Day 59 of 62

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This post is contributed by Shelley.
August began slowly. We broke camp early since we knew we’d have to do the find-a-campsite dance again and headed south on the Icefield Parkway.

I enjoyed a brief stop at the Athabasca Falls whose water shone in the morning sun. These falls really were fabulous (thanks for the suggestion, Jennie!) and I enjoyed getting to climb down around them.

A channel carved by Athabasca Falls

A little more driving and we were in the Columbia Icefield. We found a campsite that wasn’t full yet just south of the ice and had a nice lunch there before heading out to see the glacier. We went first to the visitor center, then drove across the street and parked at the foot of the glacier. After a short, steep climb we were walking on ice instead of rock. It was really fun although my bare legs weren’t kept very warm by the long skirt. I was glad to have finally given in to the urge to buy a fleece jacket!

Glacier in Columbia icefield

We stayed within the recommended hiking on the glacier and then came back down into the warmth. We debated more hiking but opted instead to return to the campsite and enjoy some time reading and napping. We cooked a small dinner and then took a small walk around the campground. Lots of English and French and German conversations here, and a variety of interesting smells coming up from various stoves and campfires. We enjoyed the quiet and rest with a bit of melancholy knowing we couldn’t stay away from civilization forever.

Another fire this evening, and although it started fitfully (because of the altitude?) it eventually built into a very successful campfire. The rectangular box-pit provided in each campsite is a bit small for a raging inferno, but the boxed-in sides meant airflow was restricted to one of two directions, and we had fun playing with the fire, making passages for fresh air through the glowing coals, so that the flames came twisting out of the top of the fire in a spectacular spiral.

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