We enjoy one last stroll around beautiful Lake Beauvert and bid adieu to the incredible Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, before departing for the Columbia Icefields. There is a herd of elk alongside the road and a deer in the distance as we depart Jasper. We enjoy our drive on the Icefields Parkway with breathtaking scenery around every turn and arrive at the Discovery Center by 11:20 am for our scheduled 12 pm departure. We have a bag packed with some warmer clothes for the expected drop in temperature on the glacier. We board a quick shuttle bus and then transfer to the Snow Cat that will take us onto the glacier.
It is a quick, exciting, and steep ride as we descend to the glacier. We learn lots of interesting details from our guide. The Athabasca glacier is one of six glaciers fed by the Columbia Icefield. It is approximately 37 miles long, with an area covering 2.3 square miles and a thickness of 300-980 feet. It is the most visited glacier in North America. Once we arrive on the glacier, we have 40 minutes to explore. We are cautioned to stay within the designated area as geologists check the site every morning for any dangerous crevices that could develop. We filled our empty water bottles with glacier water to enjoy. Bob made a snowball of ice and we marveled at the color and magnitude of the glacier. We loved every minute of it! All too soon it’s time to reboard the Snow Cat, transfer to another bus, and tour the Glacier Skywalk. After the spectacular view, we take a last ride to the Discovery Center before heading to Banff. After a two hour drive, we arrive at the castle.
Fairmont Banff Springs
We check-in at the gold level and are shown to room number 501, a small but beautiful corner room with views of the mountains from both of our windows. There are birthday treats to add to the warm welcome. We unpack and head to the spacious club lounge to enjoy the delicious canapés. We take a stroll through the historic halls and enjoy a room full of history displays and learn that Marilyn Monroe was just one of the celebrities that stayed at the castle.