One of the most interesting things about Medicine Lake in Jasper National Park Alberta, is that it isn’t a typical mountain lake in the normal sense. It is a geological phenomenon where during summer months, glacial melt waters along with the Maligne River, flood the “lake” to the splendor that most visitors experience during the busy summer months of the peak tourist season.
As the fall and winter seasons approach and the melt waters are reduced, the water levels disappear leaving behind a giant mud flat with a select few streams and scattered pools of water. The Aboriginals or First Nations people named the lake “Medicine” because of it mysterious “magical” powers. In actuality, beneath the lake surface lies one of the most extensive and longest drainage systems in the country and could very well be one of the largest inaccessible cave systems in the world! Through sink holes, the water drains into this under ground cave system ( disappearing ) eventually resurfacing to flow into the Maligne Canyon and emptying into the Athabasca River. As winter comes to an end and Spring and Summer months approach, the flowing volumes of glacial melt water overcomes the capacity of this drainage system once again filling the “lake” to begin it’s cycle once again.
On a chilly mid November morning in 2011, I was fortunate enough to explore the frozen mud flats with enough time to make a few images before the mud began to get soft and, well… just simply messy. Needless to say I was several inches taller by the time I made my way back to my vehicle and the next 10 minutes were spent removing the mud/clay that had accumulated on the bottom of my boots.
MEDICINE LAKE in November : Prints Available – Nikon D3s, Nikon 24-70 mm f/2.8, 2 exposure HDR @ f/16, B&W Conversion-Silver efex-Pro, ISO 100, Singh Ray 2 stop hard graduated ND, Singh Ray LB polarizer, tripod
It’s always worth spending at least a day traveling and exploring up and down the Maligne Lake road between Medicine Lake and Maligne Lake. A new adventure awaits! Please click on the images for a larger view.
Thanks for visiting!
Until next time…