Jasper to Cochrane, AB

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

June 23 ~Day #44
Budget to date
Spent today
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Current Location: Cochrane, Alberta

Today’s Total Expenses: $142.48

Transportation: $50 gas
Accommodation: $86.11 hotel
Food: $6.37 McDonalds

It was raining when we woke this morning so we had to time coffee and showers (us) between showers (rain). We ended up packing the tent away wet which I really don’t like to do but didn’t really have any choice.

Jasper, Alberta
Vicky had been to Jasper once before many years ago and was always talking about how beautiful it was but I think her memory of it had improved over time. It’s a nice little tourist town but nothing that special.

What I particularly don’t like is that you have to buy a park pass in order to visit. Vicky covered the charges yesterday so I won’t restate them but I certainly think they are too high. It’s not like the Canadian government had to build the mountains, they just stole them from the Indians – excuse me, First Nations or whatever the current politically correct term is.

Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93)
Anyhow there is no question as to how spectacular the scenery is, in fact there are no words to adequately describe the beauty of the drive from Jasper to Banff, Alberta down the Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93). Every inch of the 142 mile drive provides another postcard perfect view you want to photograph.

Not far outside of town we noticed a bunch of cars stopped on the highway and a few people wandering around with cameras. So we naturally stopped too and got to add another wildlife encounter to yesterday’s elk. This time it was a family of Big Horn sheep grazing a few feet of the side of the highway. Eat your heart out Alaska!

We had to stop every few miles to get another photo of mountains, rivers or lakes. We really wasted a lot of money on the Alaska cruise when the scenery is so much better in our own backyard.

Athabasca Glacier
About half way between Jasper and Banff is the Athabasca Glacier. This one is melting pretty fast so if you want to see it you need to plan your trip soon. Vicky was here in 1980 and the ice was close to the road, now it is a fair hike to reach the ice face.

You can take a big wheel bus right on to the glacier but at $49 each plus tax we decided to pass. Are you seeing a pattern with all these attractions?

Lake Louise
Lake Louise is a popular destination within the park and the facilities are well developed. The scenery just couldn’t get any better. Snow capped mountains, treed slopes and a lake that is an incredible light blue – it’s breathtaking.

We would have liked to have rented a canoe but at $35 for half an hour, you guessed it – we passed. Maybe if all these overpriced attractions vendors would lower their prices to something reasonable they might be a little busier.

Banff, Alberta
Unlike Jasper you can visit Banff without buying a park pass and it is certainly the nicer of the two towns.

We were also treated to yet another up close wild life encounter – this time deer grazing on the side of the road.

Cochrane, AB
We had planned to stay at the Sunny Chinooks campground tonight but all the stops for photographs had put us way behind schedule.

Cochrane appears to be a bedroom community for Calgary. Lots of new housing at reasonable prices.

There are half a dozen hotels in town and they were all pretty much full. The best we could do was $86 for the night. That blew the budget but we will be camping in one spot for the next few days so that will bring down our average.

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