Jasper National Park

Trip Start Jun 22, 2012
Trip End Aug 15, 2012

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Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Thursday, July 19, 2012

Woke up Monday, 7/16, to the sound of Erich beating my tires with a rubber mallet. The rain that had started yesterday afternoon finally abated enough we could hook up with out getting soaked.  After a fuel stop for the Navion and a Tim Horton stop for us we were headed north to Jasper.

The first really noticeable thing was how high and fast the rivers were flowing.  Apparently the rain we had Saturday and Sunday had really added to the snow melt.  The Fantasy weather god must be working because we had light rain to Lake Louise and then it cleared off the rest of the way.  Since we had seen most everything from Canmore to Lake Louise already, that worked out about perfectly.  There were a number of vantage points with pull outs we could use for photo ops and some areas where you could drive back, park, and then hike to a lookout point.  Peyto Lake was one such place and I hiked back to the vantage point for a beautiful view.  It was still cloudy so perhaps not as colorful as I would have liked.  We did see 2 black bears along the road and Donna saw a deer while I was dodging frost heaves.

Our big activity of the day was the visit to the Columbian Ice Fields, an area of glaciers that are positioned to drain off to three different oceans; Arctic, Pacific, & Atlantic.  This was quite an operation that somewhat reminded me of the Hearst Castle in California.  They have a visitor's center where you get your ticket, and then they bus you to a staging area where you transfer to the HUGE ice buses.  (Now this is where it pays to be on the caravan.  Our tickets were pre-arranged and we walked right by everyone else at all stages of the experience.)  Our driver, Bruce, did a great job of explaining the whole glacier event, from conception to melt off.  The bus we used was built in Calgary and was powered by a Detroit diesel engine of only 200+ hp.  As he explained it, "It’s all in the transmission." 

After we reached the Whistler Campground and got settled in our staff provided a Hot Dog Roast Social with drinks and snacks which was enjoyed by all.

Tuesday morning we moved to the nearby Whistler Tramway and were carried to the top of the mountain for “Breakfast with a View”.  From the altitude of 7000+ ft we had gorgeous views of Jasper and the surrounding area including Mt. Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies.  The rest of the day was free to use as we pleased so we took a couple of hours to check out the town of Jasper.  Donna got a one hour internet fix and I found a used bookstore to replenish my library.  Next we reentered the park and drove up to Mt. Edith Cavell, a rugged glacier capped peak named after a WWI British heroine.  We then continued down 93A to Athabasca Falls which was extremely wild with the water levels as high as they are.  We saw one black bear lying behind a log on the trip; however, Erich saw and photographed a caribou and Ron saw a grizzly bear along 93.  We ended the day with another social.

Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning we had a line of storms go through that knocked out power for about two hours. However, by the time we started our day at 10:00 the sun was coming out and things looked good.  We were picked up by a bus to take us to Maligne Canyon and then on to Maligne Lake.  Maligne Canyon is a deep chasm and waterfall that drains the Maligne River down to the Athabasca.  It is an awesome sight.  Then we headed up the road to Medicine Lake and then Maligne Lake for a very good lunch and a pleasant cruise on the lake.  Medicine Lake is a sort of holding lake for the runoff from Maligne Lake.  Normally in the summer it dries up to a large mud flat with some channels meandering through it.  The lake drains into the river through a series of sinkholes underground and then bubbles up to form the river, usually.  But, this year the water volume is so high the lake is over its banks and connects with the river overland.  The lunch and cruise at Maligne Lake are further proof of the benefits of traveling with Fantasy.  All reservations are made and we wait in few lines.  Maligne Lake is a beautiful glacier fed lake and has Eastern Brook Trout and Rainbow Trout stocked in it making it the best fishing lake in the park.  One day’s guided fishing for one is $495 or for 2 or more is $249/person.  This fishing better be fantastic for that price.
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Doris and Tut on

Glad to hear about some more of your travels! Isn't Peyto Lake beautiful? And we also enjoyed riding the bus on the glaciers. We did these on our trip to Calgary.

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