Athabasca Falls

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27 travelers at this place:

  • Day286

    Athabasca Falls and Five Lakes, Canada

    July 30, 2017 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Falls, runs and hot pools.

    We survived the night. Probably due to our dutiful obeying of the rules: storing all food, food related products and food associated clothing in the sealed car. What great campers we've become!

    It was a leisurely day. The fact that our holiday is almost over came crashing down like the hopes of NZ when Wayne Barnes missed a forward pass in the quarter finals of the 2007 RWC (oh are we over that yet?). We are savouring our time accordingly. Clearing the schedule and appreciating time to do nothing (not even blog...hence the delay).

    We did manage a trip to the great Athabasca falls, the furthest upstream salmon migration point - I'm sure you'll see why in the photo. We also hazarded a jog in some torturous heat in the Valley of the Five Lakes. They had water clarity to die for and water temperature to kill you. The irony of the hot/cold dilemma took another moment to laugh at us.

    Lunch was chicken wraps in a downtown Jasper park, freshly prepared in our portable kitchen, which isn't much more than a chilly bin and a burner. But you wouldn't guess it based on meal quality.

    We spent most of the afternoon searching for a campsite which has become a bit of a regular pastime. It's peak season and everything is booked up, so we've been placing our bets on late cancellations - a very hit and miss affair. This afternoon held a lot of misses and we ended up in the best part of a very underwhelming overflow campsite in Snaring.

    Accordingly we spent as little time as possible there, and passed the evening at the Miette Hot Pools. It was a lovely setting for hot pools but it was hard to appreciate it when it was so packed. We undertook chronic people watching, mostly fascinating by the variety of shapes, sizes, outfits and behaviours of the multicultural and varied-age group of tourists. We even spotted the coveted Burkhini in action!
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  • Day51

    Icefield Parkway - Athabasca Falls

    June 9, 2017 in Canada ⋅ 🌧 9 °C

    An diesem Geburtstag von Robert werden wir uns noch lange erinnern können. Der Icefield Parkway ist echt einzigartig. Es wird schwierig für uns sein, jemals eine schönere Straße auf dieser Welt zu finden. Wie bereits auf den vielen Bildern zu sehen ist, bietet dieser Highway alles was Landschaft ausmacht. Dazu hatten wir auf 300 km Strecke das Wetter aller Jahreszeiten.
    Die Athabasca Falls sind im Vergleich zu den restlichen Wässerfällen ziemlich besonders, da diese über mehrere Ebenen herunterfallen und dabei von einem Canyon umrahmt werden. Sie gehören zu den beeindruckendsten Fällen, die wir bisher bestaunen durften.
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  • Day9

    Walking on Ice

    August 4, 2017 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    Alarm didn't go off this morning, but woke about 7.30 anyway. We weren't in a big rush as our Glacier Walk was 1.45 at the Icefields Centre about 1.5 hours drive away (plus stops). Got to breakfast about 8.30 and it was busy, but no buses, they'd already gone. Filled up - the breakfasts here had been just right for what we needed each morning. Packed car, getting ever fuller (!) and were off at 9. We followed the guide we had used northbound, some parts were the same but some were different. We stopped at Horsehoe Lake - the overnight rain (we had heard thunder) had raised the water level and flooded the path so we couldn't walk too far around, but it was a nice peaceful place - we were the only ones there. The poor weather (it was dull and rainy at times - first rain of our trip) seemed to have reduced the number of people around compared to when we travelled the other way.

    Next stop was Athabasca Falls - we had stopped there on way but hadn't gone all the way to the viewpoints on the other side which I wanted to do, so we headed straight to them. Again was less busy than before, though still busy. The rain had given the falls much more power this time and it was good that we had stopped again to see them in full flow. We stopped in the spray from the falls for some photos and took some of, other people, having to be quick to get shots without other tourists wandering into view.

    Back on the road and we went straight through from here to the Icefields Centre, arriving about 11.30. Kids were hungry, despite large breakfasts so we went upstairs to the restaurant and just got in ahead of a bus load of people. It was canteen style and chicken burgers were not quite ready, so we waited. Sam had fries and a banana as everything on offer had cheese on it. I had a slice of Hawaiian pizza. All tasty and restaurant was very busy now so we did wiell to get in when we did.

    After eating we went downstairs in the centre where there was an exhibition of old photos and a movie that played every half hour. We went in the theatre a bit before show time and chatted a little to an older couple in the row behind, then it started. It wasn't what we expected, a film with no speaking that really just showed off the local scenery, cutting between a boy, a middle aged man and an older man, who found, lost and found a rock in the mountains. Was well shot but, as the lady behind said at the end, not sure what that was all about. She chatted a bit more, telling us we could try the Bow Falls walk tomorrow from Lake Louise and suggesting where we could get a sandwich from to take with us in the town. Not sure we will have time to do this this time, but will file away for another visit.

    We killed some more time in the gift shop then the toilets before driving across and down to the car park nearest the toe of the glacier. Found a spot, though it was quite busy and found the van with the ice walk staff and equipment. Got checked in by a local chap called Kevin, signed the now familiar waivers and got kitted out. Tash had some extra waterproof trousers, Sam borrowed a hat and me some gloves.Ed needed some hiking boots and we all got spikes to clip onto boots once we got on the ice.

