Its been several weeks since we were in Jasper, but we had such a great time there I've been itching to write a few words about one of Canada's most beautiful national treasures. We had the pleasure of celebrating Canada's 150th birthday here as this was one of the things we were so looking forward to doing on this journey and we weren't disappointed. Several years back we took a cross-Canada train ride which happened to stop in Jasper for a few hours. Side note...the 3 day train ride that connects Vancouver to Toronto was another pretty cool experience, but that's another story. Nonetheless, we only got to spend a few hours in Jasper while the train re-stocked and we very much hoped to return to this beautiful place.
When we arrived this time, we were greeted with sunny warm weather, an incredibly beautiful park with wildlife in abundance everywhere, glacial lakes, alpine forests and wild wild wilderness everywhere you turn. It was the first time on our journey that we encountered a bear just hanging out on the side of the road munching on some berries and paying no attention to us. We also managed to see tons of elk just roaming around in various places and tourists were getting WAY too close to them to try and get their pics. Our campsite was completely dry this time (no electricity, water or sewer) for about a week which was a challenge for us I can tell you, but we still managed pretty well as I was able to turn on a generator every once in a while LOL.
There are so many things to do in Jasper that we could've easily spent a few weeks here. We had to prioritize our sights so we first chose to take a gorgeous boat ride on Maligne Lake which included a brief visit to Spirit Island. Maligne Lake is Jasper's most turquoise glacial lake and it was spectacular actually boating on it. This was a serious photo opportunity as these are the most famous pics you always see of mountains with a brilliant glacial blue lake. As the story goes...Canon and National Geographic have taken the most famous shots here. In addition to Maligne Lake, we also opted to to spend a few days at the beach since the weather was hovering around 30C each day. We chose to head to the beach at Edith Lake which was a great choice, not too busy and met some great families to hang out with and splash around with. Edith Lake is a glacial fed lake with lots of paddleboards, canoes and kayaks to rent if need be. To be honest, it was a bit brisk, but when its 30C outside who cares really especially when you're swimming in crystal blue water that you can see straight to the bottom while being surrounded by the Rockies?
Next up was the famous hike of Maligne Canyon, a beautiful series of waterfalls that you can see up close using the various bridges that span the canyon. A great hike but a little arduous if you want to see all the waterfalls as its quite the descent! I think there were 6 wateralls in total although we only managed to see 4 of them. Finally, we wanted to go see the famous Edith Cavell glacier which is apparently a MUST see in Jasper. Unfortunately, when we showed up they closed the road up to the glacier due to heavy Grizzly activity. Apparently a very aggressive Grizzly mama was protecting her cubs along the roadway and this was causing some problems for hikers LOL. As much as we wanted to see the glacier...I'm fine with missing it if it means I can avoid an encounter with a protective mama Grizzly!
Finally, and perhaps the most memorable experience for us in Jasper was the 150th birthday celebrations for our wonderful nation Canada! Thousands of folks gathered in the central park in downtown Jasper and people from all over Canada and the world were there. We met some folks from Wales, England, USA and of course tons of Canucks from all over Canada. It was such a great time to reflect on all the great things that make this country so incredible. While we were there during the Canada 150 celebration, we felt compelled to write about the things that we love so much about being Canadian. If you missed it you can find it here.
I was really surprised by the quality of fireworks in Jasper and the length of the show given we were in a pretty small town. The show was one of the best we've seen anywhere! Even when we spoke with some locals they said the fireworks each year for Canada Day is just as epic as this year! The only issue that we found was that we had to wait until 11:30pm for the show to start since the sun doesn't really go down until then when you're that far north! It was a major challenge keeping the kids (and us) awake for that long! Other than that little...this trip to Jasper will be one to remember for a long time!