Moody mountain road

If parkways have personalities, this one has attitude.

The Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper is the most remarkable stretch of highway I have ever driven.

As a young boy on family vacation, I was mesmerized by the scale of the mountains and their pure, raw beauty. My childhood memory is of blue skies, fluffy white clouds and snow capped peaks. Over time I have learned the region’s weather makes the views a lot more complicated.

After great anticipation, I drove the entire route last fall. I never saw one mountain through the heavy cloud and pouring rain. My disappointment was matched only by the quality of the food at Saskatchewan Crossing – inversely proportional to the cost. Only a bear sighting near Jasper improved my mood, but that’s another story.

I approached our Icefields Parkway trip in early June much more warily, hoping for the best but carefully guarding my expectations.

I have slowly learned that changing weather may provide unique photographic opportunities. And it happened. At one point, heavy clouds obscured most of the mountains except for some peaks poking through. We stopped the truck and I was able to capture some fascinating images that reminded me of mystical castles.

We ended up experiencing the full weather gamut on our trip – pouring rain, clouds, bright sunshine, snow storm and freezing temperatures at the higher levels. I embraced the beauty in each though I enjoyed the thickest snow on the warm side of the wipers. The parkway’s allure remained intact.

Click on the first image below to view as a larger gallery.

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