Breakthrough on The Icefields Parkway

Posted September 3, 2018 – Narrated by Carmen
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“Every breath of your life’s breaths
      is a jewel.
Every new atom
      is a guide towards God.” 

  —Farid un-Din Attar, The Conference of the Birds

We’ve seen fire and we’ve seen rain. A blessed reunion of the elements is reviving the customary balance of fresh air and sunshine.

And, already, the early fragrance of Autumn has us giddy with anticipation for our favorite season’s glorious entrance.

Yes, it’s shoulder season in Alberta – a perfect place and time to be living in Beauty!


We took precautions that last week in Jasper when health advisories estimated that – due to the fires – the accumulated effect of outdoor activity was equivalent to smoking nine cigarettes per day.

With Pico’s tiny lungs in mind, we sought refuge in the lowlands – taking quiet, languid strolls along lush ferned paths and wooded brooks beneath the dense oxygenated canopy.

True, the majestic views we sought remained hidden …

but in the deep forest sanctuary campground, rare beauty appeared right before our eyes …

On the smokiest days, we’d go downtown to dine at The Wicked Cup and hang out at the fabulous indoor pool, sauna and hot tub at the Jasper Aquatic Center.

The Drive

As we pulled out of Jasper, it rained – poured! But, from where we stand now, that’s all Bow River water under the bridge.

Within an hour of our stormy drive on The Icefields Parkway, the veil of smoke slid down revealing the towering Rockies.

A bit further up the road, the water turned a brighter shade of turquoise …

and we found an ideal, private pull-out for lunch and a walk in the rain …

Mercy, how to describe that 140-mile drive?! I’ll settle for breathtaking. Or, how about breathgiving?

We gasped often. Said, “Oh my God” frequently and meant it. Taking it slow and reverently, we stopped at every convenient pull-out … treasuring the moments.

Six hours after leaving Jasper, we pulled into our Lake Louise campsite where the ranger told us that all hikes are dog-friendly!

Lake Louise

Our campsite in Lake Louise

And, after hot showers, we treated ourselves to a brew and a bite at Bill’s.

Located in the Lake Louise Hostel

Home. Food. Shelter … these things give strength. But, there’s no place like the unpredictable, magnificent Canadian Rockies to imagine yourself with wings …

We took our time on Lake Louise, paddling for about three hours …

…so, at $110 per hour for canoe rentals, our inflatable kayaks saved us over $300 in rental fees! And, our portable table makes the set-up go lickety-split.

Moraine Lake

I’d heard people say that this place is “alive” but I was entirely unprepared for the maternal embrace of the Valley of Ten Peaks and the love they evoke – tender and ominous, emotional and scintillating.

Just before leaving, I thought to pause and give the lake greetings from my friend, Linda – and instantly, as if on cue, Moraine tossed up a confetti of rainbows! Absolute magic!

It’s Cold!

Here it is, Labour Day, and in the low-50’s, daytime – high 30’s at night. That’s a severe winter by San Diego standards. So, we’re cocooning in our silver nest.

To keep things cozy and warm, I bake fresh loaves in my sweet LeKue Breadmaker.

We’re burning propane 24-7 to keep the trailer warm, wearing four layers when we go outside …

Moraine Lake

And, we love it!

That’s a breakthrough! What’s more, if weather permits, we plan to stay in Alberta for another month.

Someday, in the early Fall or Spring, we hope to return for cross-country skiing lessons. Never before have we even considered such foolishness.

Maybe it’s the thin air, but this place energizes us. In fact, I think Jim’s going native.

Does Tommy Bahama make longjohns?

Bow River

Yesterday afternoon, we took our last walk on the Bow River Loop Trail to the village of Lake Louise for our ritual coffee …

… and walked back home to hitch up and prepare to pull out. This morning, Beauty and The Beast was on the move again…

Along the Icefields Parkway

But don’t imagine, even for a minute, that we’ve said goodbye.

Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

Happy Labour Day!