May 9, 2016

Up close and personal with Canada’s wilderness


I’m just going to warn you in advance, you’re going to have a very, very difficult time choosing between the incredible outdoor activities made available to you when you travel to Canada’s Rocky Mountains. The selection you’ll be faced with in Jasper National Park alone will require the toss of a coin.

If you’re a visual person, for example, then you won’t be able to resist the Maligne Lake Cruise to Spirit Island, a 90 minute interpretative fast boat ride across one of Canada’s most picturesque lakes to the much-photographed Spirit Island. You’ll discover the local history, the wildlife and the glaciology of the region, while feeling the fresh air rush past you.

Spirit Island itself is fascinating, with no known answer as to the origin of its name, although some suggest it is because of its beauty that captures the spirit of Canada. For me, it is perhaps a visit to this place brings out a feeling of spirituality, peace and tranquillity that is hard to find anywhere else in the world. And if this is the sensation you seek, then the canoeing Freechoice option will also tick that box. There’s something so majestic about gliding across water, so clear you can see the lake-bed below, surrounded by mountain peaks capped with snow.

The forests are whisper still, except for the occasional rutting-call of the wild elk protecting their females on the riverbanks. My canoeing experience today is on Pyramid Lake, at the base of Pyramid Mountain, a sight you need to see to believe. The stillness is almost otherworldly. It’s as if a hush falls over you, similar to that feeling of being in the presence of a miracle.

And in so many ways, you are. But the beauty doesn’t stop there. For something a little more fast-paced, you’re going to love the sensation of gliding up the side of the spectacular Whistler’s Mountain Peak in the Jasper SkyTram, a seven-minute journey that will take your breath away. You’ll ascend 2,500 metres above the best of Jasper’s snow-capped mountains, lakes, the township, river ways and forests; and the view from the top is angelic. 

To be so high up gives you a brilliant new perspective of the Canadian Rockies – and a photo opportunity that’ll be very hard to beat. Unless of course, you are feeling a little more daring and don’t mind a bit of speed … or should I say, a lot - because the Harley Davidson™ Sidecar experience is one you will remember for the rest of your days. It’s a thrilling adventure, (you’re strapped in safely, covered in leathers from head to toe of course) and you’re whisked around the curvaceous bends of Jasper’s most beautiful drives, feeling the wind in your hair, the sound of the Harley roaring in your ears and the spectacular sights of the Canadian Rockies as a feast for your eyes.

This is one journey that you most definitely won’t want to end. But that’s the beauty of Scenic’s Freechoice activities. They will all open your eyes to the very best of the places you’ll go. They are designed to suit every individual level of energy and they will all most definitely speak to your soul. Told you it would be a hard choice.