Friday 13th: The Greatest Day

During a three day road trip through the Rocky Mountains, Ben Collins discovers if the Icefields Parkway lives up to its high expectation

Whilst in recent posts I have boasted of an ability to not set expectations, today it seemed was an exception.

Having waited for this day for as long as I can remember I awoke not too dissimilar to a child waking on Christmas morning and getting out of bed I knew this day would stick with me until the day that I die...

...So why was I so excited?

Well following our hike together yesterday afternoon up at Lake Louise, Kilian and I had a long discussion and, cutting a long story short, we decided to continue exploring the Rocky's together. Most excitingly, we had figured that by pooling are resources we could just about afford to rent a car, thus allowing us not only a greater and more promising reach but a chance to explore this great landscape at our own pace, something neither of us would achieve by either thumb or by bus.

To get the ball rolling though we had to pick up the car and for that we begun the day making our way back to Banff, some 60km to the East. However, not wanting to make things too easy on ourselves we decided to make our own way there and whilst Kilian  jumped on the Greyhound I headed for the highway, opting instead to thumb it back to Banff.

Now despite the coach passing me as I stood with next to no passing traffic, I did in fact manage to beat Kilian back to Banff where greeting him off the bus the look on his face was priceless. Smugness aside, the important thing was we were both in Banff and signing my life away I was handed the keys to what would come to unlock the greatest drive of our lives.

So with the Sun shining on a hot, yet comfortable summer's day, we hit the highway brimming with excitement and whilst expectations were high, nothing could have prepared us for what we would see.

From setting off, it would take Kilian and myself nearly eight hours to make the drive up to Jasper, where from start to finish we were treated to the most inspiring of landscapes. It seemed for every corner we turned, the mountains got higher, the valleys became deeper and this great expanse became ever more spectacular.

Writing this post, I genuinely struggle to find words that do it all justice - all I think I can really say is that as the late summer Sun set that evening in Jasper, it did so on what I figured may well have been the greatest day of my life.

And here it is...