We woke up to fresh snowflakes falling from the blue sky this morning. The ground, trees and mountains were covered in sparkling dust as we headed out of Canmore, AB to Hinton, AB (393 km/244 miles) today.
Our drive included countless views of majestic peaks and valleys of the Canadian Rockies along the IceField Parkway. After our first hour on the road, we stopped at Lake Louise. A strong chill was in the air due to the low temperature and heavy wind. After our initial peak at the lake, we headed indoors to a cafe to try the Canadian delicacy “nanaimo bars” and warm up with some coffee. Believe it or not, the climate changed for our second exposure to the lake. It was 5 degrees warmer and a milder wind. It is amazing how such a small difference can have such a big impact. The kids loved sliding down a mini snowbank and ‘skating’ on the ice covered sidewalk. The views of the lake with the mountainous background were amazing!
We drove a bit further and found ourselves at the foot of Athabasca Glacier, one of the ‘six principal toes of the Columbia Icefield.’ The glacier is almost 4 miles long, covers a little more than 2 square miles and is 980 ft thick. It was extremely cold, but this was our first glacier to see and the kids jumped and ran in the snow. There is a sign posted where the glacier extended to in 1908. Today, the glacier has receded almost a mile from that point.
We continued on clear roads with occasional flurries on the Icefield Parkway through Jasper until our destination in Hinton. We will sleep well tonight.