Today was one of my favourite days of the trip as it involved some trips to some awesome sights, a awe inspiring view from the top of a mountain and some waterfalls! The pictures do the most justice compared to my ramblings!!
We had previously checked out the Banff Gondola so were keen to get up to the top of Whistler Mountain via the Jasper Tramway. What is the difference between a gondola and a tramway I hear you say….well, from what I could work out a tramway just has one car going up and one coming down pulling each other, whereas a gondola is a circular track where multiple cars go round. Either way they get you up mountains much quicker than walking!!
Due to the busy previous day we arrived at the Tramway mid/late morning (helped by it being a 5 minute drive from the campground). The 7 minute “flight” to the top was accompanied by our pilot pointing out key sights and explaining the mountain ranges. We had an awesome view of the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies – Mount Robson. Our pilot informed us that normally the top was surrounded by its own weather system (which we did find out a few days later when we drove past) but today it was clear!
Once you reach the top at 2277m you are treated with an INSANE view. It has to be one of my favourite views ever anywhere. I could have sat there all day and absorbed the vastness. It was helped by it being such a clear day which meant we could see super far – for that I am very thankful. You can climb all the way to the summit of Whistler Mountain (which Stuart did while I waited on a conveniently placed rock) which is a little tough going to start with but is much more precarious on the way down due to the loose rock.
We spent a long while admiring the view and thinking how lucky we were to pick such a good day for it! As a reward we decided to treat ourselves to lunch in the upper terminal restaurant which had equally good food to the views!
Our next destination was back down the Icefields Parkway to Sunwapta Falls followed by Athabasca Falls.
As waterfalls go these were both pretty wonderful. The lookout for Sunwapta Falls is very easy to get to from the car park so is very accessible. You can walk down a path for 30 minutes to the river side which is a nice walk through forests to the sound of rushing water.
It was pretty hot by this point so I was a tad grumpy on the way back up!
Athabasca falls is much more popular and is a bigger waterfall with interpretive signs as you walk round to tell you about the falls and the local area. I love the sound of rushing water, I find it so relaxing…until it gets to the point of needing the loo.
We spent a good amount of time wandering round, taking pictures, trying to smile into the sun before heading back up to Jasper for some evening relaxation round the fire (with the addition of some visitors!) If I could do that everyday I would be an extremely happy person!