And by cold I mean freezing. And by hot I mean melting.
After we left the gondola, we decided that we were close to the icefields, so we'd better drive on up and see those. We knew it was going to be a long drive, but I don't think I was prepared for actually how long it was. Maybe it was just that the day was super long.
We drove on the Icefields Parkway which was supposed to be crawling with wildlife and as beautiful as anything we'd ever seen before. It was beautiful, but they are lying about the wildlife or at least they kept it quiet while we drove on it.
We finally got to the Athabasca Glacier in the Columbia Icefield. There were signs along the path showing how far down the glacier was in 1982 and 1992 and 2000. Let's just say we would have had a much shorter hike in 1982! Bummer about global warming.
We climbed the path up to see the glacier but decided that wasn't enough. The others in our group had heard about a bridge that let you walk across to actually get on the glacier. There were signs everywhere saying that you shouldn't get off the path because it is dangerous, but they don't really say you can't. So we did.
Now when they said bridge, they really mean a rickety old 2x8 that they lay across the rapid water. We each took turns going across the "bridge" and touching the glacier and feeling how cold the water was. Some of us (Blaine) even tried to lick the glacier. I'm pretty sure it was just pretend. The hike was freezing, the water was near freezing...what do we expect when there is a huge chunk of ice that hasn't melted yet, right?
Wendy didn't take the hike to go see the glacier, so Cam brought a piece of the glacier down to her. It survived the whole way down and she was able to hold the glacier in her hands too. That's how cold it was.
Clark got into another one of his photo shoot moods and wanted to take pictures every 3 seconds. We embraced the idea as best we could in the frigid air. Those smiles are just frozen in place. No muscles necessary. We got back to the car and ate some muffins before the long road back. This turned out to be dinner for the boys. They were completely exhausted when we got back to the tent at midnight. Ready for bed to say the least!
The next day we decided that the Banff Upper Hot Springs were going to be more our speed for the day! We basked in the 39 C water (that's 102.2 for you Fahrenheit folks). Super hot. It was almost too hot that you couldn't stay in it very long. Clark enjoyed doing more of his tricks.
We spent the rest of the day at the park and shopping downtown Banff.