MALIGNE CANYON

August 3, 2008

We decided to hike to Maligne Canyon this morning. Frommer’s suggested starting at Sixth Bridge, hiking to the canyon (20 minutes), and starting from the bottom and walk up to the top. I agree with starting at the bottom but there is really no reason to start from Sixth Bridge. The hike is uninteresting. There is a Fifth Bridge parking lot that actually starts at the bottom of the canyon. This would have saved us quite a lot of time and we would have been able to see the entire canyon then. The canyon was nice but after seeing Mistaya Canyon and Johnston Canyon (2007), I had seen enough. We had to get back to the hotel to check out by 11 AM.


SHOPPING IN JASPER

August 2, 2008

We ate breakfast at the Black Sheep Cafe. Sean had the Eggs Benedict and thought they were better than Walker’s ($10). I had 2 eggs, ham, and fruit ($9). My eggs were cooked well and I liked the fruit option over potatoes.

We shopped a bit in the morning and looked at brochures for tours hoping to take a tour before we checked out of the hotel in the AM. We were hoping to get a tour to see the wildlife in the area but it didn’t work out with our timing. Two nights doesn’t really work because you spend a day driving, then one day in town, then the next day driving again.

In the afternoon we headed to the Jasper Tramway. It took 10 minutes to get there. We waited 20 minutes in line to purchase our tickets. Tickets are $25/pp but someone gave us vouchers for free tickets because they couldn’t wait. After buying the tickets, we were assigned a time. There was a 60 minute wait but the it was a nice afternoon. We should have brought a book. The mountain was cold and visibility wasn’t great due to clouds. We hung out for awhile and hiked a bit. We took some pictures. Some people went in flipflops!

I really can’t recommend the Jasper Tramway. It’s fine to do but I would have preferred to see more in Jasper, like Malign Lake and Cavell Meadows.


PARKER'S RIDGE

August 1, 2008

The rain finally took a break and gave some sun. We stopped at Mistaya Canyon which was a good break. There was a little walk down to the canyon with some nice photo ops. Then back in the car and a stop at Parker’s Ridge.

Parker’s Ridge was a short although somewhat steep hike to a spectacular view of the Saskatchewan Glacier. The hike is about 1.5 miles but takes about an hour to climb depending on speed, breaks, and photos. The sign at the parking lot estimates about 2 1/2 hours.

Sean had issues with his lungs and I had some muscle strain with my legs. Coming from Illinois, we don’t have steep, mountain hikes but I think we did ok. The hike up was warm and I had to unzip my layers.

The top of the ridge was quite cold but it felt good after the hike up. We took lots of photos of the glacier and there were some beautiful flowers up there too. 

We began our descent and it began to sleet. Shortly after the sleet came the rain. Shortly after the rain came a baby crying. A family who had been hiking up, decided to go back down. Lots of travellers headed up in the sleet, good for them, glad it’s wasn’t me. Too cold at the top to be wet also.

We got back to the car and continue our drive to Jasper. Next stop is the Columbia Icefield.


TAKKAKA FALLS

July 31, 2008

As we drove to Takkaka Falls we stopped to see a “confluence of two rivers”. It was actually more interesting than the waterfall. We had to climb down to get the best view but it wasn’t an issue.

While driving, we saw quite a few cars parked on the side of the road. We parked and did a short, easy hike to Takkaka Falls. This waterfall, on the north side of the highway, drops 253 metres (830 ft)–which is higher than Niagara Falls–and is named for the Cree word for “it is wonderful”.

An older gent from Texas felt like chatting so we had a great conversation about politics, and the Canadian Rocky Mountains. He had owned a vacation home in Edmonton. Well, enough time there. Time to head back to the hotel.


EMERALD LAKE

July 31, 2008

Emerald Lake was about a 30 minute drive. It’s hard to tell coming from the hotel. It was really pretty and big – bigger than Moraine Lake. It was similar in color as it too was ice melt with the silt reflecting in the water. I like Moraine Lake better though.

We hiked the shoreline, walking through the cabin area for Emerald Lake Lodge. There is a window where you can pick up light food and snacks, we purchased hot chocolate. There is also a restaurant, Cilantro on the Lake. We hiked around and got about halfway, when someone told us we were going the wrong way. Ah well. The path was crowded and many individuals were going counter-clockwise. Whatever. Halfway through, the path opens up to lovely vistas of the mountains and lake. The rest of the way is paved with rocks and is a much wider path. Perhaps we did go the wrong way. It was about a 90 minute hike. Very easy. 

There are descriptions of the area that talk about the Burgess Shale, the discovery of fossils (remains of animals) over 500 million years old. This discovery, in 1909, had contribute dto the scientific understanding of evolution.

We opted have lunch at Cilantro on the Lake. We shared a pizza ($15) and Caesar salad ($15). The pizza was unique in that it had game meats on it. It also had an onion marmalade as a sauce (rather than tomato sauce). It was really good. The Caesar was tasty too.

After leaving, we thought we would stop at some of the roadside attractions (brown sides on the side of the road).


FAIRMONT CHATEAU LAKE LOUISE

July 29, 2008

I wanted to do some hiking at the Chateau. We missed out on this last year cuz Sean was on the phone the whole time. The two guys we met on our hike to Consolation Lake yesterday mentioned the Tea House wasn’t really worth the hike. I figured we could walk around Lake Louise and see if we felt like doing more.

We had lunch at the Glacier Saloon. We sat outside but the sky clouded up and it got a bit chilly. Especially since I had worn lighter clothes. I ate a really yummy BBQ pork sandwich ($17) which included fries. Sean had a beef sandwich which I thought was ok ($23). He requested onion rings with his meal. The fries were ok but the onion rings were really good. Lightly battered and fried to crisp. I had a beer ($9) that was a white ale – not sure of the name – but very good and served with an orange slice. We had spring rolls as an appetizer ($15) although good, we liked the duck spring rolls at Moraine Lake a little better.

We never did walk the lake. There were too many people and I was feeling weird and just wanted to get back to the hotel. On our way back, we checked out the menus of a few other hotels including the Post Hotel (we ate here in 2007 and it was fabulous); The Train Station and Lake Louise Inn (Timberwolf Pizza & Legends). No new restaurants in the area.

We had eaten at the Timberwolf Pizza in 2007. It’s a bit less expensive and a nice break from the more ritzy hotels. There are kids and families, pizza and beer, very casual and ok food.

For recommendations from the Chateau Lake Louise.


CONSOLATION LAKE

July 29, 2008

So I brought my jogging shoes with me thinking I would jog the path along Moraine Lake. I didn’t. I stayed in bed a looked through brochures. We had breakfast at 8 AM. It’s a continental, included with the room, of cereal, pastries, toast, etc. The croissants are very good. A warm breakfast is $15, for either eggs, omelet or pancakes. It seems expensive, but really it’s on par with food prices in the area. I have to remember that.

We hiked to Consolation Lake after breakfast. We thought we would take the guided hike from the hotel as we did last year but decided to just walk it ourselves. The girl who led our group last year was very good but it was her last year at the hotel. I’m sure the guy who did the guided hikes this year would have been good as well.

Consolation Lake is the least amount of work for the most amount of view. You just have to get past the boulders at the beginning of the trail. The trail ends with a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. There was a family and two more vigorous hikers. The family was eating breakfast and the hikers crossed the water to continue hiking. We came at a good time. Not too many people yet.

As we came back to the boulder filled valley, we met two guys on vacation from Florida (originally from Detroit). The recommended that we see Emerald Lake and do the Lake Minnewanka boat tour in Banff.