A Bit Sheepish

This morning we awoke early to the sound of intense rushing water that is Athabasca Falls. We arrived late last night as the sun was setting and decided to call it a night in the parking lot.

2011-07-27-Athabaska Falls at dusk (Jasper National Park).jpg2011-07-27-The potholes.jpg2011-07-27-Athabaska Falls at dawn(ish).jpg2011-07-27-Cascade falls.jpgThe falls are impressive and quite fierce – developed as a result of the glacier shearing large chunks of rock away to ultimately make a path for the water to flow. Jasper wasn’t far from the falls and we made it there shortly after starting our drive for the morning. We stayed only for a short time before heading over to the Meitte Hot Springs, spotting two bears along the way.

2011-07-27-Bear 1.jpg2011-07-27-Bear 2.jpgBefore making it to the hot springs, we also visited Maligne Canyon near the town of Jasper. Not being an expert in any way, but I think this canyon is one of the previous iterations of what Athabasca falls once was. At least several of the qualities are there, and perhaps in a couple hundred years the water would have eroded the path even further to be as large as Athabasca.

2011-07-27-Maligne Canyon Falls.jpg2011-07-27-Maligne Canyon Falls height.jpg2011-07-27-Maligne Canyon in Jasper NP.jpgNear the Jasper National Park border and down a 12 km road we found the hot springs which are toted as the hottest springs in the rockies with two pools, one of which is deeper which was a nice change from the Radium Hot Springs we visited in Banff.
I still want to actually get into a hot spring which doesn’t look and feel like a heated swimming pool. Better yet – one with no other people would be even nicer. Needless to say our stay was brief.
Arriving back at the parking lot, we found a large group of bighorn sheep had come for a visit.

2011-07-27-Big horn sheep.jpg2011-07-27-A whole flock.jpgYou are told its unlawful for you to approach them and there are signs asking you not to feed the sheep but unfortunatly I saw both offences in the time we watched them.

2011-07-27-Dont feed the Sheep.jpg2011-07-27-But they look so scruffy!.jpg2011-07-27-Folks taking photos from all sides.jpg2011-07-27-Looking for an excape route.jpgA couple of spring lambs were also around and were very cute.

2011-07-27-Staying close to mama.jpg2011-07-27-2011-07-27-2011-07-27-Love.jpgAfter the hot springs, we found more sheep along the rock face.

2011-07-27-Keeping their eye on us.jpg2011-07-27-You're just supposed to look.jpgWe ultimately made it to Hinton, which, we found, is where we should have stopped for gas instead of Jasper – prices are back at reasonable levels here. Plus they’re only 80 kms apart. We did a big shopping trip to stock up for our drive North. We’re anticipating higher prices, which may or may not be a good idea. At the very least we don’t have to stop for a while.

2011-07-27-Wal-mart stock up for our Northern adventure.jpg