June 4-5, 2006 - Icefields Parkway and Jasper, AB

We had noticed a Dutch Star and Mountain Aire a few campsites down from us and Bill thought he recognized at least one of them.  In the morning he found out he knew the owners of both motorhomes, John and Carl, and they were headed the same way we were.   We expected to meet up again.  We had last seen them at the Spartan Chassis rally in Charlotte, MI in September 2005.

The weather was not as nice this day as it was on the 2nd when we drove the car partway up the Icefields Parkway, but it wasn't raining or windy.   We found ourselves following a group of five motorhomes that looked like they were from the Tracks to Adventures caravan to Alaska.  At the first scenic stop they all pulled off and we didn't see them again until the end of the day. 

We drove past all the places we had stopped and then made it to new road.  There was no place to pull off until we got to Bridal Veil Falls and a valley view.  Here is the view:

Here is Bridal Veil Falls:

A larger view of the valley, you can see the parkway we came up below:

These next three photos are all through the windshield, bug splats and all since there were few places to pull off a big rig.

The parkway was very scenic, we saw deer, bighorn sheep and one moose.  We will need to come back and drive it all with the car so we can take the pull offs.   There were some rough sections of road, so we were happy to have changed the front tires in Fall City.  Our ride was improved with the larger tires.

Just after we crossed the second pass and into Jasper National Park we stopped at the Icefields Visitors Center.  We saw our friends' motorhomes from Lake Louise in the parking lot.  The Visitors Center is directly across from the Athabasca Glacier and here is a picture of the Athabasca Glacier from the Visitors Center:

You can take SnoCoach's on the glacier, here is close up showing them on the glacier:

Inside the Visitors Center you can buy tickets for the SnoCoach's and wait for your ride:

There are also a large number of exhibits on the glaciers, the national parks, the history of the area, etc., in the Visitors Center, quite informative.  We ran into Carl and Fran, the couple with the Dutch Star and chatted with them.  John and family were on a SnoCoach tour.

Here is a view across the parking lot, the RVs are way far away:

A close up showing our motorhome on the right:

Here is what a SnoCoach looks like:

A native alpine vetch growing in this cold and windy place.   A relative of this was a weed in our garden.

In 1849 the glacier came to the edge of the Visitors Center, now it is 1.5km west.  Here is a view of the Visitors Center from the motorhome.

After 145 miles we arrived at Whistlers Campground in Jasper National Park, a couple kilometers south of the town of Jasper.   We were in the middle of the group of Tracks to Adventure caravaners and it turned out we knew some of them from the Nutty Buddy's Rally in November 2005 in Florida.

Our campsite was tight, look how close the slide is to the tree:

Yes, Evita is in the windshield:

Notice the tree on the passenger side blocking a compartment:

Bill made an attempt to set up the satellite dish, but the trees blocked the signal all over our campsite.

We saw where Juanita and Jim of the Nutty Buddy's had parked and went over to say hello.   Turns out they were meeting up with the real caravan in Dawson Creek, BC, and were just traveling together from Florida.  They were going to leave their tow cars in Prince George, BC, where they would pick them up when the caravan was over.

While talking we saw Carl and John's motorhomes go by on the main campground road.  Since we were not unhooking the car this night we did not drive off to find them.

While checking in they told us to stay far away from the elk since it was calving season.  In the morning we saw elk in the campground and Bill took pictures, but was far away.  Here are the photos anyway:

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