Leaving Banff we did a quick stop to take photographs of it's famous Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel "The Castle". (Click on photos to bigify)
Driving through Banff National Park we took our last shots of the magnificent scenery.
) have used the 24 crossings in Banff a total of 84,000 times as of January 2007. The research also identified a "learning curve" such that animals need time to acclimate to the structures before they feel comfortable using them. For example, grizzly bear crossings increased from seven in 1996 to more than 100 in 2006. A similar set of observations was made for wolves, with crossings increasing from two to approximately 140 over the same 10-year period. Positive results reported that the use of wildlife crossings and fencing reduced traffic-induced mortality of large ungulates on the TCH by more than 80 percent.
We made our way to the Icefields Parkway stopping at the Crowfoot Glacier to take photos.
We continued our journey following the Bow River to Bow Lake
Num-Ti-Jah Lodge build by Jimmy Simpson. (Photo from Google)
Our journey continued to the highlight of the day the Columbia Icefield, one of the biggest accumulations of ice and snow south of the Arctic Circle, where we were to take an Ice Explorer ride onto the surface of the Athabasca Glacier.
We had to take a coach from the Icefield Interpretive Centre, which is across the highway from the glacier, to the glacier edge, this is the view of the glacier from the road on the journey up to the top.
Once down on the slope one can see the ice underneath the dirt and rubble on top (the moraine).
This next photo shows the view from the glacier to where we set off in the Ice Explorer.
The next two photos show our journey back to the coach from the ice field, it shows the rough, precarious terrain the Ice Explorers traverse.
The glacier currently recedes at a rate of 2–3 metres (6.6–9.8 ft) per year and has receded more than 1.5 km (0.93 mi) in the past 125 years and lost over half of its volume. Our guide told us that in 40 years it will not be possible for people to walk on the glacier because it will have receded back to where it won't be safe. I'm so glad we were able to experience this before it's too late.
Join me next time for Jasper and Spirit Island.