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Canada ’17 – Jasper Lakes and Canyons

As we were making our back into Jasper this morning, we were caught in a traffic jam, which as we moved slowly along, became clear it was actually an animal jam.

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The reason for the traffic jam

We figured we were already in the traffic jam, so we may as well pullover and grab a few photos.

Today we were all about water.

Our first stop (well technically second after the little guys above), was Medicine Lake.

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Medicine Lake

Medicine Lake is part of the Maligne Valley watershed which is mainly glacial fed.  It is a geologic anomaly in the sense that it is not actually a lake but rather an area in which the Maligne River (flowing from Maligne Lake into the Athabasca River) backs up and suddenly disappears underground. During the summer months during intensified meltwater runoff the lake (which during the winter months is a meandering frozen river) fills to levels which fluctuate over time and with the runoff events.

Much like a bathtub that is filled too fast for it to drain, it becomes laden with water until it can slowly drain as the tap flow is reduced. The underground system is extensive and during the 1970s researchers used a biodegradable dye to determine the underground river’s extent. The dye showed up in many of the lakes and rivers in the area to the point where it became clear that the underground system was one of the most extensive in the world.

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Medicine Lake
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Medicine Lake
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The imposing Colin Range flanking the side of Medicine Lake.

From Medicine Lake we headed to Maligne Lake.

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Maligne Lake

It is famed for the colour of its water, the surrounding peaks and the three glaciers visible from the lake and Spirit Island. Maligne Lake is fed and drained by the Maligne River, which enters the lake on its south side, near Mount Unwin and drains the lake to the north.

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Maligne Lake

Maligne Lake is the largest lake in Jasper National Park. The valley in which the lake lies was carved and excavated by valley glaciers, and the lake has been dammed at its northern end by an end moraine deposited by the last glacier, which flowed down the valley towards the Athabasca River. The glacial deposits and landforms forming the end moraine are excellent examples of glacial deposition.

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We walked the Moose Lake Loop.

The Moose Lake loop trail stays mainly in Jasper’s woods, and there are so many pines in the area.

and with summer in full swing there were even some pretty flowers in bloom.

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many of the dying and dead trees were covered in this.

The path is well maintained and is easy to follow and meanders through the forest and emerges at Moose Lake, unfortunately no Moose for us today.

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Moose Lake
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Moose Lake

We followed the path and veered off onto the path taking us to the shoreline of Maligne Lake.

We wandered up to the point.

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Maligne Lake

We wandered our way back along the shoreline to the car.

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Canoe’s for hire at Maligne Lake.
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Lots of walking trails and activities to choose from at the Lake.

Looking back up the lake from the bridge.

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Looking downstream from the bridge.

We left the lake behind and were hoping to find a nice little shady picnic area by the river for lunch. We found this little river bend but unfortunately there wasn’t any shade or facilities.

We eventually found a little carpark area at one of the trail heads to stop for a quick bite to eat before making our way to Maligne Canyon. The scenery on the drive was again spectacular.

Six bridges have built across Maligne Canyon allowing hikers of all abilities to explore this incredible area.

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Maligne Canyon – which bridge will you take?

We started at the top of the canyon and walked down and back to fourth bridge, but opted to drive to fifth and sixth to save a little time (and our legs!)

The canyon is constantly being eroded by the churning and swirling of the water. The effect of this has made the width 2 metres (6.6 ft) across at some points and a depth of 50 metres (160 ft).

In some sections the water gently flows over, in other areas it pounds and smashes it way over and through the rocks.

Taken in the same location, these two pics below show the ‘normal’ flow of water versus the use of a filter on the camera lens to ‘slow’ the water down and obtain that silky water effect.

The water pools, then drops, pools then drops.

After we managed to make our way back up from fourth bridge, we jumped in the car and headed for fifth bridge.

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The view from fifth bridge.

Sixth Bridge.

From Sixth bridge we decided to head out to Edith Lake.

From Edith Lake we headed further around to Lake Annette. The light was looking quite amazing by the time we arrived.

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Lake Annette
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We wandered the shoreline for a little while passing the quick sand pits – we figured we would take their word for it and avoided the area as signed posted!

The afternoon sun and light was just gorgeous so we took the opportunity to take a leisurely walk around the lake.

We had had quite a few big days back to back, and we were hitting the road again tomorrow so we opted to start to head for home before sunset.

As we were driving past the river area, that we pass on each trip in and out of Jasper, the road was lined with cars and we were trying to figure out what was happening, and then we realised, everyone was enjoying a later afternoon ice bath in the river. We (well I) couldn’t resist joining them, Tash well she was much less enthused with the idea!

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Selfie in the middle of the Athabasca River.
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Frozen feet after walking in the glacier fed Athabasca River (and the start of some serious tan lines!)

The weather was starting to turn so we left the river behind and headed off home.

The storm looked quite menacing but we managed to make it back to Hinton before the weather hit, so we decided to try and see if we could spot the local wildlife before it got too dark. Beaverlake Boardwalk was only about 2 minutes from home.

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Beaverlake Boardwalk
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Mr Beaver! he finally made an appearance almost on dark so i just managed to capture him.

With Mr Beaver spotted it was time to head home for a feed, pack a good nights sleep.

 

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