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Jasper National Park
Mount Robson Provincial Park
Banff National Park (Lake Louise area)
Calgary Glenbow Museum
Yu. Shestopaloff, K. Shestopaloff
The photos were made in the second half of June, 2010. This winter was snowy, so that it was unusual to see so much snow at this time, but we were lucky and, in fact, we did not regret. Although some trails were closed, it did not influence much our plans. We just could not get to the end of some trails because of the snow and stopped earlier. Otherwise, it was a nice trip, and the weather showed us the whole spectrum of its beauty, including chilly and stormy winds, cloudy skies, rainfalls, but also lots of sunshine. We swam in the lake near Jasper, but that mostly was an act of courage and the matter of principle rather than enjoyment of swimming.
We used the guide "Donít waste your time in Canadian Rockies" by Kathy and Craig Copeland to choose the trails. This is a good book, and thank you very much my friend Jacob for recommending it. If not this book, our travel might be of a different quality. There are some nice backpacking trails we would like to hike next time, in particular Berg Lake in Mount Robson Provincial Park and Skyline in Jasper National Park. We hiked large part of the Berg Lake route, but did not get to the end, because we did not plan to do backpacking.
Jasper, from our perspective, was the best from all visited places. It is less crowdy than Banff National Park, and especially Lake Louise area, and more friendly. We met Rita from Information centre in Jasper. We really enjoyed talking to her on different subjects and get trail information. It is unlikely you can have such a chat in Lake Louise these days, although before we did. But time is changing.
We started our trip from Edmonton (if you do the same, visit Petroleum Museum), and then visited all parks in sequence toward Calgary, and eventually stayed there. Unless you have some specific purpose in Edmonton, it makes sense to begin and end in one place, probably Calgary is better. Traveling through two cities is much more expensive and does not add much to your trip. Driving from Edmonton to Jasper is sort of boring, while the drive from Calgary to Jasper through Banff National Park and Icefield Parkway is a picturesque ride.
Now, here are the photos of some trails.
Bald Hills, Jasper. Nice hike, although on the way down through the forested area it might look as a long one. We did not follow the hiking trail above the tree line because it was under snow, but went straight to the summit from the left side through snow patches.
Icefield Parkway. This is a road from Lake Louise to Jasper. Closed in winter time.
Jasper town. Nice and cozy town, good people, sightseeing, trails nearby, lakes.
Jasper Lookout trail. Trail near Jasper, just few minutes. Good for rest days between strenuous hiking.
Maligne Canyon, not far from Jasper. Starts as a mountain river, and gradually becomes an exotic canyon. Nice walk for
Berg Lake, Mount Robson Provincial Park. (Only part of the trail, sorry, but we'll back for the whole trip!) Nice trail. Even the forest part is good, you see rainforest, the path goes along the river. Further, lots of open and really nice views. I like the valley view from the far end of the valley.
Wilcox Pass, near Icefiled Parkway Information Centre. Busy, but not as much. Then, people disperse on the plain after ascend, and you are on your own. We've been there two times, in different weather, but we did not have camera in the second time, and it is really a pity, because the weather was beautiful: snow, rain, wild wind, clouds swiping through the valley with breaks, etc. Very short ascend through the forest and you get the magic views right away. We do not thing it is a good idea to approach wild animals. We saw how they were alerted when people approached too close.
Eiffel Lake, Lake Louise. Very good trail. Rugged terrain in the last third part, nice views, especially with snow, quick ascend through the forest. Not popular route apparently, maybe because of the snow; we were lonely strangers in that time and it was quite cold but nice.
Six Glaciers trail, Lake Louise. Crowdy any time, but worth going anyway. Try very early hours or evening.
Glenbow Museum, Calgary. Gives an idea about local specifics and history; you will get the feeling of the West and the spirit. Mineral collection is good, but the presentation could be better. I saw other mineral museums, which presented their collections more inventively. It was here I tuned up the feeling of difference between this western province and the rest of the country, which is not small. Overall, Calgary and Edmonton are good regional centres with all the appropriate components and active population (maybe a little bit more aggressive and provincial on average than it should be for their own good).