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Old 14th November 2014, 11:24   #1
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Default Trip to Alberta, Canada

Preamble:
I landed in Edmonton, Alberta by the end of summer (August). It took me couple of weeks to finish of the formalities and obtain my operator’s license (holding an UAE license coupled with my left hand driving experience made things easier). Since then, the travel itch was growing more and also the winter was fast approaching (As I write this travelogue, the temperature is at -17 degree Celsius and the snow has already set in). After couple of short local trips to visit nearby lakes, the plan was to do a long drive coupled with sightseeing. Hence the idea of visiting Jasper National Park was set in.

Jasper National Park [i]is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, spanning 10,878 km2 (4,200 sq mi). It is located in the province of Alberta, north of Banff National Park and west of the City of Edmonton. The park includes the glaciers of the Columbia Icefield, hot springs, lakes, waterfalls and mountains. Wildlife in the park includes elk, caribou, moose, mule deer, white-tailed deer, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, grizzly bears, black bears, coyotes, beavers, Rocky Mountain pikas, hoary marmots, grey wolves, mountain lions, and wolverines”. Wikipedia

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The Plan:
The main motive of this trip was to have a peaceful long drive (around 800kms to and fro) and enjoy the fall colors while it lasts. Along with us (myself & my wife), two more families were about to join the trip (so total 7 of us) and the itinerary was made accordingly. Initially the plan was to drive in 2 cars but then we thought it will be of more fun if we can do it all together in a single vehicle and so a day before the travel, we booked a Dodge Grand Caravan 7 seater from AVIS. So the plan was set to start early in the morning, enjoy the scenic drive, visit Miette hot springs at Jasper National Park and spend couple of hours, visit other local attractions and return back.

The Travel:
As planned, we rented the Dodge GC from AVIS in the morning and started our trip. It was a fairly new vehicle (2014 model) with under 15,xxx kms on the odometer. The climate was pleasant which made our trip more enjoyable. The first major stop/break was at McDonalds Hinton (Approx 290kms from our place in Edmonton and a 4 hour drive) for brunch.
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Nothing much to say about the drive from Edmonton to Hinton since it’s almost straight & relaxed and with cruise control in effect, the less said the better but the sceneries kept everyone awake. The final leg between Hinton and Jasper National Park (30 km) was more enjoyable in terms of driving with twists, turns, climbs and breathtaking views. We did encounter few animal crossings in this last stretch. After 360+ kms and 5 hours of driving (including few stops for break and customary photo shoots), we reached our destination - Miette Hot Springs.
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Last edited by v1kram : 20th November 2014 at 04:27.
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Old 22nd November 2014, 02:12   #2
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Default re: Trip to Alberta, Canada

Miette Hot Springs - One of the most intriguing and relaxing attractions to Jasper National Park and the Canadian Rockies are its hot springs, and of those, the Miette are some the hottest, most interesting, and most enjoyable. Water as hot as 53.9ºC flows out of these springs in a narrow canyon along Sulphur Creek. Heated geothermally, the Miette Hot springs are the hottest known springs in the Canadian Rockies. Each minute approximately 800 litres of steaming water pours out of the natural ducts along the creek. Rich in calcium, sulphate and hydrogen-sulphide, the water is collected, cooled, chlorinated and filtered, then pumped into pools”.

It has four different pools with warm, hot, cold and colder water. The idea is to begin with warm pool then move to the hot and cold pools consecutively after spending 10 or so minutes in each pool. Though the cold pool was bearable, the colder pool was wild which made it difficult to stay for more than few seconds (makes the body to freeze). It was a new experience to all and we spent couple of hours before making a move. No photos were taken inside.
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Old 22nd November 2014, 11:27   #3
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Default re: Trip to Alberta, Canada

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 24th November 2014, 12:28   #4
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Default re: Trip to Alberta, Canada

Thanks for sharing this beautiful post Vikram. The photography is breathtaking and you just gave a lot of people a gallery of new wallpapers (Microsoft may just call dibs on some of them).

Do let us know what you thought of the Dodge Grand Caravan.
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Old 24th November 2014, 21:16   #5
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Default re: Trip to Alberta, Canada

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tushar View Post
Thanks for sharing this beautiful post Vikram. The photography is breathtaking and you just gave a lot of people a gallery of new wallpapers (Microsoft may just call dibs on some of them).

Do let us know what you thought of the Dodge Grand Caravan.
Thanks for your compliments Tushar, some of the photos were clicked from the moving vehicle. Have some more, working on reducing the size, will post them soon.

Regarding Dodge Grand Caravan, the specifications are 3.6L 24V VVT, 6 speed automatic. It was comfortable to drive and did the duty as a perfect 7 seater, though it's smaller than a Toyota Sienna or Honda Odyssey. It's the cheapest of the lot and best selling 7 seater for years in Canada.
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Old 24th November 2014, 22:42   #6
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Default re: Trip to Alberta, Canada

Thanks for sharing this post on the time you spent at Jasper National Park.

