We enjoyed our overnight stay at the Icefields. It was very quiet and I think we ran our generator for about an hour before 9 pm and that gave us enough juice until this morning. I only started it this morning to make coffee before we left. We’ve had a few less than satisfactory experiences operating two previous Mr Coffee machines on the inverter in our Bounder and also in Phaeton Place. Since we’ve switched to our Keurig machine we always turn on the generator when making coffee while on the road just to be safe and so far it is operating flawlessly. It got a little cool last night but the propane heaters quickly warmed up the interior this morning.

After a bit of breakfast we packed up Phaeton Place and positioned her at the bottom of the RV parking area in front of the Athabasca Glacier. I grabbed the above shot with the iPhone using The Pro HDR app. After that it was a short drive across to the parking area at the foot of the glacier where we started out short hike up to the toe of the glacier. It was interesting to see the date markers on the side of the road leading to the parking area. Each marker bore a different date (year) signifying where the edge of the glacier was recorded to be at that time in history. It is amazing to see just how far the glacier has receded over time. Our guide was telling us since 1885 this glacier has lost 60% of its volume or over 350 million cubic metres of ice! Some years it receded much farther than others and they don’t know the exact reason for the difference from year to year. Climate and global warming may be part of it but scientists feel there is more to it than that.

The climb up to the toe of the glacier is pretty steep but certainly doable for the both of us. We both felt rather minuscule in nature while standing at the edge. This thing is huge! It is also a very unique glacier as well as it is the only glacier know to man who’s runoff or melt feeds three different oceans; Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic oceans via three great river systems; the Saskatchewan, the Athabasca and the Columbia rivers.

For me personally, yesterday on the snow coaches was very interesting but today’s hike to the toe of the glacier got top marks in my book. Kind of makes you feel small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

We hooked up the Vue and were on the road to Jasper before noon. More great scenery along the way with snow capped mountains lining much of the highway. We passed on stopping at Sunwapta and Athabasca Falls with the motorhome on our way into Whistlers campground. PP is just too big and we thought we’ll have more time in the Vue in the next few days.

A fellow leaving Whistlers in a rented motorhome decided to turn in front me as I was entering the left turn lane into the campground from the Icefields Highway. He didn’t see the pick up that had been traveling behind me and who was passing me in the straight through lane to my right. The rental motorhome almost got T boned right in front of us. Thankfully, a collision was avoided because of the alert pick up driver.

We checked in to site 65A for the next few days, a full service site that was supposed to give good access to the sky for our TV and Internet satellite. Well no such luck I’m afraid. Just too many trees. We’ll just have to make do with a Starbucks in town if possible. Sarah is on the bus into Jasper so we have to pick up a few groceries before then. Hoping to sit out by the fire tonight if the weather cooperates.


  1. Dennis and Donna June 6, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    Den and I did that hike about15 years ago..I would be anxious to see how much it has receded since then..And yes, that hike will give you a cardio work-out. When we were there we met some back-packer with tents just coming off the Glacier..I'll bet that's a chilly night out!! Can't wait to see the pics of Jasper!

  2. Chuck and Anneke's RV travels June 6, 2011 at 3:06 am #

    Really nice pictures of an amazing place.

  3. Happytrails June 6, 2011 at 1:32 am #

    Terrific pictures of Athabasca Glacier! I bet that was an amazing hike!

  4. E Squared and Mui June 6, 2011 at 1:31 am #

    Phaeton Place looks great against the backdrop of the Athabasca. We skipped the snow coach since we had done a helicopter glacier landing in Alaska and just did the hike to the toe … grand isn't it?