The Icefields Parkway is a truly spectacular drive through 140 miles of amazing Canadian landscape. A drive that takes you north through the mountainous region of Banff National Park and into Jasper. During the winter the snow swept highway takes you up into the mountains and down to the lakes with views that will take your breath away.
Travelling through in the winter we hardly saw a single person. There were huge car parks completely empty at every stop. This must be a very popular drive in the summer. When we stopped at the Athabasca Glacier we were completely alone as we took a short walk. There was one other car in the car park but no one in sight. In the windscreen was a note, ‘Be back Thursday’. That was four days away! As we looked up the majestic glacier and the clouds blew over we saw a person disappearing over the ridge.
Visiting the glacier put things in perspective. I had always heard about climate change and how the planet was changing but, until this point, I had never really seen any physical proof. At the car park there was a sign that indicated where the glacier was in 1890. Then we walked past 1935 and 1990. It was jaw dropping how far the glacier had retreated. The rate at which the glacier moved forward was not enough to keep up with the speed at which it melted.
It would have been a completely different trip in the summer, the roads covered in cars, people all over the place. I enjoyed the drive in the winter, it created a beautiful and harsh landscape. The complete opposite of the summer. There was one thing, everything was covered in snow. At first it was beautiful but then I grew slightly tired of seeing frozen lakes covered in waist deep snow. it would have been nice to enjoy the beauty of summer and but still I wouldn’t have traded it in.
To see what Banff National Park looks like in the summer why not take a look at the blog Rockies Outdoors.
While working in the Canadian Rockies I was presented with an usual opportunity. One that I am likely to never get again. The chance to help rescue a trapped moose.
I was working in a ski resort and during the night a moose had walked out of the woods and onto the ski run only to find itself getting its antlers tangled in the safety netting that lines the run. The moose was found during ski patrols morning sweep and by that time he was tired and completely stuck in the netting.
After a few novelty photos they called it in.
A moose is a huge animal, a lot larger than most people expect. They have spindly legs and a massive body that makes them perfect for falling through people’s windscreens and crushing them. Moose are responsible for more accidents than bears!
Once the moose was found wildlife and game were called out and after a few hours they were at our location. And who was asked to meet them and carry their equipment? Me. Any other time carrying someones stuff from a van would sound boring and mundane but this time I was happy to do it. At their van I was handed a tool box while my friend was handed the rifle!
As we took the chair lift we grabbed a camera from another friend and said to the wildlife and game guys that we hoped our boss would let us take photos. They assured us that it would be fine as they needed photos for “research purposes”.
It was actually a simple process. The moose was too tired and caught up in the netting to move so one of the guys was able to walk behind him and poke him with a long stick with a needle on it. When the moose was out cold they removed the netting from his antlers and once he woke up he was free to go.
“Who wants to take pictures with him?”
As we heard that we all rushed in from our safety distance and were able to get up close and personal with the moose while he slept through the whole event.
If the scenery wasn’t art enough, Simon Beck has created man made art in the beautiful landscape of Banff National Park. Man made art enhanced by the natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies. Give him a large open snow covered space and he will create large murals just by walking.