Yet another day in Canada’s finest of parks: Jasper National Park. The brochures describe it as the gentle giant. Next to Banff NP it is larger but also a little less developed and more “rustic”. Which means there are less signs, less described trails and, unfortunately, less bears.
Today though, we did see one black bear, which is quite a rarity as the population is much smaller compared to Banff NP, where encounters occur that often in order for very strict bear-rules to apply to hikers on trails: there are numerous trails where hiking in groups of 4 is mandatory!
We started this day off with a drive over highway 93a, the old version of 93, towards highway 16 to get to the road which would take us to Maligne Lake. This meant driving about 30 kilometres over a road which is commonly used by all kinds of game, including elk, bears, mule deer and the likes. Before you reach Maligne Lake, you pass Medicine Lake. This is a little smaller and is only an overflow to the Maligne River; with small amounts of water flowing through the river the lake ‘disappears’ to a stream.
At Maligne Lake, we took a hike to several other tiny lakes (Loraine Lake, Mona Lake) somewhere on the forest, which was a great way to start off. A lovely walk!
After this, we drove to Maligne Canyon to check out the awfully narrow gorge in which the river flows. It is at parts over 30 metres deep and mostly about 5 to 20 metres wide. A really weird gorge to see, but very picturesk!
With those activities done, and having walked about 8 kilometres over rough terrain, we were pretty knackered but dedicated to go see the next highlight: Edith Cavell Mountain. This is a huge 3.5 km mountain with a glaciers at its base. You can even walk up to it and experience the glacier and the melt lake for yourself. This added another 2 km to our itinerary, and made a total of 10km on foot. Wow.
Tomorrow, we are off to Clearwater and Wells Gray Provincial Park, but first: sleep!