Thursday, August 18, 2005 –
This morning we headed south back down to see the Athabasca Glacier, an accessible part of the Columbia Icefield. The massive icefield rests over almost 195 square miles and ranges from 325 to 1200 feet deep in some places. It feeds eight glaciers, including the Athabasca. We visited the Icefield Centre before a large “snowcoach” – a bus on monster snow tires – took us across the highway to the Athabasca Glacier and on to an arm of it. They let us out for a while so we could walk on a fair flat portion of it free from crevasses.
After finished the snowcoach tour, we drove north towards Jasper. We stopped about 18 miles outside of town at Athabasca Falls, a waterfall in Jasper National Park on the upper Athabasca River. After following a trail through a beautiful wooded canyon, we ascended some very nicely made wooden boardwalks and platforms past rolling rapids until we arrived at the falls. A tremendous volume of water gushed over the 80-foot tall and 60-foot wide falls carving a steep gorge through the limestone walls of the valley.
That afternoon arrived at the Jasper Skytram, located about 5 miles south of Jasper. We boarding the longest and highest guided aerial tramway in Canada as we climbed for about seven minutes up to approximately 7,500 feet above the town. We could see Jasper, rivers, lakes and more than six mountain ranges. We did a small hike above the tram to a lookout and admire the view for about an hour.
After we descended and enjoyed the sunset, we headed to our lodging, the Pine Bungalows. The cabins are located in Jasper National Park on the banks of the Athabasca River. We had dinner at the restaurant and even saw some deer outside our cabin that night.