Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Jasper National Park - 12th Stop on our Trek North to Alaska

We departed Banff Trailer Court enroute to Jasper National Park on a dreary, damp, drizzly Monday morning.  30 seconds into takeoff, we spotted 4 elk cows eating!  Within our first hour, we had sightings of 3 bears (sans Goldi Locks) and 6 deer!  Of course, not one photo as evidence—bummer!

The rain turned to light snow flurries as we entered the Ice Fields Parkway, a fully paved road with several large frost heaves to deal with between Ice Field Centre and Jasper.  Despite the rough patches, we’ve been on much worse roads in the States.  The views were just spectacular, like professional photos in National Geographic!  Every turn gives you another picture postcard panorama! 

The Glacier Skywalk

We stopped at the Ice Fields Centre to view the impressive Columbia Ice Fields, which include Athabasca Glacier.  Unlike at Glacier National Park in Montana, I can actually see glaciers here!

We set up at Whistler Campground by 2 p.m.  By this time, the clouds moved out, so we sat outside absorbing the sunshine as we planned our itinerary and ate a late lunch.

Round 'em up for Maligne Canyon!  We did a short 2-mile hike across the first 3 of 6 historical bridges, which were completed between 1914 and 1928, and concluded our tour at the Canyon Teahouse, still closed for the season (this seems to be a recurring theme).

Next stop:  Medicine Lake.  Despite devastation from a fire that occurred last summer, Medicine Lake still offered outstanding views, including a pair of nesting eagles who reside in a nearby treetop!

One of the eagles in flight--other still in nest (not shown)

Our final stop on Monday was to Maligne Lake, Jasper’s largest, deepest, and most photographed lake.  And I am thrilled to report that we actually got a photo of a black bear rambling down the road!  This trip just gets better and better!

Up and out the door by 7:30 on a glorious Tuesday morning to go exploring!  We were rewarded for our early awakenings by seeing a few laden elk cows!  Later in the day, we had two male bulls roaming outside our campsite. 

Soon to be mama!

Bull Elk in Campground

Other than a lone fisherman, we were the first arrivals to Patricia Lake, and immediately began our photography session.  Right around the corner is Pyramid Lake, and it, too, is awe-inspiring with its calm waters acting like glass, giving us a photo with mirror image.

Patricia Lake

Pyramid Lake

Pyramid Lake comes with its own little island!  Excessive use since the 1930s with no formal trail system denigrated its beauty.   However, in 1998 Parks Canada, the Friends of Jasper National Park, local businesses, and countless volunteers joined forces to restore the island.  And we are so fortunate to reap the fruits of their labor.

The lake and its island are named for the peak that hovers above them.  Pyramid Mountain was carved by glaciers from gog quartzite, which is tiny quartz sand grains cemented together.  There's also gold in them there hills--fool's gold that is, officially known as pyrite.

Pyramid Mountain

We visited the town of Jasper and could not resist getting a sticky bun at the Bear's Claw Bakery.  Finger-licking good!  Jasper is more like a hometown, not as many shops as Banff, but quaint and lovely in its own right.

On to Athabasca Falls, an absolutely breathtaking example of the elements wind, water, and earth, working in tandem.  We walked through a canyon tunnel in time, where water once traveled many years ago.  "Potholes" have been carved out through the centuries, and the water rushing through them creates whirlpools that makes Jacuzzi look silly.

Notice the "rainbow" created by the falls

A "Pothole" Whirlpool

We visited the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge along Lake Beauvert, where my friend, Stanley, lives.  He helped me write this blog posting!

Stanley's Home at the Lodge

Stanley the Trained Seeing Eye Dog (And He's Got a good nose for food!)

Stanley helping me select pics for this blog!

Take some advice from your friend Rambling RV Rat:  If you are planning an Alaskan RV Adventure, schedule time to visit Banff and Jasper National Parks in Canada.  There are too many sensational natural treasures hidden within these parks that you just cannot see from the road as you pass by (especially a visit with Stanley).  Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

Well, time to say goodbye from Jasper.  Talk to you soon!


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