Sat, Jun 20 2009, Sun, Jun 21 2009 - Nature Hike in Jasper/ Maligne Canyon With Author Ben Gadd (View Original Event Details)

Event Coordinator(s): Mark G, Paul
Participants:Pat C, colette, Deborah S, Braydon, Sarah, Rosalbina G, Renee, Paul, El, Michel, Paul, Mark G

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Write Up:
Despite a 90% chance of precipitation, we saw only a spit of rain on our windshields and none at all on both of our hikes. The hike up to Wilcox Pass was very scenic. Our group hiked over 1400 ft elevation gain to 8000 feet and was rewarded with spectacular views of the Columbia Icefields and Athabasca Glacier in the brilliant sunshine. Later, we settled in at the Athabasca Falls youth hostel and some of us went into town for supper while some of us stayed at the hostel to cook our own meals. In the morning, we met up with Ben Gadd for our nature hike at Maligne Canyon. We identified many plants, including western wood lily, wild sweet pea, sweetvetch, pussy-toes, bearberry, kinnickinnick, among others. We also learned the differences between lodgepole pine and jackpine and we conducted a calcium carbonate test on the surrounding limestone. The highlight of our walk was when Ben explained the hidden secrets of the cave system under Medicine Lake and how it affected Maligne River. After our hike, Ben answered a few questions the group had written the night before such as: what is a nutritious plant found in the mountains that would help one survive in an emergency (the blueberry), what will Ben miss most about Jasper when he moves to Canmore next month (the water, especially the lakes), what was his most exciting encounter he had with a bear (running parallel to a grizzly because both he and the bear thought they were running away from each other), what was Ben's most exciting adventure (exploring the longest-known cave system at Castleguard caves under the Icefields, and his Mt. Hungabee near-miss that almost cost him his life), and what was his favorite dayhike and overnight hike (dayhike Iceline Trail in Yoho, overnight hike in the Fiddle valley north of Miette). The group would like to thank Ben for a most enjoyable morning. Afterwards, we had lunch in Jasper, said goodbye to everyone and then made our way back home. The group would like to apologize to Colette, who had hid in a crevasse near the Athabasca Falls walkway on Saturday night hoping to scare everyone but unfortunately would realize much later that the group had chosen a different pathway to get back to the hostel. Thanks to everyone for a wonderful weekend.

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