Holy Cow! Finally, Finally, Finally!!! ~ Jasper National Park

August 14 ~ Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

Athabasca Falls

Today our outing was to explore Jasper National Park. Up and out at a reasonable time, we headed north in Jethro, leaving Ellie Mae resting at our campground near Lake Louise.

There are several places to stop along the Icefield Parkway which is the main highway between Lake Louise and the town of Jasper. But we decided to zip on by, planning on making our stops on the return portion of our trip. After our lunch stop in Jasper, we took the turnoff onto Maligne Valley Road.

The map says, “(60 km/hr max) – Allow plenty of time to take pictures on this scenic drive. Maligne Lake is an hour’s leisurely drive from Jasper. Watch for wildlife along the way.” 

Our primary destination was scheduled to be Maligne Lake. But we did relent and make a short stopover at Medicine Lake on the way.

Medicine Lake

Our visibility was once again on the poor side, but seeing the crystal clear water was lovely. There had been a recent burn here, which left the landscape scarred and otherworldly looking.

This almost looks like a black and white photo – it is not…

Thankfully, Mother Nature is already starting to make a comeback.

These paint-splattered looking flowers took my breath away.

As we got close to the lake, a small crowd was gathered on the side of the road with cameras and binoculars pressed to their faces. Tim stayed with the car while I hopped out to find out what had been spotted.

I was told that A MOOSE WITH HER CALF was somewhere hidden in the trees and bushes down below the road!!!!

I have been on the hunt to find a moose ever since our trip to Yellowstone a dozen or so years earlier. Several times we have “just missed” seeing one.

This time I was determined to just stay put until she/they became visible or I got run over by a car. I was hoping that the former would happen first 🙂

A few minutes later Tim had navigated a U-turn and found a place he could pull off of the road, had grabbed his long-lens camera and joined me in the waiting game. A ranger slowed down, ask what had been spotted, then pulled over and started with traffic and crowd control.

And then it happened…

Moose Cow and Calf

Tim stationed himself where he could zoom in a little closer and snapped away.

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I was in heaven, and after allowing us to watch for a good five minutes or more, they slowly meandered behind the shrubbery once again. It was like Christmas, Thanksgiving and the 4th of July all rolled into one big holiday for me. All the rest of the way on our drive toward Maligne Lake I know I had a silly grin plastered on my face.

Arriving at the lake, we were preparing to start the anticipated “parking spot hunt” when both Tim and I at the same time asked, “What is that? Is it a horse or a moose?”. Looking down a side service road that went toward the park rangers or administration housing, we had spotted the hind end of a large brown creature.

Well of course we had to investigate. Throwing caution to the wind, we slowly drove down a road that we probably had no business being on, and YES, lightning did strike twice in the same day!

Another mother and calf were having their lunch along the side of the road. Junior scampered off, by momma paid no attention to us. Tim again grabbed his long lens and started snapping away.

Well hello there

She was more interested in eating than in us.

She was dreadfully thin, with her ribs showing. I don’t know if that is normal for a mom, perhaps still nursing or not, but I was concerned for her.

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And then this guy showed up.

You are getting WAY to close there buddy!!!

I could not believe our luck. After so many close calls and near misses, I was feasting at the buffet of seeing the elusive moose.

Returning to the parking lot, we parked and decided to take a walk along the side of the lake. And then I had to laugh. Here is the name of the trail we were headed for:

Of course – how appropriate!

The lake itself was lovely but the sky was still suffering from the nearby fires and everything was muted.

Maligne Lake

Group huddle on the end of the pier

I am always drawn to taking pictures of boats on/in/by the water

Oh my heavens – could this happen again???

Sure enough as we walked down the path we came to the backside of the administration complex and spotted a ranger out taking photos of (yep you guessed it) the same momma moose. This time her calf was right beside her.

Momma Twiggy and her baby

Well, seldom shy, Tim and I walked past the barricade and joined several rangers and had a fantastic conversation with them as we watched to our hearts content.

We found out that this momma is a bit of a celebrity and was very chill for a moose. She had actually starred in a PBS documentary called “Moose: Life of a Twig Eater”. I have not had a chance to watch it yet, but I did find it on YouTube and plan to get to it, hopefully this evening. You can find the link by clicking here.

Baby finally got tired of the show and became a little skittish.

Baby on the road as momma continued to eat.

This could have just as easily been me doing a happy dance

Our moose sightings may have ended, but our day was far from complete as we had several scenic stopovers to take in on our way back to our campsite.

