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Published: June 16th 2018
Did not have to have our bags out this morning, but still an early start, on the bus by 8am, after another lovely buffet breakfast. Our walk along the lake this morning was in sunshine so saw beautiful reflections in the lake.
Headed straight for Maligne Lake (elevation 1670m), where we were booked on a cruise at 9am. (Lots of roadwork around Jasper, so we were a little late.) On the boat (which slowed down for any canoeists it passed) we travelled 14km to Spirit Island (a tied island, only cut off sometimes in Spring when there are heavy rains and melting snow). Maligne Lake is 22km long and almost surrounded by mountain peaks and glaciers - our boat tour guide told us all the names! It is called a fingerlling lake (long and narrow) and where we started the cruise, Home Bay, the water is green, but when we got closer to Spirit Island and the glaciers, it becomes aqua blue.
On our way back down the Maligne Valley, we had a photo stop at Medicine Lake, which is surrounded by burnt forest from a fire in 2015, then came across a number of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep,
on rocks at the side of the road. An older male, a younger male, and some females were hopping around the rocks. Finally, a real wildlife sighting!
Another photo stop at Hanging Valley Viewpoint, with views of the Athabasca Valley. The forest we have been driving through is mostly conifers (varieties of pine, fir and spruce) with some deciduous trees (Aspen) and very green, but around Jasper (also seen from here) it is mostly red/brown, with only some green, as some of the pine trees have been attacked by a native pine beetle.
Back to the lodge, and then Bruce (bus driver) dropped a number of us into the township of Jasper. Time for lunch, then caught the shuttle back to the lodge. We have been dodging the rain all week, but caught up with us on our walk back to the cabin. The cabin we are staying in has 3 separate ensuite bedrooms, and a common lounge/kitchen area where Trina found a washing machine and dryer, so the rest of the afternoon was spend catching up with the washing.
Had to be back on the bus at 5.15pm for our optional Dinner and Wildlife spotting tour.
Heard that a bus that drove down from Maligne Lake an hour after us saw a grizzly bear and 2 cubs - mssed again! Dinner (at Beckers) was very nice (even if we did have to eat it at 5.45pm and then we got onto smaller buses to go in search of wildlife. Was almost a bust, but we did see 2 male Elk.
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