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Friday 1 Jun 2007
Jasper, Canada

... ok ENOUGH WITH THE MOUNTAINS ALREADY :)

Today was the day I was most looking forward to on the Rockies trip since I was going to finally see the one attraction that I've been anticipating since back in Ireland: Peyto Lake! ... more on that later...

We up and left Lake Louise camp ground around 10am. We hadn't paid for the ground on account of arriving late the night before, so were hoping we could sneak on out, but alas the Canadian park rangers are a hell of a lot more alert than the Ozzie ones I encountered back in 2004 where it was really easy to sneak in and out of parks. The 26 dollars was worth it though, since the camp ground facilities are really very good (as have all of the ones we've been to) with heated shower change rooms and clean kitchens/toilets everywhere.

Another thing to mention about the camps in the Rockies is that cute n cuddly animals like Grizzly Bears (!) wander about the place with as much freedom as they want. Basically you're not supposed to feed them as this will make them become dangerous to humans. Hence the bins are all "bear-proof" and have special latches on them.

They'll hunt and kill any bears that have attacked people. Of course you have to assume the person was killed or seriously maimed in the process too!

When we asked the ranger in Two Jack lake what do we do if a bear starts scratching Jonny's tent he replied:

"Well YOU'RE safe in the car..."

Unfortunately we haven't encountered any bears yet Blue

We've seen loads of chipmunks, moose and even huge-horned rams which wander the roads with abandon. No damn bears though... ah well they're still defo on my list of wild things to knock dow.. I mean photograph. Yeah!

Back to today...

After leaving the camp, we decided to check out Lake Louise once more since we were going to be passing by.

Wow what a difference a day (or two) makes; the lake was completely liquid. All the ice had apparently broken up and sunk last night. To be honest the lake was much less photogenic without the pieces of ice floating around.. so I'm really glad we managed to catch it 2 days ago when it was a fantastic view (photos coming soon...)

Leaving the lake behind, we headed north toward Peyto Lake and drove through the most dramatic mountainous terrain we had encountered thus far. I must have stopped the car about 20 times (much to the annoyance of Jonny) for photo opps that I would kick myself if I missed.

Finally we came up to Peyto Lake. The turn off was not very clearly signposted (it's not even marked on most maps) since the lake is strangely not regarded as a major tourist attraction.

It soon became evident why this was so...

The path up to the viewing point (about 500m) was entirely full of 2ft deep snow!

Nevertheless we persevered: Jonny ending up with soggy shoes and socks, and me ending up with frostbite - almost - since I decided to do it in my sandals!! Extreme to the max (as always)

Slipping and sliding, we somehow made it to the viewing point with all our bits (and cameras) intact.

Wow what a view! Peyto Lake was exactly as it appeared on the images I saw on the net with it's glowing turquoise glacial waters and was one of the most beautiful sights I've seen on this trip so far (Lake Louise still ranks as the best though, since it was such a shocking surprise - we knew nothing about it when we went - I got the same reaction from Lake Louise that I got when I first saw the Grand Canyon)

I took the obligatory 500 photos of Peyto Lake before we inevitably headed further north until we arrived in Jasper (me stopping the car a further 20 times to take shots of the amazing landscape).

Talking of the heavy snow on the Peyto Lake trail, another thing we are generally finding on this trip is that many of the trails and even viewpoints are closed off due to recent avalanche activity. The entire region is Avalanche-Alley, and especially now with the 36C heat we are experiencing: this process seems to be accelerating dramatically (we often can hear the distinct rumble of an avalanche happening nearby as we stop for photo-opps). Soon there won't be any snow left on the mountain tops.

We've really come at the best time of year, since the mountains would be far-less photogenic without the snow. Additionally, we were told this hot weather is rather unusual since it tends to rain quite a lot (that would explain the abundance of pine trees everywhere). I guess we can give thanks to global-warming for this top-notch vacation we're having!


Jonny's enthusiasm for the sights is beginning to wane though with all these photo-stops Cheesy
Whereas 5 days ago he went crazy over a tiny patch of snow, now he barely flaps an eyelid when we pass a glacier.

You could say we're both becoming "mountained-out" and can sometimes take the scenery for granted after driving along it for 7 hours.. but only slightly: the scenery still takes my breath away each morning when I get up out of my "bed" in the Jeep and breathe in that great mountain air.

....and.. well, here we are in Jasper .. and I finally got a chance to update the blog Wink

For the rest of the trip: we're considering maybe trying to ride some rapids around Jasper, Jonny wants to try out a natural hot spring spa which I'm also up for, and then we start to make our way back toward Vancouver!

The trip is going along great... I'm getting a nice burnt "driver's arm" from having my arm outside the window when I'm at the wheel, plus my face is completely orange (a weird combination of tanned-skin and almost-burned flesh).

Rather amusing Cool

Btw, my partner in crime, Jonny, has a blog too which can be found at: http://www.globenotes.com/spacetweek

He has a different take on the stuff we've experienced and writes up little things I tend to ignore/forget about Wink

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Canadiana!

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Lake Louise (with ice!)

Lake Louise (with ice!)


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