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Day 8 - Jasper and the Maligne Valley

Malign Lake

I'm starting writing this at the start of day 8, our last full day in Jasper. The plan is to drive the Maligne Valley, then try and take Art for a short walk (again). However, it's currently 9:30 am, and he shows no sign of moving. I'll update you later with what actually happens…..

Later…. (Actually, 11 am) Art is up, and we're off! The weather is beautiful and sunny, but still cold.

Malign Canyon

As kilometers mean dollars, we're planning to stay relatively close to Jasper today, and drive up the Maligne Valley. A lot of the local tours do this drive, so we're hoping there are things to look at. At the far end of the road is Maligne Lake. This is over 50 km from the main road - so our 'stay close to home' is not going to be that close! We decided to drive to the far end, then stop at places we want to see on the way back. The first part of the drive was scenic - but just the normal pines with mountains in the background.

Then we hit what looked like it should be a lake, but instead looked like a badly drained river plain. It was very grey and dingy - hopefully this wasn't the Maligne Lake that was the subject of so many photos? The information boards provided the details; this was 'Medicine Lake', and the reason it looks like it does at this time of year is that there are underground cracks and tunnels that take the majority of the surface water. It is only in summer, when the meltwaters fill these to overflowing, that a lake is formed. So interesting - but not pretty.

We carried on driving, and the road carried on going upwards. Art and I were both in shorts and cargo pants, and considering changing into jeans. Eventually we came to Lake Maligne - and it was worth the drive. The lake was still frozen, and covered in snow - and had a beautiful backdrop of mountains. So when you look at this photo, please bear in mind it cost us 100 km of RV at 39c per km plus tax, then petrol on top. We reckon that's about $50 CAD for a photo!

Art had promised that I could go for a walk today, and the guy in the tourist information office had recommended Maligne Canyon. This was an excellent choice. As the canyon was at a lower level than the lake, the air temperature was also warmer. There are a number of walks from the car park, to First, Second, (etc) to Sixth Bridge over the canyon. The walk between each gradually goes downhill, so the only problem is, what goes down must come up! We walked to Fourth Bridge, and the canyon was amazing. At the top, it has really steep sides and waterfalls that are very strong. In early summer, they must be absolutely thundering down. At the moment (and probably because of the late spring) there are also ice waterfalls, giving Art some wonderful photographic opportunities. We walked back to the van (uphill). I was still raring for a longer walk, so (as it was mainly downhill) we agreed that Art would drive to the car park at Fifth Bridge, and I'd walk there. If you can arrange a pick-up, this is a really good way of doing the walk.

As this was our last day in Jasper, I wanted to do some shopping. We therefore parked in our normal parking space by the railway line, I hit the shops, and Art headed for the Laundromat with the Internet Cafe. My bargain of the day must be a reversible pink anorak, for the reduced price of $30 CAD. At least I won't find Art wearing it (or will I ???). We'd decided on having one meal out in Jasper, so it was tonight or never. We decided to try out the bar meals at the 'Whistle Stop' Pub. Nothing was going to be an outrageous price (they do a cheeseburger and fries special for $5.75 CAD), but (as usual) Art was in an expensive mood. So (in a bar that's about the furthest point in the continent away from the sea that you can get) he went for fish and chips for $14.75 CAD, and I had a very nice fettucine for $10.75 CAD. Pints were cheap ($4.75 CAD each), but Art finished up with a double Canadian Whisky for over $10 CAD (the barman looked askance).

This upload from Starbucks, Banff. Just more lakes and mountains I'm afraid

On the way back to the campsite, we detoured to look at the tramway. This is in the same road as the campsite, but we hadn't made it that

If you do not pay your fare

far up the road. We had excellent timing; the tramway was closed to passengers (we knew that when we drove there) but the staff were practicing their emergency procedures. One twenty-something girl was being instructed on how to abseil down from the cable car to the ground. I felt like clapping when she made it!

So now we're back in our campsite relaxing, before tomorrows long drive down the Icefields Parkway back to Lake Louise.

Malign Lake again
Aspen in the camp site, Jasper

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terris_travelogue/canada/h_jasper_malign_valley.txt · Last modified: 2011/05/21 11:44 by tel
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