*notcot in travel , 23:30

Maligne Canyon Icewalk- 02.19.15

ice0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, we roadtripped up from LA for a fall adventure. In Part II, we are experiencing all that Alberta Winter has to offer! Follow the series to see what inspires us along the way!

Firstly, wow. ICEWALK!!! Today we went on an Icewalk in Maligne Canyon in Jasper National Park with Maligne Adventures and it was unbelievably beautiful. I’ve always known ice is beautiful - who doesn’t love or admire an impressive ice ball in their drink? But WOW. I’m still spinning with how inspiring and impressive the ice formations we walked over, under, and through are! From the walls of ice forming on the mountainsides, to the shelves of ice we precariously walk across, to the incredible patterns of what almost looks like bubbles of ice that form from water dripping down… I honestly can’t find the words to tell you how beautiful it all is - so go see the pictures on the next page!

Side note - while you can go wander Maligne Canyon on your own, i’d definitely suggest doing a tour the first time. They provide you with crampons/boots if you don’t have them, and the experienced guide is a wealth of knowledge… not to mention there are a lot of beautiful areas to see off trail as well as more precarious areas that an untrained explorer may not know about. Anyhow - to the next page for all the pictures!

Regardless of the time of year, there are streams and waterfalls that flow year round due to underground rivers and streams that push water out from the ground. ice1.jpg

Because of this, there is luscious moss even in the midst of winter. Also since the water is constantly moving and has come from below ground, it’s much warmer than the runoff, so you’ll find quite a lot of animals use it as a water source throughout the year. ice1a.jpg

Just as easily as it pushes water OUT, you can find these waterfalls where the water just disappears right back IN to the ground. ice2.jpg

Bridal Veil Falls is a great example of a waterfall that is running year round. It’s incredibly loud when you walk right up to it! Also, the water is DELICIOUS. I’ve never worn crampons before this adventure - and it made a world of difference when walking around on the ice. ice3.jpg

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The formations of the ice were my favorite details. From the way icicles form, to these blob like shapes from drips falling and freezing… ice5.jpg

… and then you head into the canyon for WALLS of ice! And as it’s been warming up, these have already shrunken back significantly - you can only imagine how far out they once were. ice6.jpg

The icy blue hues when backlit are gorgeous. ice7.jpg

As ice shelves form and the water moves away from underneath them, there are lots of ice caves and tunnels beneath your feet. ice7a.jpg

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This is the example they use of when an ice shelf caves in. They are only attached to the side walls and rocks, fully hollow beneath. ice9.jpg

… yes, we crawled in there. ice10.jpg

It was crazy to see how thick (or thin in some cases) the ice shelves we were walking on are. ice11.jpg

The ice shelf up close - layer upon layer. ice12.jpg

A close up of the formations from water dripping down! ice13.jpg

Squeezing through an icy passageway! ice14.jpg

Look UP! Curved canyon walls above - formed from water rushing through millions of years ago. ice15.jpg

This is where our adventure into the canyon ended and it was time to turn back… ice16.jpg

You can find the fossils of ancient sea creatures in the canyon walls. Beyond where our guide if crouched, you can climb down through tunnels into room sized spaces! Shawn is popping out between the ice and canyon walls. If you see hoarfrost forming out of a hole, there is air/moisture and most likely a cave down there! ice17.jpg

Icicles! ice18.jpg

Heading back out the way we came - i swear this wall of ice grew. It looks even bigger when lit from behind! ice19.jpg

And then it was time to head back out… you can see the little bridge we head back to down there where the tour bus is waiting on the other side. ice20.jpg

While we can’t bring the mountains and amazing ice home with us - the most unique, local, Jasper souvenir i’ve found are from Mountains & Monsters. Handmade plush mountains made in Jasper by a couple who works for the National Park! Find them in person at the national park info center store, or online. ice21.jpg

If i knew better - this Maligne Canyon Icewalk would definitely have been on my bucket list! Totally worth seeing in person before it all changes or melts away…

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