The scenery is breathtaking indeed.

Wish you many such journeys while in Canada.
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Old 25th November 2014, 09:29   #7
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Default re: Trip to Alberta, Canada

Awesome !. It reminds me of my Canadian Rockies trip way back in 2008.

Flew into Calgary airport, took a car rental and did a road trip into the Rockies. Trans-Canada Highway (Rt 1)drive is a scenic one. We went to Banff NP, Yoho NP, Lake Louise, Bow Lake, Peyto Lake and all the way up the Icefields Parkway (Rt 93) to Columbia Icefields glacier. Scenery was unlike anything we had seen so far on our other road trips. Even though we took around 1700 photos on a 7 day trip, after returning home, realized that even HD photos don't do justice !

A couple of days we stayed at the "Fairmont Chateau, Lake Louise", the famed luxurious lakeside resort. Although it was kind of expensive, the two days we spent there were well worth it.
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Old 25th November 2014, 10:52   #8
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Default re: Trip to Alberta, Canada

Awesome place and equally awesome pics, v1kram. Thanks for posting. Having spent quite a few years in SK; Icefield Parkway drive used to be our regular getaway. What a beautiful place, what scenery! This place has always made me excited about going there.

Sharing a few pics from my end, hope you wouldn't mind in your thread.
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Old 25th November 2014, 20:52   #9
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Default re: Trip to Alberta, Canada

Quote:
Originally Posted by PVPal View Post
Thanks for sharing this post on the time you spent at Jasper National Park.

The scenery is breathtaking indeed.

Wish you many such journeys while in Canada.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rintu View Post
Awesome !. It reminds me of my Canadian Rockies trip way back in 2008.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ace F355 View Post
Awesome place and equally awesome pics, v1kram. Thanks for posting. Having spent quite a few years in SK; Icefield Parkway drive used to be our regular getaway. What a beautiful place, what scenery! This place has always made me excited about going there.
Thanks for your compliments and also for sharing your experience guys, those scenaries are breath taking indeed.
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Old 26th November 2014, 05:21   #10
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Default re: Trip to Alberta, Canada

Our next and final place of visit was a Old Fort view point alongside Athabasca river where we enjoyed a bit of trekking and sunset before climbing down the hill and playing alongside the river until it got dark. It took around few hours for trekking and playing before we got exhausted and then planned to start the return journey. It was the same route and since it was dark, there was nothing much to enjoy apart from few unexpected animal crossings. Again, our major break/stop was at Hinton but this time at Domino’s for dinner. We reached back to Edmonton around 2AM and returned the vehicle at AVIS before reaching home since we didn’t want to wake up early in the morning to return it. Also the return procedure was simple, just fill the form (time and basic details) and drop the keys along with the form in their dedicated returns box. We did note down / took a picture of the odometer for our reference (total trip came out to 790kms). Overall, the drive was pleasant and the trip was enjoyable.
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Old 27th November 2014, 02:49   #11
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Default re: Trip to Alberta, Canada

Cool. Looks like the weather was on your side during the trip. We were faced with constant weather fluctuations from dark n cloudy, rain, sleet, snow and what not. We were using a PDA based Navigation system (Mapopolis) and there were multiple times when the GPS would shut down stating that it could not get a fix on the minimum requirement of 3 satellites - weather was that bad !.
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Old 27th November 2014, 08:11   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rintu View Post
Cool. Looks like the weather was on your side during the trip. We were faced with constant weather fluctuations from dark n cloudy, rain, sleet, snow and what not. We were using a PDA based Navigation system (Mapopolis) and there were multiple times when the GPS would shut down stating that it could not get a fix on the minimum requirement of 3 satellites - weather was that bad !.
True, the weather was perfect on the day of our visit, whereas a week later our pre planned Banff trip was cancelled due to poor weather (it hit sub zero for that weekend and had first snow of the season).
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Old 1st December 2014, 00:47   #13
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Default re: Trip to Alberta, Canada

Few more clicks from a different camera.
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Old 2nd December 2014, 22:59   #14
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Default re: Trip to Alberta, Canada

Final set of pictures.
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Old 28th January 2015, 07:53   #15
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Few winter photos taken during a short ride to "Elk Island National Park" nearby Edmonton, Alberta.
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Frozen Lake
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Forester rescue under process, the inroads were so icy and slippery, unfortunately this guy slipped off and got stuck in snow. Mine was the only other vehicle in that zone, couldn't use rope to tow out as there was no enough grip, finally managed to bring him back on the track by digging out the snow and pushing.
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My companion
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