Bloomin' Elk!


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North America » Canada » Alberta » Jasper
August 6th 2016
Published: July 28th 2017
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Geo: 52.8736, -118.083

It was another early start to ensure that we got the most out of the incredible natural wonders of the area surrounding Jasper. We took a scenic drive through even more mountains crossing a pale blue river, the glacial dust affording it a milky sheen and then arrived at our first stop - Medicine Lake. It was beautiful with the mountains and pinky clouds reflected in it. We spent some time clambering down to the water's edge and photographing it in the changing light. When we were sure we had photographed every angle, we continued on our journey, keeping our eyes peeled for the elusive bears and wolves that can so often be seen on this route. However, it was not to be and we soon arrived at Maligne Lake, which was a huge lake, surrounded by lush forest and a quaint boat house. The surface was absolutely still and a snowy mountain range at the back of the lake was reflected in it.

We went to relax in the warmth of the cafe and enjoy the view from the terrace and soon the surface of the lake had been churned up by pleasure boat cruises so we had been incredibly lucky to be up early enough to see it in its mirror-like state. After a bit of rest, relaxation and respite from the mosquitoes, we journeyed back towards Jasper, via Maligne Canyon, a deep crevice that had been carved by the river. Weird and wonderful rock formations huddled within its steep sides and the white water rushed along its base,

The drive back was equally stunning as we drove past large lakes we hadn't seen in the early morning light on the drive to Maligne. Soon we were back in Jasper where we caught up on some much needed laundry and enjoyed a delicious lunch - We sampled Poutine - a Canadian speciality, which is basically a heart attack in a bowl - chips topped with melted cheese and then smothered in gravy. Like all things that are bad for you, it was truly delicious, although too rich to eat a whole bowl of.

After a wander round the town, we met Al and Emma, an Australian couple, who were walking back to the camp, so we joined them, wandering along the river front, passing lakes and mountains. Even the simplest walk here is achingly beautiful. Almost home, our tour guide picked us up and drove us to see a herd of elk that were grazing in a nearby woodland. We stayed with them, around 20 females and juveniles, enjoying their late afternoon meal and paying no heed to the equally large herd of photographers who had gathered around. They were enormous with their heads almost twice the size of a female deer. Every now and again, they would raise their heads nonchalantly if one of us stepped on a twig or rustled as we moved. They were elegant and graceful and it was a pleasure to spend a peaceful moment with them before heading back to camp for a warm fire and a delicious meal. The rest of the group were heading into town to party, but the two couples decided to stay at the camp, cook a meal together and enjoy some wine and games of cards. Boring? Absolutely not - the two Aussies are an absolute hoot and we had a great evening chatting, making plans and most of all, laughing.

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