Today I was surrounded by wolves! REAL wolves. WILD wolves. It was so cool!
We took Lynne on an overnight trip to Jasper National Park. Left Monday morning and headed back home this afternoon.
On the trip there last night the only wildlife we saw was one herd of mountain sheep. One decided to stop dead centre of the highway to lick something… the big rigs were driving around him and he wouldn’t budge.
We stayed at the Sawridge Hotel which was excellent! Only complaint was from mom as she heard noise from the room next door – mostly bathroom, not talking.
Here is mom in front of the hotel – wearing the red shawl my sister made her for Christmas.
It was pretty chilly there this morning…
We took a drive up the Icefield Parkway as far as Sunwapta Falls. The access road to Athabasca Falls was closed so people had to hike in to the lookout, and at Sunwapta they hadn’t even cleared the snow from the access road.
We stopped along the highway to take photos of the Rockies. The sky was overcast with a few flurries, but really nice and the roads were great.
I’m sure these peaks have names but I don’t know them… that is the Athabasca River in the foreground… it was flowing well which means the glaciers up at the icefields are already melting… and it is only the first day of Spring.
Spring appears to have been very early up there this year.
On the way out-of-town we saw two herds of elk, all laying down ruminating… Lynne got some photos.
Then we ran into (NOT literally) the same herd of mountain sheep from yesterday… this is, I am positive, the same one that stopped traffic for 20 minutes yesterday!
He strolled out, stopped in the middle of the road, posed for photos, then moved off. I only got my camera out at the last-minute so missed the posing.
Then… the highlight! As we were driving along two wolves ran across the highway right to left and into the brush on the other side, I cried “WOLF!” and then two more ran across. I pulled over and Lynne was scrambling to try to get photos out the window… they were running along the railway tracks behind some trees so I was creeping along the shoulder of the highway with my hazard lights on, when, the second two came back onto the highway – they were big. I think maybe they were chasing the other two, which were different colours and smaller out of their territory – it is a theory.
The first was the largest and was very light coloured almost white.
The other, more aggressive towards us, was darker and smaller. They came right at us… and I got nervous! Almost … ALMOST… shut the windows, but we wanted more photos!
The larger one ignored us, but the smaller one came directly at us and those eyes were really intimidating!
I made eye contact with a wild wolf! Then he and his buddy went back the way they came, and made themselves comfortable in the grass. At this point other vehicles had pulled over behind us to look at them too… that’s how it is done in Jasper. If you see someone stopped on the side of the road it is because there is something to see!
Honestly, this was more thrilling than the grizzly bears!! No way we would have got that close to a grizzly.
Then we continued on our way and were telling Lynne about how rare, how EXTREMELY RARE, that was, and how you usually see coyote… when what was either a coyote or a fox ran across the highway in front of us… too fast for a photo.
Then we saw more mountain sheep.
Took some photos of the mountains as we were heading to the East Gate of the Park. Notice the heavy traffic?
The lake was really pretty – frozen with snow in patterns made by the wind.
The rivers were pretty thawed at this level, but the real run off hasn’t started yet.
Did I mention… WE SAW WOLVES!!