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Jasper National Park, AB, Canada (2)

Maligne Lake and Maligne Canyon

It is another early morning, but I am an early riser anyway, which helps me get a head start. Several people recommended I take the cruise to Spirit Island at Maligne Lake, so I listened.

It is a hazy morning, and driving on Maligne Lake Road early in the morning with the silhouette of mountains is peaceful. You do need to be careful of the cars that suddenly stop to see a wild animal, like the Elk, who was off the road enjoying breakfast. I continue my drive and pass a section of burned forest. Much of this is a dead forest, yet there is life around. There is good energy here, an energy of hope and renewal.

As the boat leaves the dock and heads to Spirit Island, the color of the water is mid-tone blue, but as we pass Charlton Unwin Glacier, the color gently changes to the soft minty color I now associate with beautiful Canada.

The haze adds a mysterious feeling to this untouched beauty, almost making the picture in front of me unreal. The view at Spirit Island, for sure, will be a lasting memory.

Several hikes start from Maligne Lake. I chose the Moose Lake Loop, in hopes of seeing a moose, but my chances are extremely low at that time of the day. I know it is an easy hike, so I leave my hiking sticks in my car. My bear bell is part of my hiking stick now, but with the amount of people around, I don't feel I need it. Well, it is an easy trail; even though it is unmarked and unmaintained, it is easy to follow, but no one else is here besides me. I find myself very relaxed as I hike to the lake through the deep woods. The movie about bear awareness I watched at Mount Robson made me understand bear behavior better and took away that fear I was holding on to. I am not taking away my caution, but now I know how to better respect the bear or any wildlife. Bears don't want to see me as much as I don't want to see them. Making noise allows them to know I am around, which is simple enough to do, so I put on some music. As I approach the lake, my color palette changes from green to blue. The color of the lake here balances the transitions from blue to minty green; it is like magic!

Just as I left Maligne Lake, I hit my brakes short, as the car in front of me suddenly stopped and put the emergency lights on. It took me a second to realize that I didn't need to hike to Moose Lake in search of a moose!

I have one more stop on my list today, Maligne Canyon. It is beautiful here! The rushing water flowing through the narrow canyon creates many waterfalls along the way. Maligne Canyon is a tourist attraction more than a hike in the woods. It is too crowded for my taste.

My day was long, and I am ready to find a place to call home for tonight. I don't have any reservations. My reservation at Whistler Campground is starting tomorrow. It is already six in the evening, and I am so thrilled with myself for being relaxed and confident I will find a place. I know my chances of finding a campsite in Jasper National Park are low, so I am heading north to Snaring Campground.

The first campground turned out to be full, so I continued to the overflow part of the campground and found a tiny spot big enough for me and the mosquitoes. It is a primitive campground, but could be a great alternative in Jasper.

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