    We assembled in a picnic hut and once a dozen or so people were ready, Kevin our guide collected us. Had to shout Tash back from the long queue for the single toilet cubicle as she seemed to think she needed to go again!

    We set off - Sam was nervous about walking on the ice and found another lady, also an ex teacher who was equally trepidatious and they supported each other. The steepest part of the walk was at the beginning across the terminal moraine of the glacier. We stopped at the 1982*marker, where the end of the glacier had been then. It was probably 150 metres or so further back today and receding by 20 metres a year at the moment. Kevin was a wealth of info on the glacier throughout.

    We continued on and left the normal tourists behind and crossed the stream flowing from the glacier by means of a plank and a metal pole held up as a hand rail - Kevin at one end and Ed at the other as human posts. We were then on the glacier, much browner and dirtier up close than it looked from a distance. We clipped our spikes over the bottom of our boots - essentially like snow chains for a tyre, so just adding some extra grip. The glacier was much easier to walk on than we had imagined, was not slippery at all. We walked up, crossing various streams of water and ditches, helping the less confident across.

    At our first stop Kevin used an ice axe he had brought with him to chip away below the surface where we then saw the typical blue white colour of glacial ice.

    A girl called Eleanor, about 7 or 8, kept walking ahead of the guide, despite her mum's protestations. She was a bit of a pain at times being very confident! We looked at a series of mill wells, big deep holes made by water flowing off the glacier exploiting small weaknesses in the ice to carve out a big hole. Kevin was very careful, holding our arms or backpack straps as we leant across to take a look down. They were very deep. The glacier was about 80 metres deep at this point. At the second mill well, Ed was approaching and tripped on his spikes as one came loose and fell forwards, narrowly avoiding falling into the deep hole. He was shocked, as was Sam, I had only seen the tail end of it so was less shocked. All ended well, but was a heart in mouth moment. We walked about 2/3 of the way to the point where the snow was tumbling off the icefield into the glacier channel. All in all the walk was about 6km.

    We paused for a break and filled water bottles with glacial water. It was very cold and tasted slightly smoky due to an ash cloud from the forest fires that had come down with the rain the previous night. Was refreshing though as the water we had brought with us had run out. Kevin then laid an ice pick across the stream and challenged people to do push ups on it to get a drink. One lad did 15 or so, his mum had a go and couldn't push back up.

    We then wended our way back down the glacier, stopping to look at some poles on the surface. These were original sunk into the glacier to measure its depth and were now measuring recession by tape marks put on. The last pole had been embedded in the glacier only 2 or 3 weeks before. The glacier was shrinking quite a lot each year as less snow fell at the top than melted away at the bottom. Eleanor had found a moth on the way down and felt sure it would die in the cold so carried it down in cupped hands all the way to the car park!

    Once off the glacier we took our borrowed stuff off then gave Kevin a tip (for saving Ed from falling in the hole if nothing else!) then drove across the road to use the loos in the icefield centre then we headed off to Lake Louise. Took about 2 hours to get there and we arrived about 7 at the Post Hotel. Sat nav wasn't working so we had trouble finding it. Ed saw a sign but we still couldn't find it so just caught the tourist info before it closed who told us it was just the next left. The hotel was smarter than those we've stayed in before. I had booked a two king bed room, but the lady offered us two single bedded rooms next to each other which we took. The porter brought in our luggage - had no change to tip him. We confirmed that we were booked in the restaurant for 8 and after freshening up we went down about 7.45. It was an upmarket place and the food was good. Had some ice wine finally for dessert which was good. Ed made us all laugh when we asked him where his napkin was and he said 'I don't have it anymore'.

    Back to our room after dinner, kids and us got settled and dropped off. People outside were noisy a couple of times in the night. Think just passers by rather than hotel guests.

    We set the alarm for later as we decided against rushing out early and would use the hotel facilities of pool etc a little before we left.
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  • Day18

    Athabasca Falls

    April 27, 2017 in Canada ⋅ 🌧 5 °C

    Die Athabasca Falls sind 23 Meter hohe Wasserfälle im Athabasca River im Jasper-Nationalpark in Alberta, Kanada nahe dem Icefields Parkway (Highway 93). Sie liegen etwa 30 Kilometer südlich von Jasper.

    Das Wasser hat sich durch eine Schicht harten Quarzits und den darunter liegenden Kalkstein gegraben und dabei eine schmale, kurze Schlucht und einige Potholes gebildet. Die Fälle sind nicht wegen ihrer Höhe bekannt, sondern wegen der Kraft, mit der das Wasser über den zweigeteilten Fall fließt. Der Athabasca River führt hier meistens zwischen 100 und 200 m³/s, welche dann durch die nur etwa 30 Meter breiten Spalten stürzen. Die größte geschätzte Wassermenge, die der Fall führte, lag bei rund 500 m³/s.

    Bei unseren Besuch war die Wassermenge aber bedeutend kleiner, denn die Schneeschmelze in den Bergen hat noch nicht eingesetzt. Vor einem Monat war der Fall gar noch gefroren.
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