Jasper National Park, Alberta

Tuesday, August 22, 2000

Were we are in our little cottage beside Patricia Lake, surrounded by these majestic mountains. It really is quite a nice place, very well kept with green lawns and flowers. Quaking aspens are everywhere and each of the cottages has a window box full of flowers. Last night we took a walk around part of the lake and the complex. There are lawn chairs and a picnic table for each cottage. We have a small bedroom as well as living area with cooking facilities. It is nice to wake up and have coffee and orange juice without having to go out to get it! After breakfast we headed out for a morning hike of about three miles. It took us through an aspen forest, by the lake and along Cottonwood Creek and Slough. We were lucky enough to hear the call of a loon as we sat and watched the slough for moose or beavers or whatever. We never saw anything but the lovely call of the loon was worth the whole hike. Neither of us had ever heard that beautiful call in the wild before. It was like being on Walden Pond.

Because it was such a lovely clear day, we decided to take the tram up to the top of Whistler Mountain (7500 ft). So did everyone else who is here on vacation! The wait in the line was about an hour but the view at the end was worth the wait. The whole valley was spread below, sliced with the rivers and lakes that are everywhere. The water goes from blue to green and the various shades in between to the milky color of the glacier fed rivers. Everywhere the mountains rise up as the backdrop. Rugged, rocky, bare past the tree lines with some snow fields. There really is no way to describe this place. Our many pictures will hardly do it justice but they will serve as a reminder and our imagination and memory will have to do the rest.

How to describe the trip up the Icefields Parkway to this wonderful place? I can't! The mountains are awesome, majestic, ruggedly beautiful. They tower above us with their snowpaks and glaciers. The rivers are blue and green and milky colored in some places, crystal clear in others. We saw a traffic jam ahead on the road and thought there had been an accident. No, just a small black bear trying to ignore the traffic jam he was causing and eating his bushes. After hearing all about bears only a few days ago, all the warning left our head and I hopped out to take a picture and see this creature which seems to be a symbol of this wilderness. He looked at the foolish tourists, turned and disappeared into the woods. The park ranger had stopped to admonish us with "bears are dangerous!" We were warned again about the bears at the Jasper Visitor Center.

Tomorrow we head for Maligne Lake which is about 30 miles southeast of Jasper. It is prime bear territory as well as a beautiful and much photographed lake. We'll pack a lunch, do some hiking and enjoy our last day here.