Shawn and I woke up early, excited to be off to the ice fields. The shuttle picked us up at 8:30am. After the ice fields we would continue on to Lake Louise and a night at the Chateau Fairmont hotel. Today we would make various stops and have a walk on the glacier. We got on the bus and met a couple from Florida. They were originally from Chicago. The guy, whose name was Lee, was all into photography. We had a lot of fun discussing cameras and looking at each other’s photos. His wife was very nice and always coming up with sarcastic, but funny remarks. The shuttle was almost full and we had a knowledgeable guide.
Our first stop was at the Athabasca Falls It had started to rain almost from the start of our journey. We went out in the rain with our cameras under our jackets.I enjoyed it a lot as the water was very turbulent and I got some interesting pictures. We only had about 25 minutes so we raced around to see everything we could see. We finally got back in the bus except for one girl who wasn’t aware of the time schedule. She finally arrived and off we went.
The weather was not the best so it was hard to take photos from the bus. We made a few more stops and then arrived at the ice center. Shawn and I had vouchers for the glacier trip. I thought we had to get our own tickets. I went in and got tickets for us on the next trip at 12pm. Then the shuttle driver came over and said she needed my tickets because we all had to go together and there wasn’t any more room at 12. So I was a bit put out because I wanted to go and get back and have some extra time. We had stopped to pick up our lunches which came with the trip and I thought we could sit down and eat without rushing. Anyways, she took the tickets and changed them to the trip at 12:20. In the meantime, we were hearing that there had been landslides on the road to Lake Louise. Most of the group sat down and started eating their lunch, so we did as well while waiting for our glacier tour. I guess you take a bus up and then get on this strange machine which takes you out on the glacier.
Then there was a big announcement that they were closing the center and we all had to return to Jasper and wait to see what was happening. Lee had a cell phone. He called Fresh Tracks and found out that we were probably staying in Jasper another night. He and his wife were at the same hotel but we were moved to another hotel. It was not far from the Sawridge where we stayed the night before. We were dropped off at the Marnott Lodge. We were rather upset because we really didn’t know what was going on or how long we would have to stay in Jasper. We had really been looking forward to Lake Louise and our Fairmont Hotel stay.
Where we were staying wasn’t a real hotel – it was just the office and then rooms. We, at least, were put in the renovated rooms and it was very nice with a huge bathroom and shower. It was already late afternoon. I talked to my agent at Fresh Tracks and she said it didn’t look good as there was a lot of flooding and the roads were washed out. Shawn and I started reading the brochures to see what we could do. The agent set up several different tours for us and booked our hotel for the next few days. I heard the hotel clerk say that they had had 53 cancellations but then I guess things were filling up because people couldn’t get out either.
We had made plans to have dinner with Lee and his wife. Shawn didn’t want to go so I met them at the office and we walked into town. We ate at Papa Georges and enjoyed talking about our families, travel adventures and photography. I had to pick up something for Shawn so they went on and I walked back to the lodge later. It was still raining off and on. When I got back, I turned on the news and heard about the flooding and saw pictures of the washed out roads. They were still expecting a lot more rain in the Lake Louise, and Banff areas. Calgary was really a mess with rivers overflowing their banks and parts of houses being washed away.
We woke up to a beautiful sunny day. We decided we wanted to go to Pyramid Lake and then go on the tram for a view of the whole area. We found a brochure and the name on it was Mr. Taxi. I called and talked to this guy named Chad. He said he was the owner of the company. I told him what we were interested in and he said he wanted to go out and take photos for his face book page so he would take us and only charge us for the ride to the lake but would stop at a lot of different places along the way. He talked us out of the tram ride but took us about a quarter way up to see the view. He only charged $50 so I thought it was a pretty good deal. First we went to the lake.
We got out to take photos at several different places. This guy was a real character! He talked a mile a minute. Always saying ridiculous stuff and then saying he was only joking. I think he told us his life story and more than we wanted to know in the first hour we were together. The best part was that he took us to a lot of different places to take photos. We got some good photos at the lake and at a park where there was a canyon. Shawn and I were happy to get out and around. We started out at 11 am and got back at 2pm. He said he would meet us for dinner so I said we would call him later.
We had to be ready for the next tour which was suppose to be a a three hour walk to the glaciers on Edith Cavell Mt. It wasn’t anything like I thought it would be. The tour guide was late to pick us up but she finally arrived with several other people. Lee was also on the bus but said his wife didn’t feel good so she stayed at the hotel. We went around for the next half hour picking up more people at various places. At last we were under way.
The bus was full. The guide was ok but rather political with her views. It took about 40 minutes to get to the place we were going. We passed an emerald green lake on the way and hoped we would get a closer view later on. Most of the people on the tour were elderly so I didn’t see how we were going to walk for three hours. I think the tour was misleading. We walked along this cement walkway and saw the angel glacier and the ghost glacier. I guess last year a big piece of the ghost glacier broke off and wiped out trails and a lot of the touring area. The Mt. was closed for most of the year. As it is, the road to the mountain is only opened a few months each season. It had talked about a meadow but we didn’t see one. In the beginning, the path was pretty steep and people were lagging far behind the guide. I told her to slow down because we wanted to take photos.
We ended walking up over stones to get to a higher area. Then the guide said we were to meditate for 5 minutes. One couple who was Swedish rattled their lunch wrappings. The guide sat on a rock in the lotus position. It was a bit strange – most of the tourists were British, a few Americans and Canadians. On the way back, we did get to see the lake but only had a short time because many of us had to be back for the next tour.