PhotoJBartlett/The Adventure Freelancer
Trees on island in lake
Steve Smith/age fotostock
It takes patience and good fortune to create a unique image in a place considered Canada’s second-most-photographed landscape. The Through the Lens Cruise on Maligne Lake gives amateur and professional shutterbugs such an opportunity. While in the boat, the onboard instructor talks technique and composition with aspiring photographers and challenges seasoned veterans to try new perspectives. Once the group arrives at Spirit Island, everyone spends an hour framing the perfect shot. The cruise experience hasn’t changed much since Jasper National Park pioneers Curly Philips and Fred Brewster set up shop at Maligne Lake in the 1920s.
Alpine Meadow Dreaming
This was my much-deserved reward after quite a steep hike up from Maligne Lake in Jasper National Forest to the renowned summer wildflower displays of the alpine meadows of Opal Hills Loop. The hike is probably 1 1/2 hours one-way from the lake below, and it starts off with foreboding signs warning you of grizzly bears in the area and advising to hike in groups of four. Unfortunately, I had no group, so I elected to proceed solo hoping that the probability of encountering those beautiful vistas above was substantially higher than a meeting with a bear. The beauty of those meadows and the wildflower display was a religious experience I’m profoundly grateful to have partaken in. Having the good fortune of being the sole patron of this sacred floral amphitheater for at least an hour before encountering another hiker elicited a profound sense of communion with the natural world that resonates with me to this day.