It was time for the real roadtrip to begin! Time to take a nice leisurely 4 hour drive up the Icefields Parkway, supposedly one of the most scenic roads in North America. We were keen to see how it compared with Pacific Route 1 in California which we drove during our USA Roadtrip in 2014 which was pretty darn amazing.
The first stop off was to Lake Peyto however as we passed the Lake Louise area and headed more North it began to snow… Hmm this is cute, how fun! By the time we reached the car park for Lake Peyto however, there was a moderate dusting of snow everywhere! Despite the inappropriate footwear we decided to try the little uphill hike anyway. Ignoring the people slipping and sliding on their way back down I was too excited that I felt like I was in Narnia!
The snow was still falling on our way back down and I now had more sympathy for the the people struggling earlier. Ali was the first to fall straight on his butt 😂 which was funny until I remembered he was wearing the backpack full of cameras! Then we reached a steep slope covered in ice which had a gathering of people stuck at the top. Not wanting to live there for the rest of winter, I took the bushy area to the side whilst yelling at Ali to keep low (whilst he was pole dancing around a tree 😂) he has a long way to fall being that tall! I thought I was bossing it doing a sort of forward crab walk on my hands and feet leaning backwards…. until my foot slipped and I slid all the way down on my butt whilst gathering snow, mud and leaves up nails trying to brake… yeah so Canada is fun!
I’ve heard the drive is so scenic and beautiful that you can spend all day stopping at each view point to take pictures and stand in awe of snow capped mountains, forests and rivers. We however, could see barely anything. Really beautiful so glad we came!
From here there really was no point stopping at any other view points and there was absolutely nothing to view. The snow was getting heavier and visibility getting worse as the roads were winding steeply up and down mountains with sheer drops just feet from me…ok this isn’t fun anymore. When we finally reached just outside of Jasper hours later, there were lots of cars parked up looking at some huge caribou or elk or something but I was just desperate to get to our accommodation so I could have a small meltdown!
Our accommodation in Jasper was a little bedsit type place in someone’s basement (it was cute, not murdery like it sounds) the host lady confirmed snow like this in September is unheard of and they were not expecting it at all, phew were not unprepared idiots after all!
Unfortunately due to the weather our 2 days we’re fairly limited and relatively uneventful. Our attempt to visit Maligne Lake was short lived as the road had been closed due to the snow. We then attempted Maligne Canyon but after trying to park in the chaotic snowy car park for about 20 minutes I promptly stepped out of the car and directly into an ice cold slushy snow puddle up to my ankles… wearing flyknit trainers 😒 a further 20 minutes of drying my socks, shoes and feet in the car we decided to call it quits. We did discover Lake Patricia and Pyramid Lake on our way home but again the views were pretty limited due to the very low cloud, I wonder how beautiful this looks on a clear day?
After meeting Jasper the Bear, the rest of our time was mainly spent drinking steins of beer at the Jasper Brewing Company whilst watching trains we will never be able to afford to ride on, such as the Rocky Mountaineer, roll past.
Or drinking coffee and eating the famous Bear Paws at Jasper’s Bear’s Paw bakery! Both of these are a must visit!
It’s been a strange few days, not what I expected at all and even though I can’t help but feel we missed out a bit I’m still glad we made the journey up here. It’s not an adventure if everything goes to plan is it! I just pray the way back down is a little more pretty.