Athabasca Falls

Our thrills were not over, as this waterfall deserves to be admired, not for the height, but for the thundering magnitude of water that gushes over and through the narrow corridor that has been created over time through the rocky gorge.

There are several well-placed viewing platforms and side trails that allow you to safely get some decent looks from multiple angles.

Athabasca Falls

Looking straight down from the bridge – such power, such beauty

The falls used to go through these walls many years ago – now used as a pathway to get below

LOVED seeing these stacked rocks on the shoreline below the falls

The side of the cliff was magnificent

Even the moss and lichens were bold and brilliant

I would not want to get caught up in this thundering water

The other waterfall we wanted to see was Sunwapta Falls. By the time we arrived, it was late in the day and we had it almost to ourselves. Not nearly as violent as Athabasca, nor in my humble opinion, as magnificent, but still wonderful to behold.

Sunwapta is a Stoney language word that means “turbulent water” ~ Wikipedia

There is both an upper and lower falls, but due to the late hour we just saw the closest one, the upper falls.

Top of Sunwapta Falls

The cascading water has cut out wonderful shapes

The falls more straight on from on top of the bridge

By now we were tired, and heading to the barn (so to speak), but several roadside pull-outs where we could absorb the view pulled us off the road.

I did not notice any sign to mark the location, but it was appropriate after this fine day to simply gaze and appreciate the beauty

There were enormous fields of these puffy flowers

Couldn’t resist just one more close-up

Worn out but still going on the “seeing moose” adrenaline

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Well, I’m guessing anyone who has followed our journey for any length of time will not have any trouble figuring out what I am grateful for today. After YEARS of trying to find/see/spot the elusive and normally shy moose, it finally happened today. I would have been thrilled with seeing one, but seeing two mothers with their calves, on separate occasions, especially up so close, was a dream come true. I am truly a “Happy Camper” tonight!

Up Next: Our tour on the Icefields. We invite you to join us!

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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77 Responses to Holy Cow! Finally, Finally, Finally!!! ~ Jasper National Park

  1. You’ve hit many of my favourite places there! (Did you now that Medicine Lake pretty much empties itself out in the winter? The karst system there is incredible… it makes for such a dynamic and changing landscape through the seasons.) And a moose and her calf! WOW. You are very, very lucky to have seen that pairing.

    Like

  2. joylennick says:

    Reblogged this on Joy Lennick and commented:
    Definitely one for your diary. You are now a ‘Mooser…’

    Like

  3. Julia says:

    I thought I was the only “moose nut”! I finally saw six on our road trip in northwest BC. My son beat that, however. He was hiking in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, rounded a corner and there was a moose standing on the trail. Everyone, people and moose stood there staring at each other for quite a while until the moose ambled off.

    Like

  4. ktkickass says:

    These photos are truly breathtaking! How gorgeous!!! How amazing to see these beautiful animals! and the wilderness, the nature, those flowers, all those discoveries you made…. I love it!

    Like

  5. Now that place belongs on my bucket list! Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Michael Alesko says:

    SO glad you finally saw your moose.

    Like

  7. Wind Kisses says:

    My heart is full! What a special moment to be a part of. Beautiful photos. I watched a documentary on that era the other day and put it on my bucket list, but your photos told a larger story. Very nice. What a great adventure..again.. Safe travels.

    Like

  8. tippysmom2 says:

    Yeah!!!!! So glad you saw the illusive moose! Did you ask the park rangers about the mother being so skinny? Was it normal? The scenery was once again breathtakingly beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing your journey.

    Like

  9. Camie says:

    You’re such an excellent photographer! I’m happy for you that you saw the elusive moose and got more than you bargained for! That’s fantastic! I love your close up of the puffy flower. Just beautiful!

    Like

  10. Keng says:

    Congratulations on seeing the moose upclose. Despite seeing all kinds of wildlife when we were in Jasper two months ago, moose was one of the few we didn’t get to see. So yes, I’m jeolous.

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  11. nelson2021 says:

    Congratulations on seeing the moose! We were there two years ago and didn’t see any moose. But I do have a picture of my husband at athabaca falls that looks like he is standing at the end of a rainbow! (Because of the mist from the falls!)

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  12. Anabel Marsh says:

    Fantastic – and you got such great photos! We saw bear on that road but no moose.

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  13. amoralegria says:

    Wonderful! I had hoped to see a moose when we went to Alaska last year, but we saw none (it was “rutting season” we were told). My husband has always wanted to go to the Lake Louise/Banff area and I think we will go next year. Jasper National Park will definitely be on our list – it looks beautiful!
    I was concerned, however, about the really skinny moose. She looks as though she is starving. Did you find out anything more about her?

