August 26 Wednesday
Wednesday dawned another bright sunny day and we got an earlier start than most days to beat the crowds to Moraine Lake. We enjoyed the beautiful drive up to the lake with fantastic views of Panorama Ridge and several 10,000+ foot peaks. We arrived just after 10:00 and found the parking lot full. But we managed to squeeze in at the end of a row. We walked the trail around the lake and took in beautiful views of the blue green water. No matter how many of these glacier-fed lakes we visit, we’re still amazed at the color and clarity of the water. Even though the parking lot was full, the trail was not too crowded.
Returning to the parking lot, we found that four more cars had parked beyond us and the sides of the approach road had filled with vehicles – a very popular place for a Wednesday morning. We returned to the campground and made a picnic lunch for our drive north on the Icefields Parkway. This road takes you to Jasper National Park with lookouts and trails to numerous glaciers. We didn’t want to drive the entire 230km (138 mi) but did want to get a taste of the Icefields Parkway.
It was a picture-postcard day for driving. Everywhere we looked along the drive offered breathtaking views of the Bow River, glacier lakes, mountain ridges and peaks. We stopped at several turnouts for a better view and to take pictures. At Bow Lake we decided to look for a picnic spot. We parked and headed for the trail to the lake. At the lake, we wandered along the shore instead of taking the trail until we found a spot to sit and eat. From there we had views of the Bow and Crowfoot glaciers, Bow Lake and the Bow Falls.
After our picnic, we returned to the trail and found our way to the Num-ti-jah Lodge, a very rustic lodge built in the 1890s with only a sketch in the sand for a plan. It is completely off the grid like Mary’s McKinley View Lodge that we visited in Alaska. They have generators for all their power. We toured the lobby and gift shop before returning to the parkway. As it was getting late, we decided to head back south to Lake Louise Village and campgrounds and save the rest of the Icefields Parkway for another trip.