Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies
. The 10,878 square kilometres of mountain wilderness was established in 1907 and Giaan Rooney was fortunate enough to visit.
She was treated to breathtaking scenery in a place with an incredible backcountry trail system and the Columbia Icefields, one of the only icefields in the world accessible by road. Hikers from around the world see some of North America's rarest animals: grizzly bears, moose, caribou and wolves.
Giaan joined a Wildlife Safari with Wes Bradford, known as the Wildlife Whisperer. He has spent more than 35 years as the park's wildlife specialist and was a wealth of information.
He pointed out a group of six deer they have white bottoms and large ears, which have given them the name mule deer. Early morning is the best time to spot Canada geese. Their loud honking makes them easy to find. They mate for life and in summer raise a group of goslings on a lake and in autumn fly away until the following spring when the same pair returns to do it all over again.
One of the easiest animals to spot is the elk. Wes said they are like the kangaroos of the Canadian Rockies. Giaan said Wes could easily be one of the herd as he grabbed their attention with his elk call. They were curious but both parties kept their distance.
Even easier to see are bighorn sheep. They are quite large, with sandy-brown coats and white rumps. Rams have massive, spirally curved horns and ewes' horns are short and spiky. They graze between low grassy slopes and alpine meadows. It's said their eyesight is equivalent to a pair of eight power binoculars.
While Giaan and Wes didn't see a grizzly, Wes showed her how to play dead if one did appear. It could save you being on the dinner menu! Wes said to avoid running away. Keep an eye on the bear and back out of the area. Easier said than done! Then there's bear mace. A good squirt on the nose will keep then quite for a few hours with no after-effects.
Wildlife and scenery abound in Jasper National Park and it's a place well worth putting on your wish list.
Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada.
Jasper Adventure Centre three-hour Wildlife Safari Tours run year-round and cost $60 per person. Hotel pick-up, transportation and interpretive guide are included.
Prices correct at June 18, 2011.
For further information
Ph: 1300 363 055
Jasper National Park
607 Connaught Drive
Jasper, Alberta T0E 1E0
Ph: +1 780 852 6162
Jasper Adventure Centre
618 Connaught Drive
Jasper, Alberta T0E 1E0
Ph: +1 780 852 5595
Fax: +1 780 852 3127
Visa: Australians do not require a visa for stays of up to six months. Passports must be valid for the period of the intended stay.
Electricity: 110V at 60Hz using plugs with two vertical pins.
Time zone: Alberta is GMT -7.
Currency: The Canadian dollar.
International dialling code: +1.