First up is the Athabasca Glacier, part of the huge Columbia Icefields. Because of its proximity to the towns of Jasper and Banff, the Athabasca Glacier is the most popular of its kind in Canada. Just behind me, to my left, and my right, are hundreds of fellow tourists snapping the same shot, albeit with far more expensive cameras.
The Athabasca Glacier is part of the surviving remains of a huge, thick ice mass which once blanketed the majority of Canada’s western mountains. The flow from the melting ice unleashes into the Athabasca River before it crashes over the Athabasca Falls. In time the melting ice will find its way to the Arctic Ocean.
Standing only 23-metres tall, the Athabasca Falls are not considered high by Canadian Rockies standards but the sheer size of the Athabasca River makes the falls one of the most powerful to be found in Jasper National Park and beyond.
The falls crash down over a layer of hard quartzite, the impressive falls have carved potholes and a canyon by cutting into the softer limestone beneath.
Maligne Canyon, located some 30km from the town of Jasper, is a natural canyon 50 feet high. A popular tourist attraction but more importantly a wicked natural feature.
The water is funneled into the tight canyon and explodes down the waterfall. Incredibly the canyon freezes in the winter and the Jasper Adventure Centre offer guided ice tours of Maligne Canyon.
The spray from the whitewater leaves a slippery coating on the rocks, climbing over the barriers to getting that perfect shot was not an option.