Summer Roadtrip Day 3: Jasper and Surroundings

As we awoke fresh from our first night at the Jasper Park Lodge, we were greeted with sunny clear weather! With the sunshine out, we drove out towards Patricia and Pyramid Lakesite, passing by Jasper townsite for breakfast. From there, it was a short drive to Patricia Lake. Patricia Lake is more ordinary, and there is a full resort with boating amenities at the lakeside. One interesting fact about Patricia Lake was that during the 2nd World War, Churchill had tested out the idea of using floating ice-ships for battle planes to land on in Patricia Lake. Apparently the test was successful, though the idea was never carried out as the war ended. The one that was awesome was Pyramid Lake which provides a bridge allowing visitors to cross the lake into a small island in the middle of the lake. Come here when there’s no wind or just a slight breeze and you may get a nice reflection of the mountains surrounding the lake (which I was lucky enough to get)

Reflections at Pyramid Lake
Reflections at Pyramid Lake

After taking a couple of photos and enjoying the morning walk along the 2 lakes, we headed back to the townsite for lunch and settled on the only Korean restaurant in Jasper – Kimchi House. Korean food in Canada is more authentic and uber-delicious compared to those in Singapore. A simple order of Gahl-Bi (BBQ Short Ribs) and Kimchi Seafood Soup in Hot Pot was what we really needed to fill our stomachs! Both were super good, in fact the BBQ Short Ribs is sweet and tender enough (must be the great Albertan beef) and comparable to the one served in famous Jang Mo Jib in downtown Vancouver.

Entrance of the Only Korean Restaurant in Jasper
Entrance of the Only Korean Restaurant in Jasper

After lunch, it was off to explore the skies as we headed towards The Whistlers, a mountain group slightly southwest of Jasper Townsite. The Jasper Sightseeing Tramway is located there, bringing visitors up 1,200 m into the Upper Terminal providing a great view of Jasper National Park. An interpretive guide within the tram informs visitors of the sights to look out for while the tramway brings us up. From the Upper Terminal, we can see several mountain clusters as well as the numerous lakes around Jasper. We are also able to see the 2 rivers, namely Athabasca and Miette, converging just south of Jasper Townsite.

View of Jasper Townsite and its Surroundings from the Upper Terminal
View of Jasper Townsite and its Surroundings from the Upper Terminal

One thing to note though, the weather at the top was chilly even with the sun out in full force in the end of May. Prepare windbreakers, winter jackets and gloves as the peak of The Whistlers are still capped with snow. Apparently, wildlife is abundant at the Upper Terminal where mountain goats, squirrels and even bears could be seen. Though while we were there, only golden mantled squirrels could be seen.

Golden Mantled Squirrel at the peak of The Whistlers (Not to be confused as Chipmunks)
Golden Mantled Squirrel at the peak of The Whistlers (Not to be confused as Chipmunks)
Short Hike to the Peak at the Upper Terminal
Short Hike to the Peak at the Upper Terminal
Rocky Mountain Range from the Whistlers
Rocky Mountain Range from the Whistlers

In the top photo above, if you notice, there is a winding road in between the 2 mountain ranges. That is the Icefields Parkway which is also Highway 93 connecting the town of Banff and Lake Louise to Jasper, which is also considered one of the most scenic highways in the world! From here, it is not too difficult to see how it got its reputation.

Not forgetting our itinerary, we headed back to lower land and soon were off towards the direction of the hotel, where a small road will take us to Maligne Canyon and Maligne Lake. First stop was Maligne Canyon, which is a 55m deep canyon that is 3m wide. A gushing stream of water forms rapids and waterfalls along the canyon trail, creating a natural landscaped forged over thousands of years.

View of the Rapids at Maligne Canyon
View of the Rapids at Maligne Canyon
Waterfall at the Maligne Canyon
Waterfall at the Maligne Canyon
Landscape of the Maligne Canyon
Landscape of the Maligne Canyon

The next stop along the road was Medicine Lake, a special lake whose waters get drained off by one of the largest network of underground river systems in North America. At the time when we went there, the lake was nothing but a barren piece of land, but it gets refilled when spring arrives. The name of the lake was from the supernatural beliefs by First Nations people that spirits were responsible for the loss of the water. Shortly after that, we arrive at Maligne Lake – the largest glacier-fed lake in the Rockies, and 2nd largest in the world. As of end May, the lake was frozen and should we have visited later in June/July, the lake would be navigable through boat rides which will bring us to Spirit Island somewhere in the middle of the lake.

Still frozen Maligne Lake in end of May
Still frozen Maligne Lake in end of May

With most of the scenic sights around Jasper covered, we headed back to the hotel for a rest before dinner and I took a leisurely stroll around Lake Beauvert which is just right outside the balcony of our suite. The greatness of the Jasper Park Lodge lies in the lakefront location of the resort and the ability to enjoy the scenery while golfing or just lounging by the lakefront. In fact, I would want to return to the resort just to golf!

View of Lake Beauvert at its most magnificent outside the Suite
View of Lake Beauvert at its most magnificent outside the Suite
Great way to spend the Evening by the Lakeside
Great way to spend the Evening by the Lakeside

After a short walk, I was picked up by my brother in the main lodge and we then headed back towards Jasper Townsite for dinner at Jasper Pizza Place, where pizzas are cooked in wood-fired ovens! Classic great pizzas from the Place and the names of the pizzas are from the mountain peaks of the Rockies such as Robson. One tip for diners at Jasper Pizza Place is to grab a seat at the rooftop patio where one can enjoy the scenery and breeze while enjoying pizza and BBQ chicken wings! A leisurely walk along Jasper and visiting their groceries to pick up some fruits marks the end of the day.

Rooftop Patio at Jaspers Pizza Place
Rooftop Patio at Jasper’s Pizza Place
Crackling Fireplace back at the Lodge
Crackling Fireplace back at the Lodge
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