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Take me on a road trip through the Icefields Parkway, Canada.

Inputs from TS Intern Arushi Rajput.

An immaculate blend of blue and green, with streaks of white glaciers, lakes, waterfalls and the serene snow capped mountains – one glance at the Canadian Rockies and you’d forget to blink. Set amidst all this beauty, the Icefields Parkway is one of  the world’s most stunning roads you’ll ever come across.

Stretching all the way from Jasper to Lake Louise, the 232 km double-lane highway winds along the Continental Divide through rocky mountain peaks and vast sweeping valleys. Rated among the best in the world by both Conde Nast Traveler and National Geographic magazine, the Parkway lives up to its tagline – “The Most Spectacular Journey in the World.”

Image: www.wildnatureimages.com
Image: http://www.wildnatureimages.com

With every few miles travelled, you will be treated to some of nature’s masterpieces- the majestic waterfalls, the ancient glaciers, the liveliness of the fauna – all set within valleys of thick pine and larch forests. It’s a traveler’s dilemma when it comes to choosing where to stop and take it all in. Here’s a little help on getting the best out of your trip:

Image: www.tripadvisor.co.uk
Columbia Icefields  Image: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk

Hike

There’s no dearth of hiking trails to choose from – short walks or long excursions, you an easily get acquainted with nature on foot.

See

This is a land with a unique blend of the natural elements. You can start with the Columbia Icefields, the weeping wall in Banff, the lakes and valleys.

Click

Always be camera ready, you never know when you might find a mother bear and her cubs or a deer merrily grazing around (Seriously! Keep a safe distance though). But otherwise, in these parts, still-life isn’t that boring either.

Peyto Lake Image: www.boomsbeat.com
Peyto Lake Image: http://www.boomsbeat.com

Banff and Jasper National Parks

Here’s where you can admire the tumbling falls – Athabasca, Tangle and Sunwapta, and lakes like the ever-so-blue Peyto.

Lake Louise

The deep blue hues of the water is perfect to relax and refresh. However, if you don’t want to relax just yet, then there is a plenty to do here- rent a canoe, stroll along the river, go horseback riding or hike!

Can’t wait to go now? June to September is the best time to pack your bags for this road trip.

Know Before YOU Go:

This website can help you plan your trip.

More to read:

Cycling the Icefields Parkway

Roadtrippers – Driving Alberta’s Icefields Parkway

Monty’s Musings- RV trip on Icefields Parkway

A few stunning photographs by Peter Carroll

 

 

 

 

Wanna “Sit around and do Nothing” in Garhwal?

Pauri, Pauri-Garhwal Distt. Uttarakhand

Vista

Set off the beaten path from the Haridwar-Rishikesh NH-58 is the town of Pauri.

The city provides a panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks of Chaukhamba, Trishul, Gangotri group, Bandar-Poonch, Swarga-Rohini, Kedarnath, Kharcha Kund, Hathiparvat etc.; essentially a parade of perennially snow laden  mountains. The cherry-on-top is that this vista lies west of the town with a deep valley and low hills in between, which makes the sunset over these great peaks spectacular. The sunset at Pauri occasionally manifests a riot of colours with the dominating tang of fiery orange which mellows down into turquoise streaks.

Pauri

Mumukshu, by V-Resorts lives up to their claim of offering comfortable living at offbeat and unexplored locations. It is 5 kms from the city of Pauri on the Pauri-Devprayag road, on the other side of a hill. The resort, though right next to the street, is cut off from the noise of the town yet close enough for any supplies you might need. The two building structure has 15 rooms with simple and comfortable furnishing.

Their USP is location. The property is perched on a steep hill where every room has a grand view of the above mentioned snow covered panorama; right from the window, also from the front porch and even from the plenty of gardens and open spaces. The décor is a little unorganized here and there but sometimes this is preferable over immaculately scaped lawns. This seems real.

The staff is very respectful and polite in the way most of our hill dwelling brothers are. The resort manager in particular, is a friendly, knowledgeable and very helpful chap. He even lent me his personal Bullet to ride around the hills! And to balance those centrifugal forces around the curvy hills with the crisp evening breeze on your face is a pleasure every motorcycle enthusiast can give up his house for.

The intent of V Resorts is very clear with the activities being offered in addition to a tranquil place with a gorgeous view. They have a foosball table in the recreation/conference room, books to read and sketching & painting paraphernalia. They even have a section on their website where the activity being offered is “Sit around and do nothing” with the catch line “..what did I do? You lived life my friend. While the clock ticked, you made the moments stop for you.

Fauna

For those who like to venture out, jungle hikes are aplenty and all around. These beautiful treks take you to various view points, picnic spots and a 1000 year old Lakshman temple.

If you’re really lucky (like I was), it’ll drizzle at sunset, the twilight and clouds will paint the sky, the breeze will goosebump you into freshness, the birds will chirp you to melodious delight and you’ll be treated to an elongated double rainbow rising up from the depths of the valley to the colorful sky.  It is a place for a peaceful, quiet, leisurely vacation.

Flora

While basking in the mild mid-day sun on the resort’s garden-with-a-view, an epiphany of sorts hit me. It goes like this:

Amidst the peace you realize,

The place is still alive,

Lovely breeze swishing through the pine leaves,

Distant chants at temples,

A smattering of music,

Dhols or bongos,

Even the strains of a distant guitar,

Twitters n chirps n whistles n coos

n shrieks n howls n cock-a-doodle-doos,

All remind you of life and the (very) simple existence of it.

ACTIVITY Alert :  Fishing/Angling

V-resorts arranges fishing at Beas Ghat, which is a world famous fishing spot especially for ‘Mahaseer’. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, Beas Ghat, offers tourists with a splendid experience of fishing in the midst of solitude.

Quick Facts

Distance from Delhi: 315 km

Distance from Rishikesh:115km

Route: Delhi – Najibabad – Kotdwara – Jwalpa Devi – Pauri OR Delhi – Hardwar – Rishikesh – Devprayag – Pauri

Woollens: Heavy woollens in winter, Light woollens in summer

Doctor on call: Being close to Pauri town, Doctors are easily available

Places to visit in the vicinity

Khirsu: 19 km. Calm, quiet picnic spot amidst thick oak and deodar forests

Devprayag: 46 km. Confluence of the Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers (tributaries of the Ganga)

Lansdowne: 83 km. Cantonment town with pristine beauty

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