Do you remember when I said, “(Thankfully, that was not the case when we returned two days later!  Stay tuned…)?” That followed my comment about the gloomy and cold (36 F) weather at Columbia Icefields.  The weather changed dramatically, and we had our prettiest and warmest day yet.

(For all pictures, click on the image to see full screen view.)

Scenes from the bus window along Columbia Icefields Parkway

Our travels took us back on Columbia Icefields Parkway for a scenic drive that parallels the Continental Divide and runs through the heart of both Jasper and Banff National Parks

We first stopped at Sunwapta Falls for an up-close look.  The thunderous sound of the rushing water was mesmerizing; I could have taken a glorious nap there with the falls as sleep-inducing white noise!

Next stop was back at the Columbia Icefields base station to catch our shuttle bus to Glacier Skywalk.  If there was any day to do it, this was the day.  The sun was shining bright, there were beautiful white clouds in the sky, and my jacket came off to enjoy the comfortable 75-degree temperature. 

Athabasca Glacier
That’s me in between Karen and Edie on Glacier Skywalk

I was amazed by the construction of this award-winning architectural marvel; however, I was too distracted by the fantastic views to get too caught up reading the information displays.  Just look at what you can see out in the distance—and, 1,000 feet below my foot!

Our guide, Scott (R) along with some of our group

For lunch, we had a relaxing riverside picnic while we enjoyed lovely scenery.

Our next stop was a hiking trail looking down at glacier-fed Peyto Lake.  The views were magnificent!

Shot out the side window on our way to Banff

Meanwhile, the drive between each stop along Columbia Icefields Parkway was stunning—so much prettier than two days prior!  Unfortunately, bugs on the bus windshield ruined what would have been some nice shots, but here they are anyway:

Before heading into the town of Banff, we were able to get a fabulous view of the town from above—a perfect backdrop for our group photo.

Our group, along with Scott and our driver, David (R)
On our way down the mountain, we saw WILDLIFE(!)

Our spectacular day concluded at the Rim Rock Resort where we stayed for our final two nights.  Set amidst pine forests on the side of a mountain, the setting provided scenic views of the surrounding mountains. 

Dinner was in small groups at the hotel’s Primrose restaurant where Bruce and I both ordered salmon to end our streak.  What a lovely way to end one of the best days of our tour!

Next up:  More of Banff National Park