Jasper – Day Two

Saturday, 4 August: As tempting as it was to laze around the resort, by 9.30 we were in the coach to start the day with a cruise on Maligne Lake to Spirit Island. Set amongst towering peaks, Maligne Lake is the largest glacial fed lake in the Canadian Rockies and interestingly, the water is a different colour at Spirit Island than it is where the boat departs from. As you get closer, the water changes from blue to emerald, due to the presence of rock flour from the glaciers.

Maligne Lake (1)

Maligne Lake (2)

Maligne Lake

Spirit Island is one of the most photographed places in Canada and we could see why. Beautiful, peaceful and a very special place.

 

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On our return we hopped back on the coach and headed to Athabasca Falls.  This waterfall is not known so much for its height (at 23 metres) as for the force of the water falling into the gorge.

 

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Next stop was Maligne Canyon.  This canyon measures over 50 metres deep and we did an interpretative walk, learning about the underground river system while following the canyon’s trail past beautiful waterfalls and spectacular rock formations.  Several bridges crossed where you could see the water far below.  It was very interesting to read how the churning water is constantly eroding the canyon.

 

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The rest of the day we had to ourselves, which gave us another opportunity to explore the resort and later in the day I walked around the lake which took 1-1/2 hours at a leisurely pace, stopping to read the many boards set up at intervals, with interesting information about the plant and animal life around the lake.

 

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Around JPL lake (7)Around JPL lake (6)Around JPL lake (1)

 

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Jasper

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3 August:   Friday morning, we headed north amidst a landscape of towering peaks, waterfalls and glaciers, hoping we would see some elk, bears or mountain goats. In fact, John stopped the coach when he saw several cars up ahead parked on the side of the road and we were just in time to catch a glimpse of a bear!  It was too bad that everyone had gotten out of their cars with their cameras and scared it away.  Unfortunately, that was to be our only sighting!

 

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Arrived at the Columbian Icefield and boarded an Ice Explorer to drive out to the massive Athabasca Glacier.  This is the largest ice field in the Rocky Mountains, located along the border of Alberta and British Columbia.

It was pretty crowded out there, with Ice Explorers coming and going, but all very controlled and we could only stay out there for 20 minutes. There were lots of people standing around and the ice was slippery, so I didn’t venture very far. Nevertheless, an amazing experience to actually stand on a glacier.

Just before we reached our accommodation, we rounded a corner and were surprised to find several elk lying in the grass.  John stopped the coach and we took some photos through the windows so we wouldn’t disturb them.

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We stayed in the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, in the middle of Alberta’s stunning Jasper National Park.  Covering 700 acres, this luxury resort has a main lodge surrounded by chalets and cabins all connected by paths and gardens facing Lac Beauvert and Canada’s No 1 Golf Course Resort.  Our meals in the restaurant were of the highest standard and we even had an “egg chef” to cook our eggs at breakfast!

 

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Our accommodation was in one of the cabins, roomy and luxurious, with a patio out front looking onto the lake and a back door as well!  The lodge wasn’t far away, but if you didn’t want to walk, you only had to make a quick phone call and a golf cart would be sent to pick you up.

That night after dinner we had a local wildlife expert give us a talk about all the wild animals that inhabit the area.  So pleased we have two nights here.  The scenery is stunning and we love the resort.