The first stop this morning for our band of merry tourists was the Bear’s Paw Bakery in Jasper. This was about an hour drive from our hotel in Hinton. This was a baker that KK and PK had visited on their last trip to Canada several years ago, and this was one of the first required attractions of the entire Canada vacation.
After breakfast, everybody did some shopping in the gift shops along the main drag. Our crew did come across some interesting finds. One Canada fact that I need to share is that Canadians drive extra S L O W. The moment we crossed the Canadian border, we noticed that it is easy to get behind Canadians who are driving the speed limit, or even more likely, driving below the speed limit. It is not uncommon to be following Canadians on the highway poking along, and they will tap the breaks for no reason. You have to be fully engaged and in the moment, when driving in Canada.
Regarding the fact that Canadians drive slow, Mallory and Erin both bought souvenirs today that referenced that.
Following our fill of breakfast food and shopping, we drove for another hour to visit Maligne Lake. This is another drop-dead gorgeous Canadian lake. Emerald water, mountains with glaciers, and picture perfect weather. We had a great afternoon here.
7 of our 11 travelers took canoes and kayaks out onto the lake for a couple of hours. The water was so calm. We were told the water was 4 degrees (Celsius, of course), so it was refreshing to dip your hand in, but not ideal for tipping over.
While out on the lake, Erin was yearning to see a bear. We did not see any bears, we did see a duck that would dive into the lake and then reappear later very far from where it went under. We had not seen a diving and swimming duck before. The picture of the bird was shared with KK and Scott, and they collaboratively deemed it a “common loon”.
Kayaking and canoeing on Maligne Lake will definitely be one of our primary memories of this trip. It was a blast. I can understand why people enjoy kayaking.
On our way back to Jasper, we stopped at Medicine Lake. The Medicine River became a lake when a massive rockslide damned up the river several hundred years . It created a beautiful lake.
We made it to Jasper, and Erin had located the perfect spot to eat – Jasper Pizza. They had everything, including poutain! This is our first opportunity to eat it on this trip. This classic Canadian dish is simply fried potatoes covered in brown gravy and cheese curds. It may not sound like much, but it tastes better than it sounds.
We had snagged a group of tables outside, and the view was special.
Our waitress did not appear to be from Australia, judging by her accent. Stephanie asked her if she was from Canada, and she was from Toronto. Stephanie remarked that it’s wild how many Australians are in Canada, and the waitress replied, “It’s crazy, eh?” So hearing a Canadian say “eh” has now been marked off my imaginary Canada bingo card.
After dinner, we began making our way to Edmonton, which was a five hour drive. Not too far out of Jasper, we saw a bull elk eating alongside the road. Pretty sure we saw this same elk this morning on the way into Jasper. KK estimated his age at 2.5 years old. He was a magnificent beast.
It was after midnight when we reached our hotel in Edmonton. We selected a hotel very near the airport, as Miles & Peyton are flying back to Tulsa in the morning. It was so great they could join us for 3 full days of the trip. I know they had a fabulous time!