when sister and i started planning our jasper adventure, i knew i wanted to go see spirit island. seeing it all over instagram solidified it as a true representation of what the national park is all about: quiet beauty.

my excitement was met with sister’s cautious voice, “you know you can only get to spirit island by boat, right?”

nope. i definitely did not.

thankfully for everyone involved, sister is much smarter than me and she also loves to do her research.

maligne lake is a 48km drive from jasper’s centre via maligne lake road. take your time on this drive because of all the twists and turns, and because you’re likely to see some wildlife on the way.

when you arrive, you’re first greeted by the cutest little boat house with a row of red canoes. make sure your camera battery is fully charged, as you’re going to start snapping photos – but it needs to last for at least two hours!

walk a bit further down the shoreline, and you’ll get to the docks where the maligne lake boat cruise depart.

after discovering i had to take a boat down the lake to see spirit island, sister and i were lucky enough to be invited by Pursuit to experience the lake cruise.

all aboard!

guests to the cruise can explore the lake from the comfort of glass-enclosed and heated cruise boats while a knowledgeable guide retells maligne’s history and explains its geology, wildlife, weather, flora and fauna. the interested tourist will love all the visual aids passed around, including rock samples, books, and photos. if you’re just interested in the scenery, stare out the large windows or head out to the back deck of the boat to take in the views.

as you travel down the lake, you may notice the colour of the water is different at spirit island than where cruises depart at the maligne lake docks. the further south on the lake you travel, the closer you get to glaciers, and the more emerald-coloured the water becomes due to the presence of rock flour from the glaciers.

the boat will dock and give you some time to jump off and explore this new end of the lake and spirit island. thankfully parks canada has put some rules in place to preserve the area in its natural state, so walking onto the island is not permitted. instead, take the well-groomed short path from the docks to viewpoints overlooking spirit island.

besides being breathtaking, spirit island is rich in history. it was named by the Stoney Nation indigenous people for the experiences their ancestors had at this place centuries ago. they believe mountains are physical representations of their ancestors. the fact that spirit island is surrounded on three sides by the same mountain range is very rare and makes it particularly significant to the Stoney.

spirit island – which really isn’t an “island” – is a tiny grove of trees and pristine nature separated from the mainland by an isthmus (aka a narrow piece of land connecting two larger areas across an expanse of water by which they are otherwise separated).

make sure to bring your sister along to snap beautiful photos of you. no sister? there is an island guide ready and available to answer any questions you may have and snap a few shots for you.

our island guide’s name was Sam, a friendly Australian fellow eager to answer our burning questions. since he knows the island and lake so intimately, i asked Sam what his favourite fact or tidbit was.

he told us that Mary Schaffer (the first european to see maligne lake in 1908) looked out at the mountain range surrounding the island and called it the Hall of the Gods. “can’t you just picture Zeus sitting up there ready to talk?” Sam asked us while pointing out to the left side of the lake.

yes, Sam. yes i can.

Sam was right, the true attraction of spirit island is the backdrop: a ring of impressive peaks and glaciers circling the south end of the lake.

once you’re back on shore, you can extend the day by taking on one of the many hiking trails that start from the lake.

or you can do what sister and i did, and pack a picnic to enjoy. leftovers, fresh fruit and canned sparkling wine made for a great afternoon as we sat in the sun and watched the boats come and go.

maligne lake, spirit island, and the boat cruise are even more stunning in person. add it to your travel bucket list, because it’s definitely a must-see!


have you been on the maligne lake boat cruise?

thank you Pursuit for taking us out for a day on the lake and letting us experience such beauty. 

i always look forward to the beginning of the month. things seem to slow down in the office, it’s a fresh start of new days, and it’s when sister used to publish her ‘oh hello’ blog posts.

since she stopped posting, it’s something i’ve missed. after a little bit of sulking, i decided that i would just claim it as my own. so here we are – hello, june – i’m introducing something new, and to kick it off i asked sister to write the first one.

from lakes to cows, it’s looking like sister has given us a pretty interesting list.

eating: a maple bacon mini doughnut from jelly modern #NationalDoughnutDay

researching: national doughnut day (it has a very cool history), Edith Cavell, and Mary Schäffer

drinking: a latte from Philosafy

reading: Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams (highly recommended summer reads author; read her books in order as the characters reappear in each book after they are introduced)

wanting: black on black classic TOMS

looking: forward to anjeo tonight (tacos! margs! guac! gossip!)

