Day 1 in Jasper…..
We had been looking forward to a stay of almost a week in Jasper for ages! Having seen copious numbers of photos and extensive television coverage of glacier lakes and rivers surrounded by rows of fir trees, we couldn’t wait to explore them in person.
Having been sick for close to a week, Glenda woke up in our idyllic cabin in the woods feeling almost normal! Good thing, given today was the day to begin our drives and hikes to explore the Jasper National Park.
The day started with breakfast at home before heading to the bakery and grocery store to stock up for lunch. Good thing we’d had our cereal and yoghurt, otherwise the strawberry and white chocolate scones or huge cinnamon buns may have proved too tempting to resist. We did however succumb to drinking a macchiato before heading “home” to make our sandwiches.
First stop Maligne Canyon…..
Just an 11km drive from downtown Jasper brought us to the parking lot for the start of our hike. Our task……to navigate the 6 bridges that cross the Maligne Canyon and wild Maligne River. The name Maligne comes from the French word “mal” which means “bad” – apparently because of a wicked ford near the mouth of the Maligne River. Not too ominous at least.
The track to the first 4 bridges was pretty short and easy, albeit a bit treacherous in places due to the very smooth, slippery rocks. This part of the trail was also the busiest. There were lots of people stopping off at the many vantage points to take photos – and who could blame them given the stunning scenery??!! That said, it’s impossible to capture the vastness, colours and grandeur of what we’ve seen – and that can be said of nearly every bit of scenery we’ve seen throughout Canada so far. It really is a place that exhibits the majesty of God!
Happy to say that we made it to bridge number 6…..after being side-tracked by a couple of crazy squirrels chasing each other up and around a tree….before turning round and heading back on the same path. Bridge 5 was our lunch stop – sitting on a rock by the raging river, cheese sandwiches have never tasted better.
Photo op at Medicine lake…..
A bit further up the Maligne River is the stunning Medicine Lake, providing the quintessential Canadian lake view. That said, it was also quite eerie as a huge fire had obviously passed through relatively recently, so in places, rather than the backdrop of green fir trees, there were rows of black sticks poking into the sky.
No sooner had we left the viewing area, than we saw a traffic jam ahead. Cars and RVs everywhere and a large group of people looking like a bunch of paparazzi by the side of the road. It’s a bear! What looked to be a youngish black bear was climbing up a tree next to the road and munching away. Didn’t care about the hundreds of spectators standing there with mobile phones and telephoto lenses watching him.
We had hoped to hike around Maligne Lake, but when we arrived it was extremely windy and there was a haze of insects flying around. Having been awestruck by Medicine Lake and knowing that Maligne Lake is one for the brochures and calendars, we almost felt let down. That said, it was gorgeous and we still took another opportunity to take photos.
The day ended with doing laundry, something we hadn’t done since leaving Brian and Meta in Victoria a few weeks ago, and a gentle stroll along the Athabasca River just outside our front door. After all, one can never get enough of the view of Mt Edith Cavell, one of the most dramatic peaks in the Rockies.