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  14. Love your photos. I think we may be just behind you. Getting to Jasper tomorrow, 8/27. We shortened our stay to 2 days, but we also have 4 more days in Banff. Curious where you are now? We’re in Grande Cache. Anyway, reading your posts to get good ideas on what we should see.

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    • We are in real time in Washington, on Whidbey Island. Our blog is almost two weeks behind. At the top of each post there is the actual date when the event happened, as well as the posted date. I usually do much better keeping it within a day or two of being current, but we had several campgrounds with zero Internet and we are now visiting family. I hope our posts have been helpful. Have a GREAT time .

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Aunt Beulah says:

    I remember the area you are in as a slice of heaven. It filled up my eyes and my soul. thank you for bringing it back to me. And I’m so glad you realized your dream of seeing a mother moose and baby.

    Like

  16. Terry says:

    Wonderful, 3 sightings in one day. Check that one off your list. THat gentleman was not very wise, but people think these are gentle creatures. Not realizing that they are wild.
    These falls and lake are on my list already, hope I get lucky to see moose there.

    Like

    • Terry, I am always sad when I hear/read about someone being injured by or even killed by one of the animals. Because sadly that often means that the animal will be euthanized. In the excitement of the moment common sense can go out the window. But YES, these are wild animals and their space needs to be respected. I too hope you get to see moose.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Wow what an amazing set of photos! We are planning to visit this area later next year so very interested to read about your travels here! 🙂

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  18. The elusive moose…Finally! Congrats, persistence does pay off 😊

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  19. I’m so glad you finally got to see your moose! A great journey to watch and Canada was on my short list for next year I think it might be on the top. ❤️👣

    Like

  20. Told you you’d see moose in Canada 🙂
    I could feel your excitement jumping right off the screen!
    Alison

    Like

  21. lulu says:

    What an adventure you are having! It’s been fun seeing new sites with you.

    Like

  22. Wow!
    Yes, much too close to that Moose.

    Like

  23. The thin sickly moose may have had many ticks on her. In eastern and central Canada it was a very bad year for ticks and moose suffer horribly and even die from ticks. I don’t know it that applies to BC where you were.

    Like

  24. Maxxtrails says:

    Amazing photos! We have never taken that road from Jasper but will definitely have to do it the next time we stay in that area. While clear blue sky is nice I do think the smoke gives a nice look to your photos 🙂

    Like

  25. Sounds like a moose heaven 🙂

    Like

  26. Widdershins says:

    MOOOOOOOOSES!!! 😀

    Like

  27. Western anemone + Sunwapta River 🙂 Looks and sounds like you had a wonderful day!

    Like

  28. joliesattic says:

    I hear antlers drop off at certain times of the year for both moose and deer, it would have been a question for the rangers. They seem to be up on all that. I once saw a golden bear at a park in Aspen and asked the ranger about it and he called it a black bear but at certain times of the year, their coat takes on a different color, looking more gold/orange. I hadn’t knowned that.

    Like

  29. Pingback: Columbia Icefields, Athabasca Glacier and Glacier Skywalk | A Note From Abroad

  30. meggsy21 says:

    Beautiful photos. We may have to put this on our bucket list.

    Like

  31. Wonderful post! This is a destination I have been wanting to visit for some time now! Where are you and Tim from? Kudos for taking this adventure in life, and I absolutely love the Mark Twain quote at the top. 🙂 Stunning photography and great blog! I’m glad you stopped by my blog so that I can see yours! Keep traveling. – Lisa

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  32. Thanks for checking out our blog and liking it! Sounds like your Moose Adventure was really something. We hope to take a trip with our vintage Avion to Yellowstone in 2018 or 2019. She has been there a few times but not since we owned her.
    Happy travels!

    Like

  33. phishsihp says:

    Thanks for checking out of blog. We’ve been on a national park kick this summer too. Beautiful pictures of the moose!

    Like

  34. Kathi Jozaitis says:

    Loved your post. We were just there, too. We had similar experience with seeing bears, and were so excited!

    Like

  35. I’ve always wanted to see a moose! Get very excited and then…. disappointed when I see those road signs indicating they might be about!!!!!! Will keep trying – enjoyed this blog! Thanks

    Like

  36. curvyroads says:

    Double congrats on the moose bonanza! 😀 And that settles it, I am going to have to get a long lens one of these days! Those photos were spectacular. And the lakes and waterfalls weren’t too shabby either. 😁

    Like

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