Thursday, January 8, 2015

Strange Medicine in Jasper

Rating: ****

Alberta’s white water paddlers attack a once in a generation rapid called the Excalibur.

For decades, park Wardens and academics have been trying to figure out where the water from Jasper Park’s Medicine Lake drains to in the spring. We already know that it works in a karst system, a system of caverns that is formed when the water dissolves soluble bedrock. Every once in a generation, though, Medicine Lake gets overflowed, that brings the reawakening of the legendary Excalibur rapid. The last time this rapid was paddleable was 1992. In the summer of 2012 the rapid flowed for a full five weeks. Two 17 year olds, Zac Ruttiman and Ethan Begley were eager to try the Excalibur. They figured it was a once in a lifetime opportunity so they had to go all out. They had no idea how long the rapid would last. By the end of it, they said they had the biggest smile on their face ever while kayaking. With the climate change expected to increase in Jasper Park, the Excalibur could return more frequently in the future.

It’s very cool how lakes, in the spring time, can turn into a huge rapid like that. I’ve read many articles now on white water kayaking and each article that I read; I want to try white water kayaking more and more. It looks like a very fun thing to do so it is definitely something that I will do one day.


Habib, Lucas. Strange Medicine in Jasper. Explore: Fall 2013. (pg 19) 

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