We actually saw more bears than elk or deer. On a horse ride, me and my daughter saw a deer actually chase off a coyote that was quite close to the horses. That was pretty special. We also saw a fair number of goats and some baby (kids) which were very cute also.
In between Jasper and Banff (about a 4 hour drive) we stopped off at the Columbia Icefield and we took a tour to stand on the Athabaskar Glacier and had to get onto it via a specially designed bus – amazing stuff; and then we did a walk on a skywalk that is glass based, so you can see right down to the bottom of the canyon. Standing out on an extended walkway with glass bottom looking down to a river far below! If you’d told me that I would have done that before we left, I would have told you that I thought you were bananas, but I did do it and it was pretty amazing.
The cruise from Vancouver up to Alaska via the “inner passage” was simply awesome. We went on the Holland America line, ship’s name was the Zuiderdam (pron Zoo-der-dam) and for a period of 7 days, we encountered roughly two days where it was cold. All the rest we just lucked out with brilliant weather. In fact, Canada is experiencing some amazing summer weather – warm days (although they call it HOT HOT HOT) and next to no rainfall where we were.
On the cruise we did a whale watching tour from Alaska’s capital of Juneau (and what an amazing capital – not overly big and there’s only 3 ways of getting to Juneau – by air, by water and by birth). They have a road that goes for 9 mile in one direction and then it ends and in the other direction it goes for about 40 miles and then it ends. So over the years all vehicles that are there have had to be ferried in. If I recall correctly the population of Juneau in summer is around 2,500 people and in winter it drops down to about 500 people.