September 26, 2016
We started the day with taking a short drive to Athcabasca Falls. The falls have a lot to offer. You first walk across a bridge to watch the waterfall.
After the bridge you can go left, to get closer to the falls:
Or right and you get to see the beautiful slot canyon the water flows through:
Then if you go a little further you get to see river that the slot opens to:
It was a very easy walk to all locations and it was nice having the dogs with us. The water was freezing, but again the beautiful blue we have been seeing.
It was then time to get to our schedule boat tour to Spirit Island on Lake Maligne, the largest lake in Jasper. We had lunch in our friend’s RV (it’s so convenient) and then did the hour drive to the lake. The lake was absolutely gorgeous. Right in the middle of the Canadian Rockies, it was surrounded by mountains, glaciers and the densest woods we have seen. There is also a gift shop and restaurant, so make sure to get a hot chocolate for the ride.
There is one tour company on the lake. They are heavily regulated with how many tours they can do and how many boats. No other commercial or private boat is allowed on the lake. So, this made our tour really fast. It was about 45 minutes to the island in our small boat and then we only had 15 minutes on the island.
The island was, not an actual island when we were there, but at some point it was. We were not allowed to walk to it, but just pick our viewing point and take it all in for the 15 minutes. People claim that this is the second most photographed area in Alberta.
It was nice having a tour guide that gave us the history of the area and could answer any questions as well. We learned that the local people were forced to leave years and years ago. They were the keepers and protectors of the land and they believed that a recent forest fire was their gods punishing them for leaving. Within the past year, they were welcomed back and were able to perform ceremonies on their island and will hopefully be welcomed back each year to do so.
The tour is a bit expensive, $55/person.
There are two big hikes in the area, but it was raining when we got back. One of the hikes we were told not to do because of the bear activity and the other would have been fun, since we were told you can get to a high enough point that you can see Spirit Island. Plus the drive getting there was along a windy road that had scenery on par with everything else.