Jasper is nestled deep in the Canadian Rockies in Alberta, Canada. It is Canada’s largest Rocky Mountain Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Jasper National Park celebrated its centennial in 2007 (1907-2007).
We checked into the beautiful Sawridge Inn & Conference Center. As we entered the lobby we were amazed to see a three storey fireplace and a sky lit atrium. Our luxurious accommodations featured a king-size bedroom and a bathroom with a Jacuzzi.
Jasper is small but has something for everyone – from dining, shopping, exploring, hiking, or simply touring. Restaurants were plentiful. At Papa George’s you could see the mountains while dining and enjoying a great meal. Our hotel restaurant, Walter’s Dining Room, had a wide selection of signature dishes and an extensive wine list. Dinner was exceptional.
There were so many tours and only two days to explore Jasper National Park. Our morning adventure was to be white-water rafting on the Athabasca River. For two hours we passed through many small sets of rapids and some calm stretches. Our National Park Guide gave us descriptions of the area’s natural environment as he rafter down the Athabasca River. On every turn of the raft the cool water splashed us. It was great.
This afternoon we hiked Jasper’s highest peak, Mount Edith Cavell – named to honor Edith Cavell, a heroic nurse of World War I. We started our climb with our guide at the parking lot of Edith Cavell. Our first mountain sighting was the Three Sisters Mountains – three similar looking peaks on the same ridge. Continuing our climb we encountered the Angel Glacier – a glacier which has the form of an angel with 40-meter thick wings. Ice was tumbling from the fact of the Angel Glacier. We knew we were nearing the highest peak as we walked around the mountain and heard sharp cracks and rumbles. Before us was the magnificent Mount Edith Cavell – a green iced glacier and aqua colored lake. Snow capped mountains were reflecting on the lake. This was a beautiful moment. A small rock avalanche came crashing down the side of the mountain before we headed back to the parking lot.
The following morning we were on our way to the Jasper tramway, the only guided aerial tramway in the Canadian Rockies. An interpretive guide greeted us and pointed out interesting facts about the surrounding area. As we headed up the mountain we could see surrounding lakes and mountains in the background. The upper terminal had a hiking trial which led to the summit. Walking on the upper level we spotted wildlife including a golden-mantled ground squirrel and the hoary marmot. The marmot reacts to danger and communicates by releasing a piercing whistle noise. Whistler Mountain got its name from this whistle sound.
Maligne Lake is the largest and deepest lake in Jasper National Park. On our way to the Lake, a stop was made at Maligne Canyon. A short walk along the Canyon to view the water falls and gorges was followed by a scenic drive up the valley to Medicine Lake. At Maligne Lake we entered a glass-enclosed tour boat. The captain gave us an informative narrative about the colorful history, glaciology, geology and wildlife of this valley. Cruising to the midpoint, we disembarked at Spirit Island for a short walk to view the magnificent north end of Maligne Lake with its large range of mountains and glaciers.
For more information: http://www.jasper.travel