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Thursday, 28 February 2013

From Jasper's Icefields to Maligne Lake: A Panorama of Majestic Colors - Page 2

Written by Habeeb Salloum
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As the Snocoach moves along, drivers and guides explain the intricacies of the awe-inspiring glaciers.  They pepper their talk with jokes such as, “Give me any question and I will give you an answer.”  When no one raises a question he continues, “Mind you, I will likely not give the true answer.”  Most of the passengers are often still snickering when the bus stops at the turn-around below the glacier's head wall.  Here tourists are given a chance to walk atop centuries of accumulated snow, dotted with icy crevasses and ice-fed streamlets. As the Snocoach moves along, the guide points to the edging glaciers advising "See these glaciers, if they continue receding at the present rate, in 650 years they will disappear.” After returning from the 90 minute Icefields’ exploration, visitors return via the Icefields Parkway to Jasper.  

The next day we ended our tours from Jasper by taking the serene Maligne Canyon and Lake Tour.  Our first stop was in an area of a gorge formed by the Maligne River’s swirling and churning waters roaring from the lake, which have worn the limestone rocks in places 55 m (165 ft) deep.  Located 11.7 km (7 mi) from the town of Jasper, it is one of the most spectacular gorges in the Canadian Rockies, incorporating an extensive above and underground river system. Continuing on our tour we stopped at Medicine Lake, which has no surface outlet, and disappears in autumn and winter through a series of underground channels, giving rise to the Karst topographical phenomenon—causing the lake to completely drain every year.

Driving through a deep green forest edged by majestic snow-capped mountains we reached Maligne Lake – stunning in its beauty.  Stretching for 22 km (14 mi) with a depth of 198 m (318 ft), it is the second largest glacier fed lake in the world.  Set in Maligne Valley, the lake, the largest in Jasper National Park, is surrounded by glacier studded mountain peaks. The lake boasts sparkling deep blue waters and for beauty has no equal in the region.  Gazing at this postcard of scenic delight my daughter mused, "It's a scene made by the hand of nature for the camera."

Alberta   Jasper   Black Bear Mom  With Cub   Credit Jasper Tourism

We stopped by the Maligne Lake Day Lodge & View Restaurant from where there is a fine view of the lake and its surrounding white capped mountains. It is said to be the most famous view in the Canadian Rockies.  The docks edging the restaurant (the best eating place on the shores of Maligne Lake) had a series of boats standing by, waiting for customers.  After enjoying lunch, we joined in a 90-minute scenic boat cruise to Spirit Island.  

Spirit Island, known as the icon of the Canadian Rockies located on the southern end of the lake, is a small islet that is wrapped in legends and can only be reached by private boats or cruise vessels.  The stop allows passengers to walk the island and stop at a viewpoint that offers a spectacular panorama of the lake and mountains.

Our guide seemed to love his job as he entertained us with his historic and geographical stories about the lake intertwined with anecdotes and jokes. The scenery around us was eye-bulging and I continued to be entranced with the aura of lake waters caressing the feet of the majestic mountains until we docked on Spirit Island for a short stroll. 

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Last modified on Friday, 01 March 2013
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