Maligne Canyon offers seasonal conversations

Photographer
Sheri Landry

Maligne Canyon offers seasonal conversations

SHERI LANDRY

When I get too wrapped up in my daily responsibilities, I close my eyes and picture myself outside surrounded by fresh air and immersed in a natural world. Spending even the smallest amount of time in nature centres me.

When I travel, I enjoy destinations that transform me through physical, mental, emotional and spiritual activities. Recently, I’ve discovered that looking at the same place from a different perspective can also be extremely rewarding. Take for example one of my favourite hiking spots at Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park on the west edge of Alberta.

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The canyon is a symphony of noises in the summer

 

Photographer
Sheri Landry

In the warm months, Maligne Canyon is fiercely alive. Walking along the water’s edge, the sound of the stream as it forces its way along the bottom of the canyon is intense.

Maligne Canyon is filled with trails of varying distances as well as skill levels with some hikes being more challenging than others.

The day we arrived at Maligne Canyon the sky was overcast. We opted for a guided tour with Walks & Talks Jasper to learn more about our surroundings as we walked.

Determined to dive into nature, we grabbed some walking poles and started out along our path.

Photographer
Sheri Landry

The first thing that always hits me when I get back to nature is the city silence. Gone are the cars on the street, the television playing in the background and the phone ringing off the hook. in its place, I can hear the wind as it blows through the trees, the faint call of a bird and the sound of my feet as I stroll deeper into my sanctuary.

As we reach the top of the canyon, the clouds part to show beautiful blue skies and we are met with a plethora of beautiful views. Mountain ranges decorate the landscape with dense trees blanketing their bases.

Then, as we wind our way down through towering trees, the sound of the water as it rushes through the canyon begins to speak to us.

Finally, we step out to an opening at the base of the canyon. Now everything is drowned out by the powerful sound of the rapids as they rush by, with the sheer force of the flow reverberating through me.

When we concluded our hike, I felt as though I had experienced everything I wanted to at Maligne Canyon. But I hadn’t, and it wasn’t until I returned a second time that I realized that there was so much more.

Whispering ice

Photographer
Sheri Landry

In the winter months, the water that usually rages through Maligne Canyon trickles down to a stop and this gave me the opportunity to go where I couldn’t during the summer – right onto the stream beds where the water once raged.

Choosing to do an Ice Walk with Maligne Adventures, we started by strapping on our spiked ice cleats, which would allow us to move easily along the hiking trails and onto the ice that now covers much of the base of the canyon.

After the temperature, the first difference I noticed was the quiet. Almost all sounds had ceased and outside of our chatter, I could only hear the snow crunching beneath my feet.

Photographer
Sheri Landry

Once we arrived at the base of the canyon, I was struck by how different I felt. My surroundings were now frozen in silence. Standing close to some of the ice formations that decorated the sides of the canyon, I could still hear some of the water as it trickled along as if whispering behind the ice.

The power of the rushing water was now gone and in its place stood walls of ice that climbed all the way up the side of the canyon and towered over us in a way that made me feel miniscule in relation to my surroundings. I’m told ice climbers love it here.

As we left Maligne Canyon a second time, I realized the term there’s always a reason to visit again is true. On a hike like this, weather changes every day revealing more of Mother Nature in her finest. I was left with two completely different versions of an experience in the same place and I can’t wait to see it the next time I visit.

If you go:

Jasper National Park is 365 kilometres east of Edmonton on highway 16 or 288 kilometres up the beautiful Icefield Parkway from Banff.

Tours through the canyon are offered through tour operators like Maligne Adventures or Walks and Talks Jasper or you can do it on your own.

For more information about Jasper National Park, go to www.Jasper.travel or call (780) 852-6236

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