picnicking: by Lac Beauvert and Maligne Lake (aka: the best way to lunch in the rockies)

wishing: for an exit row seat on my flight home tomorrow

enjoying: quiet mornings

crushing: on Aussies in Jasper

waiting: for my outdoor patio furniture to arrive next week

liking: sleeping with the windows open

wondering: how I made it to the top of Ha Ling (but um, hells yes!)

loving: Moraine Lake on a misty, foggy, rainy evening

marvelling: at the beauty of Banff and Jasper National Parks

needing: veggies

hoping: you’ll say hello to a stranger today and earnestly ask “how are you?”

smelling: the lilac trees along the street

donating: #KraftBearHugs

wearing: lululemon Align II pants and a cozy sweater cause it’s cold and rainy in Calgary today

planning: European adventures

watching: CSI: Miami

listening: to Nation of Two by Vance Joy almost daily (yes, still)

thinking: about the 3 bears (2 black, 1 grizzly) we saw on Icefields Parkway

giggling: at The Queen’s reaction to cows

feeling: calm


pick one of these headings and answer for yourself. (laura’s…loving: having sister visit) 

this post is sponsored by Bayer. to make sure these products are right for you, always read and follow the label.

when sister comes to visit, i always make sure to stock up on the tissues. sure, we are criers, but mostly it’s for her sniffles.

we’re pretty used to seasonal allergies in the Bridgman household. sister seems to have them most of the time, but at this time of year, allergies are lurking everywhere. if you’ve ever had to deal with the resulting itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, or a runny nose you know it’s tempting to hide through spring.

this is not an option for us, as every sister visit means a trip out to the Rockies to hike and explore. it’s adventure time all the time.

instead of suffering, i have assembled her an allergy toolkit. what’s in it, you may ask?

tissues

there is no such things as too many tissues. i have a box in the living room, one in my bedroom, and another in the bathroom. have i mentioned my condo is approximately 600 sq.ft.? that’s a little space and lots of tissues. i also have travel packs in both our hiking bags as well as a pack of car tissue for the commute. when you feel like you’re constantly blowing your nose, it’s best to make sure there is always a tissue within reaching distance.

essential oils

my hippie ways have infiltrated the family. i now have dad and sister using a few essential oils to help with their ailments – mainly deep breathing. one of my favourites is peppermint. the lovely fresh smell instantly opens everything up and allows you to take deep breaths that fill your lungs up – great for the hiking trail.

Claritin Rapid Dissolve

Claritin Rapid Dissolve is great for on the go. it dissolves instantly on the tongue, no water required, and provides 24-hour allergy relief of itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and a runny nose. use the minty-tasting tablets to fight pollen, ragweed, grass, dust, pets and mould allergies.

hydraSense Allergy Therapy

for fast relief of eye allergy symptoms at home or on the road, i’ve included hydraSense – an eye drop formulated to relieve allergy symptoms. hydraSense contains clinically proven, naturally-sourced ingredients called sodium hyaluronate and ectoine for effective, long-lasting relief of irritated, itchy, and watery eyes due to dryness and allergies.

water bottle

everything is dry when you have allergies: your eyes, your nose from blowing it, your throat from mouth breathing. it is important to combat this by staying hydrated. i try to aim for 2 litres of water a day, but if i’m being more active – like going on hikes – i try to push this to three. getting used to drinking that much water can be tough and leave you searching for a bathroom, but it’s so good for you for so many reasons.

lip butter

this one goes hand in hand with the water bottle. having chapped lips is a terrible feeling, and while water can help sooth it from the inside, it takes a while. sometimes you need immediate relief. that’s where a really luxurious, moisturizing lip butter comes into play. it will help make your lips ultra soft, but also provide respite from the pain of dry lips.

sister adds: do a bit of research; did you know being allergic to ragweed may also mean you’re allergic to chamomile tea? check the allergy report on the weather networks website and close the windows in your condo if your triggers are at high levels.

we’re off to Jasper for this visit’s adventures – allergy toolkit in hand. we can’t wait for the drive up icefields parkway, stopping at all the waterfalls, and visiting all the iconic sights of the town. it’s one of our grandma’s favourite places to visit, so it brings a lot of great energy with it.


we definitely won’t be missing any adventures because of allergies. have they even held you back? tell me how you combat seasonal allergies.

this post is sponsored by Bayer. to make sure these products are right for you, always read and follow the label.