Packed up and ready to go we hit the road in the mini-van again. We must have looked like the Griswalds on their Canadian Vacation. First stop was to West Edmonton Mall for a brief look (if it could be brief there - it's huge). We had all agreed to stick to a 2.5hour limit there and to just wander. Surprisingly enough we succeeded. Frank was again on the look out for stuff - this time Rockport shoes. Not in his size the sales assistant suggested we buy them online and ship them back to Oz. This sounded great - the story is a long one. Dad was sensible and brought his 2 pairs while we were there. A coffee to perk us up from Second Cup (one of my favorite coffee places in Canada) and back in the van for the drive to Jasper.
We arrived in Jasper quite late and found our accommodation at Tekarra Lodge. Being a popular place to visit both Summer and Winter I had booked this place in advance as we wanted to accommodate the 7 of us in the same suite. The room was hilarious. Space for all of us - just. The word was that NOBODY FART! 2 reasons for this - 1. The room was fairly small so you'd probably kill us and 2. The mosqitoes were so bad that if we opened the door for air we would all get munched.
Our day in Jasper was great. We walked the 7 bridges of Maligne Canyon - got munched by the mozzies anyway. Took a drive to Maligne Lake. Relaxed with a cocktail at the Fairmont and looked for wildlife. Finally on our drive back to Tekarra we spotted deer, cariboo and black bear. Of course Greg and Dad had to jump out of the car and be tourists to take lots of photos while I panicked about them being attacked from the safety of the car.
The next day we packed up the van again took a short walk around the grounds of the Lodge, got munched by the mozzies and headed towards Banff on the Icefileds Parkway. Frank and Helen had really wanted to do this and even though we had done it already we were amazed by the changed that Summer had brought. We revisted the Athabasca Falls which we had seen frozen in winter and were amazed at the amount of water flowing over them now. The winter must be so cold to freeze such a huge volume of water - great for the kids to see and recall to the grandparents about what we saw in a different season only 4 months prior. Lots of stops along the way for pics of glaciers, snow capped mountains, bears and amazing scenery which still takes my breath away.
We arrived in Canmore for a few nights of R & R at Mystic Springs.