Ten days in Canada's Banff and Jasper National Parks was a wonderful experience. Here is a quick summary:
The Good: The scenery is spectacular, the wildlife is marvelous and the water is an unbelievable color.
No filters on this picture, the water really was this color! The runoff from the glaciers causes this.
The color provides a great background for many photo ops.
Unfortunately the lakes in Banff are Tourist Bus Accessible, leading to Crowds in many areas.
Fortunately it didn't take much hiking to escape the crowds and we were alone-ish in the wilderness again.
Both Banff and Jasper have a system for designating that a campsite is taken. You pay the fee and place a slip on the post. As an added assurance they recommend that if you are leaving for a while that you should leave something at the site to show that it is occupied.
At this particular campground the sites along the river were not much more than a picnic table on a plot of ground between the river and a parking area. We paid our fee and went off for a nice afternoon of hiking and an evening at a restaurant.
Upon returning we found a large camper in our spot, complete with their own outdoor rug. Not only that, there were several other cars, not directly at our site, but close enough to encroach on the space, and none of these cars had paid the fees for the night. We approached the camper, showed him our tag on the post and our belongings on the table. His response was " How can you show up at 8:00 at night and expect to have your site? What are you complaining about?"
Well, let's see- you are in our spot, you aren't moving, and you have not paid the fee. Unfortunately there was no Camp Host or ranger to mediate the situation. We chose to move on and sleep in the parking lot. It definitely left a bad taste in my mouth!
The Sad part is the shrinking glaciers. As a first time visitor I wouldn't know the glaciers were shrinking as I had nothing to compare against.
The glaciers were there, but apparently not in their former glory.
What will be left for future generations to enjoy?