Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park

Today, we travelled up the Icefields Parkway from Lake Louise. We didn't make it all the way to the Columbia Icefields but we saw lots of incredibly beautiful mountains and glaciers. I took this picture near Glacier Lake.


The next photo, I believe, has a view of the Crowfoot Glacier.


I've been reading How Old is that Mountain? by Chris Yorath. In answering the question in the book's title, Yorath uses a metaphor that will stay with me longer than most of the geological terms. He said it's like a new house built with hundred-year old timber. The rock was formed first long before the forces that "deformed" the rock and created the mountain. The sedimentary rock in the Banff National Park was formed about 610 million years ago but the mountains were created 90 to 60 million years. In addition, glaciation and erosion continue to change the mountains as well as carve the valleys between them.

I was disappointed not to get further north. (Ok, I'll admit that I didn't top off the gas tank before leaving Lake Louise and there were no services along the way, so I had to turn back fearing we might not have enough gas for the round trip.) I wanted to get to the Columbia Icefields and ideally all the way to Jasper. The sight I wanted to see was Mount Athabasca, which is described as the hydrographic apex of North America. That is, water from this mountain drains in three possible directions — west to the Pacific, east to the Atlantic and north to Hudson. Yorath writes that it is the "one point on which a mountaineer can pollute all three oceans with a single act."

I will have to come back again. There's lots more to explore. I want to see the Canadian Rockies in other seasons but this glimpse of early winter is really wonderful.