It is always a pleasure to be back in my beloved Rocky Mountains. I am currently sitting in the Visitor Centre of the Columbia Icefields, while my group visits the receding Athabasca Glacier.
The Icefields are always a highlight – offering brave visitors a winter experience 360 days a year.
Yet the entire 230 km’s between Lake Louise and Jasper is always a highlight. Along with Cape Breton’s Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia, the ‘Parkway’ consistently makes all the various lists of the ‘most spectacular drives on Earth.’
I could not possibly count how many times I have travelled north or south on this road, but even claiming true ‘local’ status, I still revel in the views and environment.
Even though the journey is not particularly long, I always feel a little more tired at the end of a day guiding through these valleys than elsewhere. I think my fatigue is a result of enthusiasm. I know how important a trip along highway 93 North is and I always want my fellow travellers to soak up as much beauty as possible.
By every measure this region is spectacular. Indeed one suffers a dearth of superlatives when describing the view. Awesome may be generously applied.
Animals, mountains, glaciers, five river valleys and interesting human history.
Over the last three days, I have travelled both north and south along this highway. Even with rain (and often snow) I enjoy hearing enthusiastic scenic gasps.
I will offer one negative, however. The so-called Glacier Skywalk. This privately-run ‘attraction‘ is an unfortunate eyesore on an otherwise perfect route.
In order to build this unattractive walkway, we – the masses – lost a beautiful viewpoint. The glass floor on the curved bridge is less than 1000 ft up, despite assertions of walking out at 7200 feet.
It is a shame permission was given for such a tourist trap. Yet as long as the Skywalk is not a stop, the route is well worth visiting during every season and the services in Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper are generally excellent.
This particular trip has been very rainy, yet my group are enjoying every moment, and very honestly I enjoy them. It is so nice to share my home with such enthusiastic and warm people.