First there was Athabasca Falls, teeming with tourists; and amongst the legs was a barely-leash-trained basset. We resorted to carrying him when the people became too much, but covered ourselves with muddy footprints in the process! I felt a bit sorry for him, because it was easy to see when he became overwhelmed. However, carrying a 35 pound basset for very long was also a bit overwhelming!
Athabasca Falls was beautiful; it was easy to see why it was such a tourist destination. Either we just missed the tourist bus at Sunwapta Falls, or it doesn’t stop there at all, because those rushing waters were deserted. The trail was much steeper, so we didn’t take the puppy out of the car, but instead took turns running down the hill to take in the view.
We hadn’t properly researched the Icefields Parkway before we set out on the road. We were just driving it because it is listed as a top scenic drive in the country, and it would get us into Banff. We saw glacier after glacier, on mountain top after mountain top. The views were spectacular, and then we stopped at the Athabasca Glacier. Not knowing what to expect here, either, we parked the car in the parking lot, and Elena and I started the steep hike to see what we could see. It was worth it!
The glacier is receding; sign post mark where it was in certain years. We saw the marker for the millennium year, and the year I graduated from high school. It was briskly cool up there, with a wind blowing off the glacier that made my ears hurt. But it was also fun to be in little more than tennis shoes and shorts as we hiked past other, more “prepared” hikers wearing hiking boots, wind suits and backpacks. They looked at us like we were crazy; but it wasn’t that difficult a trek, and the sun was out, so the cold wind felt only invigorating. At the top of the path was the wide expanse of glacier. Looking closely, we saw the tour groups that had paid to walk on the glacier; tiny red dots moving in a row.
When it was Sonja and Chadd’s turn up the glacier, it was mine and Elena’s turn to stay behind at the car with the dog. It would have been great if Odin could have made the climb, too, but I had no desire to attempt to drag a basset uphill. Instead, he let us know it was supper-time by trying to eat every rock in the parking lot. (They were just the size of his kibble, and very pretty as well.)
I suppose this is as good a time as any to note that travelling with a dog is not super easy; there are trade-offs and compromises, especially with a puppy. But there are also learning moments and wonderful memories that can only be made when you road-trip with your dog. (And it is still easier than travelling with a toddler…!)