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Thursday morning at Jasper dawned rainy.
Each thumbnail is linked to a larger photo within a slide show. Enjoy the Canadian Rockies at your computer screen.
It was interesting, again, to watch clouds play around mountain tops as we traveled southeast toward the Continental Divide. Rain temporarily stopped my attempts at photography.
Our late-morning stop was at the Athabasca Glacier ice fields. I don't believe I'd ever seen a real glacier before, nor stood on one.
Displays at the tourist center did a vivid job of explaining glaciers and how they crumble rock and push materials downhill.
The special bus that transported us out onto the iceflow was amazing. Our female guide told us buses cost about $1 million EACH.
Weather was chilly, with a few snowflakes, but we were warm in our enthusiasm in scooping glacial water out of a hole in the ice to have a taste. Yum.
Ascents and descents on the iceflow were sharp--thus the need for special transporation.
We had more cloud-play on our way to Lake Louise. As a Kansan, I'd always thought of all clouds as "up there in a lump." Watching them move across the moutain peaks helped me realize that clouds are here and there, whispy or bulky, whisking or curling in circles, playing hide-and-seek with the sun.
Along the way we stopped at beautiful, blue Bow Lake. Jesse told us that, in the early 1950s, after Kodak had invented Kodachrome slide film, they sent staff to Bow Lake, thinking they had a problem with the blues of the new film because it captured Bow Lake in such intense blue. They found no problems with their film.
In late afternoon we arrived at Lake Louise, just past the Continental Divide. This was site of early railroad-building camps, with a reputation as a beautiful spot to camp. Once the rail lines were complete, in the mid-1850s, tourists began to arrive at the site by train. They also were impressed with the natural beauty. A lodge was built early, updated, added to, and maintained. It is the Fairmont Chateau of today.
Our room had a nice view of one wing of the lodge and surrounding mountains.
History tells us that many Swiss people came to the area long ago to help run the lodge, and to help with mountain snow-skiing in the area. They are know ashospitable, well-organized people.
Whereas legend tells us that nearby Yoho National Park was named for a Cree Indian word meaning, "an exclaimation of amazement," Max and I have a different theory. We think some Swiss guy named Yoho (like Max) named the park for himself, then made up the story about Cree language.
Lake Louise has a glacier nearly reaching near to the lake. Step onto the chateau patio and the grandeur surrounds you.
On Friday morning Jesse stopped by the sign for Yoho National Park, celebrating its 125th anniversary as a national park just three days after our visit: 10-10-2011. Max and I welcomed friends to "our" park... which we'd never before seen.
First stop was Spiral Tunnels, a spot where trains have a steep ascent-descent. To ease the grade, crews built tunnels deep into the mountainside so trains could ease up and down elevations. A train might enter the tunnel headed north and come out headed west, at a lower level. Many lives were lost in tunnel-building.