When we opened the shades this morning, several people were out taking pictures; we immediately thought...wildlife. Wrong........SNOW. Beautiful, white, crystal clean snow fell on the nearby mountain overnight. Of course, it didn't take long before the wildlife came to visit too. The elk herd came out to graze and brought traffic to a halt on the 4-lane parkway.
Our adventure for the day was a trip to Maligne Lake. The road is well maintained and very scenic as it winds back and forth along the Maligne River. Medicine Lake comes first and does a disappearing act every year when the water level fluctuates almost 20 meters and the lake almost dries up. It is sometimes referred to as Sinking Lake and the Indians believed that evil spirits or bad medicine were responsible for the draining phenomenon; thus the name of the lake. But the secret lies on the floor of the lake where the water flows out through small holes creating one of the greatest underground rivers in the world.
We reached Maligne Lake and the three of us headed off on the hiking path. This is a beautiful lake stretching 14 miles and surrounded by rocky peaks. Boat tours go to Spirit Island but we skipped that as the tours are on a reduced schedule after Labor Day and it would have been a long wait. It was also spitting some light snow. It was in the low 60's when we left Jasper and the temperature had dropped to 39 degrees by the time we reached Maligne Lake.
After our walk and gazing at the gorgeous lake for a while, we jumped in the Jeep to get warm and headed back for a stop at Maligne Canyon. This is one of the deepest canyons in the Canadian Rockies, around 160 feet deep, and was created by the Maligne River pounding against the limestone walls. The dramatic canyon is so narrow in places that squirrels can jump across. A great interpretive trail takes about an hour round-trip and Foxy led the way as we walked that trail. She was on the look-out for squirrels and we were getting some exercise.
We had burned up enough calories walking today, so we stopped at the Maligne Teahouse for coffee and a snack. Then we headed back to camp and had dinner at home.
We'll drive on to Banff tomorrow.