Point of Disclosure–Highway 16 and the mountain pass it runs through are referred to as “The Yellowhead”, after an Iriquois-Metis trapper, fur-trader and explorer who worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company during the 18th and 19th centuries. His name was Pierre Hastination or Pierre Bostonais (Boston Man, a name given to him by First Nations members to indicate his American origin), but because of his yellow hair, his nickname was Tete Jaune (French for Yellow Head). In the early 19th Century Pierre and his men crossed the Rocky Mountains through the pass that would later bear his name. (Source:https://www.tetejaunelodge.com/history)
This is the moment we have been dreading, yet,
as we leave Jasper town, Yellowhead-ing it,
we can’t help but feel our smiles spreading a bit.
Trip starting at Marmot, we were shredding it,
on to Icefields glacier, no one sledding it,
then off to waterfall, with ice spreading it
and around 5 Lakes all ice, but shedding it,
before hiking hill with snow paths threading it.
Seeing the view with mountains embedding it.
we knew in 3 weeks we’d return again yet.
The Maligne River and Maligne Canyon are an interesting formation. The Maligne River flows as a full size river for 15 km upstream of Medicine Lake. Medicine Lake empties and fills throughout the year and the amount of water in the lake is purely dependent on the season.
Shortly after exiting Medicine Lake, the Maligne River becomes a “losing stream”, flowing underground until reaching the canyon where many smaller streams rebuild the river. The river cuts through the slot canyon limestone bedrock, exposing the underground river at several points. The underground river amplifies the flow as the river continues to drop down the canyon.
The canyon height reaches a maximum of 50 m (160 feet) depth and at points is less than 2 m (6.6 feet) wide.
Here is what you see form the parking lot. note the red tinge caused by the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation in the wide angle shot. Yikes. It is everywhere.
Here are a couple of shots of the upper canyon near the Tea House. You can walk down the canyon to 6th bridge, but we did not have the time to spare on this day.
Up near the end of Pyramid Lake Road, in Pyramid Lake with a fabulous view of Pyramid Mountain is a small island called Pyramid Island. Noticing a theme here yet?
You park in the small parking lot and walk across a wooden bridge and there you are, surrounded by mountain beauty.
As if in a dream
magical alpine island.
A Pyramid scheme.
New pussy willows abound,
butterflies circling around,
by each new blue lake we found,
we trod on snow or bare ground,
climbing hills both up and down,
gentle breezes the only sound,
past candle ice, a sight profound,
and hills of crocuses crowned,
all too soon we’re homeward bound.
The Columbia Icefield is the largest icefield in the Rockies at 325 square kilometers ( (125 square miles) and between 100 meters (330 feet) and 365 meters (1198 feet) thick. The area receives up to 7 meters (280 inches) of snow per year.
The Icefield consists of 6 major glaciers (Athabasca, Castleguard, Columbia, Dome, Stuttfield and Saskatchewan) and was formed between 268,000 and 126,000 BCE). The last major advance occurred during the Little Ice Age from 1200 to 1900 AD and the glaciers have been in retreat ever since (note the furthest 1890 extent in the feature photo.
Situated on the Continental Divide (Great Divide), it is sometimes referred to as a Trihedral Divide or hydrological apex. Melt water from this point runs three ways, to the Pacific, the Arctic and the Atlantic Oceans).
(Source:The Canadian Encyclopedia)
On this day, it was spectacular against the blue sky with sunshine making the glacier ice a pale blue. We were but 4 of a handful of people here as the Icefield Discovery Center and Snow Coach Tours were not open. In fact, the parking lot was only recently plowed out. We enjoyed a picnic in our car with the stunning view spread before us as we watched the snow clouds swirl up the backside from the West. It was magical.
Spread out before us
lay Columbia Icefields.