canadian rockies tour, glaciers, banff, icefield, jasper to banff highway

Canadian Rockies Tour

Canadian Rockies Tour: Of Glaciers and Grizzlies

canadian rockies tour, glaciers, banff, icefield, jasper to banff highway

I am currently in the Canadian Rockies with my four children and my parents. Oh yes, Taido got a relief driver and gave us the slip so he could study without interruption for the final two weeks. So far he has missed a lot of time in the van on the road with insanely loud Chinos and several nights of setting up, camping and taking down in the rain. I know he’s really kicking himself.

On the bright side, we have seen five bears. We saw a mama bear and her two cubs climbing down from a tree. We watched them for almost half an hour. It was amazingly sweet. The kids went nuts. Even Simon was pointing excitedly.

And today, we drove the stunning Icefields Parkway from Jasper to Banff. We got enough breaks in the rain to see the glaciers and waterfalls all along the way. Mary Polly, Daddy and I even hiked the short trail up from the road to touch the toe of the Athabasca Glacier. The boys response when asked if they wanted to hike up and see a glacier, I don’t want to hike anymore. It’s too cold. Whine. Whine. My reply, Fine then. MP and I got stuck in some glacial silt. Both of her shoes came off and Daddy had to carry her back to the car. We were all covered in this gray muddy substance before it was over with. I’m not sure my poor beloved hiking boots will ever recover. Still, we touched a glacier. The path up was fascinating because it had markers where the glacier used to be according to years, showing how much it has receded since 1885 and on up to 1992. You hear about the glaciers shrinking, but it was crazy to actually see it. The markers where it used to be. It’s sad.

glaciers, banff, icefield, jasper to banff highway

Actually we saw a lot of sad exhibitions today on how our lifestyle affects the earth. Lots on global warming. And then we also read a lot about the danger to the animal habitats that the throng of visitors is every year. The kids watched this sad movie about a grizzly bear whose comfort around people eventually lead to its death. And there was a book about another similar bear. I had read in my guidebook that they are trying hard to do more to protect the area’s grizzly population, and we definitely saw evidence of that today. There are trails that are closed this time of year because they are part of the grizzlies’ grazing grounds. The kids were all impacted by all the protecting animal wildlife propaganda. They are all about the plight of the bears right now. And not so much about learning the facts about glaciers, which is ahem, what I told them we were learning today.

ME: Everyone tell me three things you learned about glaciers today.
COLE: Ummmmm, I forgot already.
BEN: Glaciers are cold.
MARY POLLY: You can get your shoe stuck in the mud if you hike up to a glacier.

canadian rockies tour, glaciers, banff, icefield, jasper to banff highway

We are really making up for all these missed days of school, I tell you. Maybe their teachers will only ask them about bears.


  1. You’re so close to my home! Welcome to Alberta! Whenever we have visitors, we’d drive them to Banff and Lake Louise. Columbia Icefield and Jasper are must-see for those who can stay for a few more days. Also, we often go out west to Vancouver and whenever I’m there, I’d be sure to visit my favorite place: the Regent Bookstore… guess that’s familiar territory for you too. Hope you enjoy the rest of your time in Canada.

  2. face it, you and MP touched a glacier AND her granddad carried her back to civilization after the silt– those are memories you CANNOT make up!

  3. […] summer, travel Sorry, I’m not a very good blog hijacker. More like a sit-in. Anyway, the Glaciers and Grizzlies post from Alison is likely the last we’ll have from her before the epic journey wraps up on […]

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