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Old 04-28-2008, 09:12 PM   #1
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TWOLOST: Banff/Jasper, April 2008


My wife and I just got back from a great five day trip up-and-into Banff/Jasper National Park in Alberta Canada. We planned one day each for travel to-and-from the Seattle, WA area up to Banff/Canmore area (roughly 650 miles each way). From our home base in Canmore, we ventured out each of our three remaining 'open' days.

On the first open day we traveled along the Smith Dorian Spray Trail (a forty mile well maintained gravel road just outside of Canmore). We encountered blizzard like conditions that... at times, dumped several inches of new snow per hour. It was Friday... and we had the place to ourselves.

On the second open day, we traveled from Canmore up through the Icefields Parkway in the early morning, ate a late lunch in Jasper and then headed back to our home base in Canmore (reverse route) by late evening. Weather was perfect. Freezing temps in the morning, mid 60's (F) by late afternoon, not a cloud in the sky all day. As a best guess, we encountered less than two dozen vehicles along the Parkway itself.

On the third open day, we took several short trips including some travel along the Bow Valley Parkway (Hwy 1A). This was Sunday... and by all appearances - was the first real 'mild' weekend day that winter relinquished its icy grip on the area, we encountered significantly more people out playing (hikers, bicyclists, motorcyclists, convertibles, etc...). We took the opportunity to do much less driving and focused more on enjoying a few small parks instead.

From an operations stand-point, we had no SMB trouble whatsoever.

Pics coming...
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Old 04-28-2008, 09:51 PM   #2
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Travel Day (Day 1)


En-Route (Canadian Rockies):

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Old 04-28-2008, 09:58 PM   #3
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Feel free to elaborate and bring on the pics. If you can show a map it would be great. It's high on my list to visit there some day. Thanks
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Old 04-28-2008, 10:49 PM   #4
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Dave, will do... I will place the maps all together somewhere in this thread so they are eaier to reference as a group.
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Old 04-28-2008, 10:50 PM   #5
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Note: This is what the weather looked like when we arrived in the park on our first travel day (just above freezing, storm clouds in the area). This weather would fluctuate dramatically in both directions on day 2.

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Old 04-28-2008, 11:16 PM   #6
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First Exploration Day (Day 2)



Snowplow working hwy 40. It is sunny here, but not more than 6 miles further west on this hwy, it was snowing so hard that my wife and I could barely make out where the road was.


Here we are, off of hwy 40 and not too far into the Smith Dorian Spray Trail. Note, the snowplow had worked both sides of this gravel road. That would change to only one side a few miles later on.





Now down to only one side being plowed. We chose to drive on the unplowed section as it was like driving on a cushion of air (very smooth).


Simply amazing! Here we are, stopped and having a picnic in the road... with no one else around.



Passing snow showers over the Spray Lakes Reservior



Last poser shot for today... this is our SMB in front of the Spray reservoir, just before we descended down into the town of Canmore.


More later...



Cheers,
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Old 04-29-2008, 08:59 AM   #7
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Second Exploration Day (Day 3)



Woke early and headed for Jasper along the Icefields Parkway. Crystal clear blue skies and freezing temps provided unobstructed views of the surrounding mountains.





Fresh snow from the day before blanketed the Columbia Icefield area.





Less snow in and around Jasper. Temp climbed up into the 60's later in the day.




On our return from Jasper, we witnessed a spectacular avalanche. Scale is hard to see here... but we watched for more than a full minute as a wall of snow curled well over the tops of the trees. The size of the event made it seem like it was all taking place in slow motion.




It was a great day - and a long day. We had been on the road before 6:00am and made it back to our base camp around 8:30pm that evening.



More later...

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Old 04-29-2008, 09:55 AM   #8
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Another awesome adventure Bruce! Thanks for sharing...my wife, daughter and I will most likely follow your "SMB Shakedown" route once we get our SMB in July! Thanks for the pics and details that you share with all of us. My wife got super excited when I showed her your website and trip pics. Thanks again!

-Ray
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Old 04-29-2008, 07:29 PM   #9
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Thanks Ray. July cant come soon enough I bet...


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Old 04-29-2008, 07:36 PM   #10
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Impressive web site my friend, but I just have to ask....

"top secret test facility" ??

Nice post on the latest trip, thank you.

CJ
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