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When you drove the Parkway did you get out onto the Athabasca Glacier, north of the Sascatchewan Crossing? We spent about an hour walking up the steep slope off Highway 93 onto the ice itself (where only a small roped-off area was safe for tourists to venture onto the glaciers' surface itself), and then back down to our car in the huge parking lot by the Parkway. What an amazing experience! Actually, what amazed us the most were the small concrete markers along the walkway at irregular intervals that simply had a year marked on them. These indicate where the toe of the glacier was at a given time over the past 100 years or so. We were stunned to realize how much and how far back from the highway it had receded over certain periods of time. We wondered how fast and how far it would continue to move back over the next 50 years or so, given the onslaught of rampant Global Warming...still an absolutely awesome sight along the very unique Icefields Parkway.
curt....well done! This is one of our favorite drives in North America, especially in the so called "off seasons" which are really the best seasons, since you can avoid so much of the traffic and clutter associated with the "season." We think the Icefields Drive is as much about what you do not see (man made structures) as what you do see (raw and natural beauty).
This day and age, it's amazing to find a long stretch of a major highway anywhere in the world so pristine and unspoilt by crass commercialism. We were quite taken aback by the sheer beauty and absence of human intrusion, other than the paved road itself, as we drove mile after gorgeous mile along Route 93. The fantastic views made us drive in silent awe as one incredible mountain peak after another come into breath-taking view along the almost arrow-straight highway. Best of all, we often had immense stretches of the Icefields Parkway in both directions totally to ourselves, with not another car in sight for miles both north and south. Also, there were no gas stations, stores, motels, hotels, shopping centres, houses or buildings at all, except at a few isolated locations along the whole length of the road.
This highway is by far the most scenic and spectacular drive we've ever been on and is one that everyone should be lucky enough to experience for themselves once in their lifetimes.
More to come about it soon.
Excellent post. I enjoyed reading about your adventures along the Icefields Parkway. This area still seems relatively unspoiled and pristine. I look forward to your subsequent posts hat you have been announcing. Thanks for sharing your adventure.
Thanx for the tip re. lunch at the Burrowing Owl's restaurant. Will take you up on the suggestion for lunch there when we get to the Okanagan Valley next week on our journey of discovery through the Canadian Rockies. Thanx!
I just remembered there are 3 other great wineries worth visiting in the OK. They are Burrowing Owl, Summerhill and Mission Hill. All 3 have great views of the lake and/or vineyards, and amazing food and wine.
Summerhill ages their award winning wines in a pyramid like structure. Mission Hill recently completed a $50 million reno on their property. Burrowing Owl's restaurant is one of the best places to have lunch.
You bet. If we make it that far, we'll be hooking up for a day or so with our friend in Penticton and he'll likely take us on a tour of all the great stuu in the Okanagan. Will share our experiences on return back home to Toronto.
Great. You'll likely have your own precious finds in the OK and memorable experiences in this spectacular region. Looking forward to your blog after September.
My wife and i will be visiting the Canadian Rockies in mid-September. Though most of our time will likely be spent touring the spectacularly scenic mountain regions near Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper, we'll also take a swing westward towards Kelowna and may have time to explore some of the attractios of the Okanagan Valley that you've set out in your blog. We look forward to it1
Message Edited by curtiejoe on 09-01-2007 08:16 PM
The best time to visit the Okanagan Valley (OK)is in the fall - harvest time. Many wineries offer tastings, fabulous restaurant meals, and even on site accommodations.
There are fall fairs, harvest festivals and the likes, all happening around September and October of each year.
The OK is about 5 hours from Vancouver. A beautiful and pleasant drive all the way.
The area is well visited all year round - summer for water spots, hiking, wineries - and winter for skiing, snowboarding, sleigh rides, wineries.
I suggest flying or driving into Kelowna first and make that location your base. It's located on the famous Okanagan Lake - famed for its own ogopogo mythology. It has some nice resorts and it's the biggest centre in the OK.
The hottest spot is in the southern part of the OK, around Osoyoos and Oliver. It's dubbed the desert of British Columbia. There's a popular aboriginal owned winery - N'kimip that's worth a visit. Great wine, awesome view, amazing food, a cultural centre and native art gallery all on site. A must visit. Another winery - Blasted Church is also worth a visit, for tasting and making your purchases. Their labels are a blast!
Another worthwhile spot to visit is Salmon Arm, a 40 min drive from Kelowna. It has a few wineries, but famous for water sports (as it is on Shuswap Lake), houseboating,fruit orchards, and locally made gouda cheeses.
There's also Peachland, Penticton, Armstrong, Sorrento, Vernon ... so many lovely spots, so little time. Rent a car and cruise the area.
But definitely visit the area in the fall, and don't forget to pick up a few bottles of amazing and world renowned ice wines while you're there!
Message Edited by slimzone on 08-31-2007 09:54 PM
My friend lives in Penticton, towards the south end of the valley. Where did you play and stay? By the way, I'll be checking things out there foer myself this fall, as my wife and I will be touring the Canadian Rockies. One of our stop-overs will be Penticton, though we'll travel the length of the Okanagan right down to the US border.
No, it is a very lush valley. No desert where I played and stayed.
Have a friend in Kelowna who speaks very highly of the Okanagan. He too is an avid golfer and tells me about some of the area courses. One thing he says I find amazing: that part of the OV is actually a desert! Seems its an extension of the Sonora Desert much further south. Have you heard this?
The golf in the OV is some of the best I have experienced. The courses are manicured by little elves that rake and mow in between golf shots and are never seen!
It's about 250 miles east of Vancouver. The drive is spectacular as it takes you up through magnificently scenic mountains and valleys in the heart of the Canadian Rockies!
Haven't stayed at any of the many up-scale lodgings myself, as we drove through the valley on our way to Calgary, Alberta. But a good friend of ours who lives in Penticton, which is in the heart of the Okanangan, speaks highly of the following properties:
- The Strand Lakeside Resort, Vernon, BC
- Apex Mountain Resort, Penticton
- Big White Ski Resort, Kelowna
- Silver Star Mountain Resort, Vernon
- Summerland Wayerfront Resort, Summerland
You may want to check these out on the Web.
Sounds lovely. How far is the O. valley from Vancouver?
Can you recommend any places to stay?
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