I had wanted to visit Banff, Alberta for years, and this past August I finally got my chance when an educational meeting brought me there. Sadly, when I arrived the scenery was completely obscured by smoke from wildfires in Washington state. Luckily for me, I had added some time to the end of my trip for a bit of exploration and photography, and by the time that my conference had ended, the smoke had largely cleared. I spent the next few days on horseback, or trout fishing or just exploring the surrounds (and sampling the local beers and poutine, of course), and it wasn’t long before I felt like I had a real feel for the area. I’d even managed to see a grizzly bear, in captivity. I still hadn’t seen one in the wild.
So, since I had been planning to visit nearby Jasper National Park anyway, when my fishing guide told me that I’d definitely see bears on the drive up to Jasper, I knew that I just had to make the 3-4 hour drive. Well, I didn’t see any bears (I had to keep my eyes on the road, after all.), but I was treated to a great nature show just the same. Overnight, and into the morning, we got what I can only assume was the first significant snowfall of the season, and while the morning was a bit overcast, by the time I arrived in Jasper, the clouds had burnt off, revealing the snow-capped Rockies all around. I had done a bit of research before setting off, and I knew that Maligne Lake was definitely one place that I wanted to see. It was a bit further from town than I had expected, and more than once I thought about turning back, but I’m so glad that I stuck it out. A short walk from the carpark to the lake’s edge and you are greeted by towering snow-covered mountains reflected in the lake’s serene waters. It was, in a word, breathtaking. I hope you agree.