Monday, July 18, 2016

Beauty Fatigue

The Icefields Parkway from Lake Louise (or Banff, farther south, if you include the Bow Valley Parkway) to Jasper is "the most beautiful highway in the world."  I don't disagree, if you like mountains, glaciers, and light blue-ish-green lakes.  However, at this point mountains have become the equivalent of zebras on a safari: window dressing.  Every which way you look, there they are, bigger, snowier, cloudier - and now it's sometimes too cloudy to even see them.

Banff the town is a zoo.  A straight-up zoo, with $500/night hotel rooms for the animals.

Lake Louise the town isn't any better, but with views like this on Lake Louise the lake, Lake Louise the town can maybe be forgiven.

Moraine Lake, also in Lake Louise the town, isn't ugly either.

All Mom wants out of the Canadian leg of our trip is a moose sighting.  Our destinations aren't being very forthcoming.  We did however see a bear next to the road.  Immediately after: "Now I want a moose."

Waterfall above the clouds

Picture #1

All of the glaciers in the picture below (two of which are seen up-closer in the two pictures above) - and the several glaciers you can't see in the picture below - shoot off from the Columbia Icefield, the largest ice mass in North America.

Satellite of the Columbia Icefield from Google Maps...

If you look in the upper right hand corner of this satellite image, you can see a red arrow.  I took picture #1 (labeled above) standing at the tip of that arrow.  So the Columbia Icefield is quite large, and mostly can only be seen from space.

Unexpected sighting of the day: the "Wyndham Wyzard" in our Super 8.

When he's not in our breakfast room, he's Tormund Giantsbane on Game of Thrones.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

You Know You're In Canada When....

Up to take pictures of Wild Goose Island at dawn, but the Pacific Northwest regressed to the mean of the stereotype: clouds and rain.

Many Glacier

So we drove north into Alberta, past Calgary and toward Banff.  You know you're in Canada when...

The coffee and donuts get better.

The candy gets better.

Dark Chocolate Kit Kat
Mint Kit Kat
The scenery is beautiful - when you can see it.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Like Watching Bob Ross

Until today, I thought nothing could rival Yosemite.  A worthy contender has revealed itself.

Even getting there is pretty.

Flathead Lake
The main tourist drive of Glacier National Park isn't very long (50 miles), and is naturally divided in half by the biggest mountains and the resulting pass.  Each side is a valley, leading away from said pass, and at the end of each valley sits a big lake.  Ironically, the least impressive part is the pass.  Everything else is turned up to like 10.5, if not 11.

Avalanche Creek

Root system of a tree that had fallen over

That's a 470 foot waterfall

Looking up at the pass
The Garden Wall

The Pass

The Pass

The Pass

In 1850, there were 150 glaciers in Glacier National Park.  Now there are 25.  Estimates are that no glaciers will remain by 2030.

Jackson Glacier

And the crown jewel of the park: Wild Goose Island

A couple sat on the rocks at Wild Goose Island.  The husband read a book while the wife watercolor painted the scene at a staggering speed and quality.  It reminded me of Bob Ross.  The couple has a deal: he gets to mountain bike and she gets to watercolor the overlooks.

You know what I think of when I look at this scenery, especially the glaciers?  If these are some of the biggest glaciers in North America now, imagine the size of the previous glaciers that it took to create these valleys :0

Friday, July 15, 2016

From Dawn Till Diner

In a boot there isn't much to do in the Tetons except watch the sun rise.

I want to know what's back in there.

The whole range is 40 miles long.  This picture represents maybe 10-20 of those.

Then west into Idaho, north along the Salmon river and into Montana.

You know the weather is no joke when the snow gauge measures feet.

Seeding the chances for a good day tomorrow, at a stellar diner in Missoula for dinner.

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