Our plan was to spend the day canoeing on Maligne Lake. We held off until Friday, as it had the best weather forecast during our stay in Jasper. The rain did indeed cease, and the clouds lifted enough to reveal the mountains, mostly. There even were small patches of blue sky. We got an early start to maximize our time on the water. But our timing was off. Emergency road maintenance on the only road to the lake required a 2-day closure at starting at 1:00pm. Today. All day suddenly became a few hours. We did get out in the canoe, and the lake was blissfully calm. It was great canoeing weather, and we relished the quiet and peaceful environs. Maligne Lake is about 14 miles long, and we probably only saw the first couple of miles. But it was preferable to seeing more of it from one of the tour boats. The canoe was more our style.
On our way up to Maligne Lake, we had impeccable timing. A mama bear and three cubs were placidly eating plants on the narrow strip of land between the road and the river. We were only the second car in what became a major “wildlife jam” and had a close up view of the activity. They were easily in sight, and the curious cubs kept coming up to the road to inspect the truck in front of us. Surprisingly, mama bear never followed them, but she certainly kept her eye out and we had no doubt she would follow rapidly if necessary. The cubs were especially active, and the group kept us entertained until they finally moved to a more obscured spot behind some bushes. That was our best bear sighting yet!
The afternoon turned out to be beautiful. The sun came out and it even felt warm. We did some more hiking then enjoyed spending time around our resort, which was on Patricia Lake just outside Jasper. Erik kept eying the lake and the challenge it presented… Sure it was cold, but should he jump in? Yes, why not! First he made sure the hot tub was ready, then into the water he went – much to the amazement and amusement of other guests. Leave it to a Minnesotan!
We topped off the day by returning to Earl’s restaurant in Jasper, this time dining on the outdoor patio. They had heaters and blankets, just in case, but we didn’t even need them. The timing was just right for dining al fresco.