Continuing our way up north on Icefields Parkway, after leaving Banff National Park, we pursued our adventure through Jasper National Park. Do you think we run out of superlatives in BNP?.. that was not really the case.
Jasper National Park – At 11,228 km2, this is the largest national park in Canadian Rockies, with more than 1,000 km of trails in total, and 300 km are around the town of Jasper. Established in 1907, it is viewed today as a little island in the vast wilderness. Wildflowers and wildlife are the main attractions in JNP, beside the outstanding, fascinating scenery, breathless sensations and speechless feelings.The park is open year-round, however during winter there might be roads closures due to avalanche-control work or snowstorms. The most visited season is summer July-August, and hiking the most common activity.Although the peaks are not very high they are among the most spectacular Rocky Mountains. Different sedimentary layers can be observed in the large and colourful valleys.
Sunwapta Falls are accessible after a short drive off the parkway. About 18m high, the falls are more spectacular in early summer, as the volume of water is high due to the glacier melting, and the falls become more turbulent, where the origin of the name comes (Sunwapta is a Stoney Indian word for turbulent river).
We felt so lucky to see several mountain goats at Goat Lick. This area is called like this because the goats gather here to lick the silt, a mineral rich in calcium and sulfate. We could see from the distance several cars stopped on the way, so we had time to slow down and not scare away the goats.
The road to the Maligne Lake goes along Medicine Lake, both part of the Maligne Valley. Named by the natives Medicine Lake because they thought it has magical powers, is not an actual lake. During the fall and winter, the glacier melt waters that floods the lake during summer will disappear, becoming a basin with scattered pools of water connected by a stream. The water actually streams through a cave system, surfacing 16 km downstream of Maligne Canyon. When the melt water exceed the sinkholes, the Medicine Lake will “re-appear”.
Mt Edith Cavell was named after a WW I heroine, and it is the highest and probably the most scenic mountain in Jasper area. A short trail from the parking lot led us to the viewpoint right in front of the Angel Glacier, where the sun was shining over, just in time to see it going to sleep over the mountain.
At the feet of Angel Glacier lays the exquisite remnant of Ghost Glacier, where the small icebergs floating in the turquoise water gave us the impression of an Ice Age movie scene.