Last wake up among these amazing and majestic mountains, covered in glaciers – as for now at least, we will come back here for sure!
The wake up call is an early one, mostly because we somehow got to run away from this campground where we illegally pitched our tent. We decide to take advantage and have a rare early morning hike, with a good breakfast just on top of the hill.
We head to the Icefield Center area and we have already decided we will walk the Parker Ridge hike, arriving up high and have a view on the Saskatchewan Glacier. A quick hike, pretty simple, which however promise some amazing landscapes.
At the parking lot, a nice dutch girl ask to join us on the hike, not to walk the trail alone, and we obviously say yes. Just a few switchbacks after, something less than half an hour and we are on top of the Parker Ridge, where an amazing view is waiting for us.
Below us, on the opposite valley from where we climbed, there is the foot of the Saskatchewan Glacier, which then melts into a river flowing along the whole valley.
We go on towards the end of the trail, following the ridge and founding a nice place, isolated from the crow of tourist who don’t mind staying all there together and here the breakfast with a view is taking place.
We sit down, put some water to boil for our tea and…mosquitoes assault us. Our bug spray is pretty useful, they just eat us alive and our nice breakfast almost become a nightmare: we totally dress with whatever we have, to find a little bit of relief from the stings, but then the heat comes and we just end up eating fast some cookies and a cup of tea.
We start walking again, moving on helps not to think about mosquitoes and prevent some of the stings. Along the road we meet some ladies covered in shawls and scarfs, in an useless attempt to avoid the tons of mosquitoes flying up here, in this amazing place.
We, on the other hand, decide for a really quick walk down to the parking lot.
Quickly and not even enjoying the landscape, sadly – our next purchase would totally be a bug spray – we walk down towards the parking lot, going fast on the few switchbacks.
We way our farewell to our new dutch friend, who will go on her trip here in the parks within the next few days, while for us is time to begin to drive towards home.
Driving south the Icefields Parkway, we sure don’t miss many stops. The first one is on a lake shore just near the highway, not more far then three curves from our start. We have to stop and make some photos: one of the two Waterfowl Lakes.
As long as we drive south, now deep into the north area of Banff National Park, an idea sparkles in our minds: a short hike to Peyto Lake.
Peyto Lake, one of that many place which seems to be taken right from a postcard. Its waters are so turquoise they seem painted – one of the interpreters teach us that this effect is given by the limestone diluted in the water, which reflects all the colours except from blue, so along with the rock flour suspended in the water, it gives the waters this particular turquoise milky colour – but there is a little problem: tourists.
Once we get to the lookout, one minute from the parking lot: we can barely see the lake through all the crowd out there.
Our luck is that the dutch girl adviced us about it and suggest a narrow trail which goes into the forest and leads to a moved lookout – we will not tell you about that, but just follow the path on the left of the lookout… – almost empty!
We have lunch – it is now quite a tradition, bagel and potato salad – right here, on this rock, and we take advantage to film a short time-lapse, totally worth the time spent to record it:
Some clouds help us and in a few minutes, not even too demanding, we are able to film some really nice images.
But it is not end for today. It does seem we have established worldwide visit-some-lakes day!
We hit the road again, still the turquoise of Peyto Lake in front of our eyes, and just some kilometers after we are at Bow Lake. Not demanding at all, we walk the even path which leads to the shore, the longer one heading to the glacier is too long now since we just have half an hour before going on again. We have a refreshing dip with the feet in the freezing cold water.
We take some time to relax in this frenzied day, finally all the mosquitoes forgotten and a hot mid-afternoon sun to warm us, what a relief.
Relaxed and rigenerated, it crosses our mind we still have a lake to go before going once and for all towards home, Carstairs: it is the second time we drive near the Moraine Lake, another one of those postcard places noone should miss, and still we haven’t seen it!
So, let it Moraine Lake be!
Moraine Lake is another one of those places which just fascinate you: blue waters, the sun playing hide and seek with the clouds, peaks in every direction…and tourist wherever.
This, unfortunately, is the big, insuperable problem of Banff National Park and all the well known places here around, where tourist are skillfully cut out of the framing and campgrounds are fairly empty, when you see them on the magazines. Then you come here and just finding a small place in the worst campground, requires month of previous booking – it is unbelievable, there is not a single spot to pitch our small tent! – it is a shame, mostly for people like us who hate to plan.
We decide to eventually come here again and enjoy these places in a nightime version, as we already did with Lake Louise during our first Road Trip. Now it is really time to hit the road for the last time and drive back home. Some hours driving waits us, but that totally don’t scare us, we are pretty well used to long-distance driving since when we arrived here.
Have a nice trip!
This article is available : Italian