Day three of our Moose tour was by far the most adventurous…and the most tiring. We started the day departing from Banff, making a stop at Lake Louise where we checked out the view and the Fairmont Hotel. With such a majestic background, our little motley crew couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a group “jumping shot”. This started a trend for us, resulting in us attempting this at various other locations. As you can tell, my timing was a bit off…
After spending about an hour on-site we set off for our next destination. We unfortunately ended up having a bit of a mishap though and had to return to look for a lost item. While waiting at the van with John, a whiskey jack landed on the side-view mirror inches from my head. I was a bit shocked by its willingness to come so close, so when John suggested I tried to feed it, I quickly jumped on the idea. What started as a meeting with a curious bird quickly became an impromptu feeding fest which attracted about half a dozen whiskey jacks and even a magpie. I’ve never fed a bird directly from my hand so it was quite the experience. I ended up giving away half my breakfast though.
From Lake Louise we then made our way to the Columbia Icefield to trek up to the Athabasca Glacier. This stop on our tour will forever be one of the most amazing things I’ve done. The altitude did affect me a bit, and the fact that I’ve been sick with a bad cough for a month now didn’t help, so the hike up was a bit difficult for me. However, it was definitely worth it. I know I already said this about the Giant Cedars, but it also applies to Athabasca Glacier — it’s utterly humbling.
After recovering from burning lungs and cold winds we piled back into the van to make our way up to Jasper and our home for the evening, the Hostelling International Athabasca Falls Wilderness Hostel. Along the way we passed some mountain sheep, the first I’ve ever seen. This trip has definitely been one of firsts!
We arrived at the hostel after dark and were greeted by the hostel manager, Brendan, who had a fire burning in the wood stove. It was glorious. We were then treated to a home-cooked dinner prepared by John, followed by dessert: s’mores! For many of my tour mates this was the first time they have ever had this campfire staple. Again, another first.
Some drinks were imbibed, Brendan’s puppy Huron made an appearance, and the boys began a choir of unison howling followed by some dancing with the dog. All in all it was the best way to end what had been the perfect day. We all shared a cabin that night and fell asleep to the harmonious sounds of Glen’s snoring and a back-up snorer, who still remains unidentified.