Maligne Lake is about a 40 minute drive from Jasper. Through some winding mountain roads and around Medicine Lake, Maligne is quiet, secluded, and more serene, if not as surreally hued, as Lake Louise. I parked the Jeep and walked along the eastern shore to find a place to sit and watch the sunset. The shore was mostly devoid of any other people. I wound up at the Maligne Lake boathouse where some attendants were closing up for the day. When they had left, I hopped up on to dock where a row of jewel toned, upturned canoes rested like a pack of Skittles slowly melting into one solid glob in the sun.
I poked around a bit and discovered a weathered antique leather chair in the boathouse. I pulled it out on to the dock to watch the sunset in retro style. As I sat ensconced in the rust and teal colored leather and the sun crept closer to the trees across the lake, dark clouds rolled in over the mountains to the east. As they crested the mountains, they seemed to linger as if a black sheep with its wool snagged on the jagged peaks. A vivid rainbow, backdropped by a faint echo of itself, materialized and split the sky between light and dark like a meteorologic prism.
I feared it would rain and ruin the show, but the ominous clouds passed without incident. I spent the rest of the remaining daylight on the dock accompanied only by the sound of waves slapping against the metallic hulls of row boats and the creaking of wood. After the sun fell below the mountains, I drove back over to Medicine Lake to catch the dramatic colors of the last minutes of sun.
That evening, I found my way back to the town of Jasper and stopped by a local bar, the Whistle Stop Pub. I had only planned on having one drink before finding a place to sleep that night. I found myself speaking to a fellow named Ryan who told me he owned a trucking company and was on the way down to Vancouver from Great Plains, Alberta. Ryan decided it was too quiet that night decided to buy everyone in the bar two rounds of drinks. Oddly, he only finished one beer and left while everyone else drank on his tab (which ended up being ~$500 after his first credit card was declined). Random acts of kindness? Afterward, I slept in the back of the Jeep in a remote parking lot and prepared myself for the drive back to Banff the next day.