After visiting mainly big cities in the last one and a half months we really needed a break from all the noise and the masses of people and we probably could not have found a better place to recharge our batteries than the Banff and Jasper National Parks in the province of Alberta, Canada.
We spent just 10 days here but you could probably stay here for weeks if not for months and you wouldn’t get bored. These parks are just amazing. Every day we went hiking on some amazing trails and got the chance to see a couple of the most scenic views we have ever seen. For example we went hiking from the beautiful Lake Louise which has emerald water up to Lake Agnes. This is supposed to be the most hiked trail in Canada and I’m quite sure that’s not exaggerated though if you get there early, before 10 AM, you have the whole nice views almost for yourself. Then there’s Moraine Lake which is a true wonder of the nature. Its color makes you think you’re somewhere in the Maldives or on the islands somewhere in Polynesia if it weren’t for the mountains covered with snow in the back of the lake which make the view just perfect.
Today, on the last day we went hiking on the Bow Summit (2088m) and got some wonderful pictures of the Peyto Lake and the Bow Lake with the Bow Glacier. Do I need to say that these views were also as close to perfection as you could get?
The nice thing about Banff and Jasper is that it doesn’t stop with the nice lakes and hiking trails. You have a couple of glaciers that are so amazing that you just sit there and wonder about the amount of ice. The best ones that we saw are the Athabasca and the Glacier on Mount Edith Cavell. Then there is the road which crosses the two parks, the Icefields Parkway, which is by some rankings the most beautiful road in the world. You cannot get bored when driving here as the scenery is so spectacular, mountains, glaciers, lakes, waterfalls and wildlife all in the same picture.
Another impressive thing is that you have the chance to watch wildlife at almost every step. We saw grizzlies, some of them so big that you would need your brown pants if you met one face to face, black bears, coyotes, caribous, a sort of deer specific for this region, marmots, porcupines, a lot of different types of squirrels like the Columbian Squirrel and the Ground Squirrel, then there were wild cats and mountain goats and the list goes on and on. To come back to the Grizzlies, I want to say that the information you get in all tourist centers are very good. You get a checklist of how to behave if you meet a bear, a list of the hiking trails were bears have been seen and on the hiking trails were you have a good chance to see/meet one it is mandatory to travel in groups of minimum 4/6 people and make as much noise as possible so that the bear is not surprised when he sees you. And then is the last minute solution, the bear spray. I bought one but I’m more than happy that I didn’t have to use it . It’s supposed to scare the bear away if you hit his nose/eyes from less than 7 meters but then again, if a giant grizzly gets that close to you and you survive you probably need a new set of pants the next day .
One amazing thing we’ve seen or done
It’s hard to pick only one amazing thing from these two wonders of nature but if I would have to pick just one it would definitely be the Moraine Lake. Its color is unbelievable. I don’t want to go too far but it’s even nicer in reality than it looks in the pictures. To prove its perfection I need to say that it was the only “piece of nature” from Canada that made it on a Canadian Dollar, the 20 Dollar bill issued between 1969 and 1979.