about halfway and the day had been going so, so well. I could have driven up the glacier to a view point, but decided the grade was too steep and that if I made it up, I probably wouldn’t make it down. I was playing it safe.

So, I finally let myself relax and that was that. I’m not sure if I did something wrong going down that big grade, but I got my fill of mountain passes for a lifetime.

My picture gallery ends just after the Icefield. My mind was not on photography after that. 🙁

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  • Your pictures are fantastic! I have never seen a glacier, but I hope someday I get the chance.

  • One of the reasons I didn’t feel tempted by the glacier tour is that I saw so many of them in Alaska on the Chilkoot!

    I’ll say it again, that new camera astounds me!

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