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Vancouver to Calgary

Jasper

semi-overcast 45 °F

We got to sleep in about 30 minutes more this morning before we had breakfast and headed out on our Jasper Tour to the Jasper National Park.

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Our first stop was Medicine Lake: Medicine Lake is a geologic anomaly in the sense that it is not actually a lake but rather an area in which the Maligne River (flowing from Maligne Lake into the Athabasca River) backs up and suddenly disappears underground as a losing stream. During the summer months during intensified meltwater runoff the lake (which during the winter months is a meandering frozen river) fills to levels which fluctuate over time and with the runoff events. Much like a bathtub that is filled too fast for it to drain, it becomes laden with water (lake) until it can slowly drain as the tap flow (runoff) is reduced (river).

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We then traveled to Maligne Lake for a spectacular boat tour to Spirit Island for some great photo opportunities. The lake is famed for the color of its azure water, the surrounding peaks, the three glaciers visible from the lake, and Spirit Island, a frequently and very famously photographed islet. Maligne Lake is fed and drained by the Maligne River, which enters the lake on its south side, near Mount Unwin and drains the lake to the north. Maligne Lake, as well as Maligne River, Maligne Mountain, and Maligne Pass, takes its name from the French word for malignant or wicked. The name was used by Father Pierre-Jean De Smet (1801–1873) to describe the turbulent river that flows from the lake (in the spring), and soon spread to the lake, canyon, pass, mountain and range. It is also possible that early French traders applied the name to the river for its treacherous confluence with the Athabasca River.

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Our final stop was the Maligne Canyon where we had a short walk to view the canyon and a wonderful buffet lunch. Eroded out of the Palliser Formation, the canyon measures over 50 metres (160 ft) deep.Also at this point numerous large underground streams join and greatly amplify the flow. The canyon is constantly being eroded by the churning and swirling of the water. The effect of this has made the width 2 metres (6.6 ft) across at some points and a depth of 50 metres (160 ft). Limestone is one of the most dominant minerals within the canyon. It was deposited in a shallow tropical sea by plankton which secrete limestone.

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Posted by rpickett 00:24 Archived in Canada Tagged alberta jasper Comments (0)

Vancouver to Calgary

Quensel to Jasper Alberta

semi-overcast 55 °F

Today we boarded the train at sun-up for the all day trip across a time zone and province to Jasper, Alberta, which is in the Mountain Time Zone. We also shifted from the Cariboo to the Rockies. It was a stunning transition. The highlight was passing Mt. Robson - of which we saw about 50% - the tallest mountain in the region at more than 15,000 feet above sea level. The train treated us well with a Chocolate overload for desert at lunch and a wine and cheese tasting just before we arrived in Jasper. We arrived in Jasper just after sunset.

We switched Engineers and Conductors at St. George when we changed to the Grand Trunk Line. We were allowed to go faster and the Engineer had to have a different license for this set of trains tracks.

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Posted by rpickett 23:55 Archived in Canada Tagged to jasper quesnel Comments (0)

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