I feel like this post is gonna be more of a photo diary than anything else because of how utterly beautiful this part of Canada is.
Like I could try describing it to you but it’s just one of those places/experiences that’s better shown than described really. (There are, after all, only so many ways one can describe snow-capped mountains).
Anyway, after our day skiing in Banff, we woke up to clear skies (it had actually snowed overnight) which meant that finally, we could drive the Icefields Parkway.
The first time we tried doing this, there was an avalanche which meant this utterly beautiful road from Jasper National Park to Banff National Park was closed.
It was fine for us as we weren’t going to Banff on that trip but it would have been nice to see. Those that were, however, found an extra 4 hours added to their journey.
The second time, we were actually due to make that drive from Jasper to Banff and there was another planned avalanche (they set off the avalanches with dynamite to clear the mountains and prevent a real one from happening) so we found ourselves with that extra 4 hours drive on our way over to Rockies Heli for our helicopter ride over the Rockies (which made for a super early start).
This time, however, no avalanches and so off we went to Lake Louise to meet with JP, our guide for the day who runs Pursuit Adventures Guide with his wife Danielle.
The new dusting of snow actually ended up adding even more to the beauty of this already gorgeous drive through Alberta and I kid you not, the next few hours were pretty much spent mouthing “WOW!” as we made our way from one glacier-capped mountain to the other.
We started off at the magnificent Crowfoot Glacier…
…before making our way over to the now-frozen Bow Lake; where Lloyd proceeded to (unintentionally) fill his boots up with snow.
We then essentially just carried on driving and stopping whenever we felt as we made our way slowly over towards Abraham Lake.
Now, Abraham Lake is one place in Canada where you’ve probably seen, even if you didn’t know what it was called. It’s essentially the lake with those frozen bubbles.
We stopped off for lunch (brought with us by JP) as we soaked up that gorgeous view of the lake.
The frozen bubbles in Abraham Lake are caused by methane freezing up as organic matter under the lake decompose and release methane which slowly freezes as it rises up in winter.
The way the ice freezes makes the ice super clear (instead of being cloudy, like ice you might find in your fridge). The fact that it’s fairly windy here also means the dusting of snow on the lake always clears up so you end up being able to spot the bubbles as you walk over the lake.
It is absolutely beautiful and so worth the trip.
There are a few things worth knowing though. There’s definitely a better time to visit – essentially the middle of winter is brilliant for seeing the bubbles at their finest – arrive too early (late autumn) or too late (early spring) and you won’t actually be able to even walk on the lake.
Walking on the lake requires crampons. Don’t even try without – you won’t get very far and will probably hurt yourself from constantly falling over.
Having a guide certainly helps. There are clear hotspots here that are best for seeing the bubbles and having a guide local to the area is one of the best ways to do so. Plus they know the bits of the lake not to head out on.
It makes a huge difference; having a guide like JP as this was actually not our first experience of being in Abraham Lake.
The first time around, we saw the bubble but it was somewhat underwhelming as it was covered in snow (which meant we tried clearing it our ourselves and was just tedious, to be honest) and that first time, the bubble looked nowhere as clear and beautiful as this time with JP as our guide.
The stark contrast between that experience and this amazing experience we had with JP just made it all that bit clearly why having an expert like him is so worth your while.
(*I know I keep going on about this but trust me, it makes a huge difference to your experience here!)
Eventually, we left Abraham Lake, stopping to check out the wild Bighorn sheep that roam the area.
By the way, if you see these when you’re here, do not approach them – unless of course you fancy getting head-butted by wild rams. 😄
With that, we decided to call it a day and head back to Banff…
…where we would be staying somewhere pretty special for our final evening of this trip through Alberta! 😀