Canadas Homeschool Alberta 4.2 Winter : Page 3

ON THE COVER Jasper Lake Miles of Sand and Exploration Every spring our family ventures to Jasper National Park for our annual ski trip. We love both cross country and downhill skiing and have been skiing with our three girls (Danielle 9, Erica 7 and Evelyn 5) since they were all very small. It is a four and a half hour drive so pit stops enroute are a necessity. A favorite stop for the kids to stretch their legs is Jasper Lake (in Jasper National Park). It is easily accessible from a highway pull-off alongside the TransCanada (Yellowhead) Highway. When the kids sink past their ankles, it is difficult for them to escape without the help of a parent or the use of some terrific agility. The girls could stay out there for hours experimenting with what we call, “the sinking sand”. They run around trying to find the best places and see who can sink the furthest. When the cover photo was taken the girls were looking at their reflection in the crystal clear thin layer of water at their feet. There was no wind to push the water the day we were there. They were also interested in how their reflection changed when they rippled the water with their fingers or with their breath. There are few puddles of water on the lake bed, but when we come upon one, the water is so incredibly still it is fascinating. Sections of the mountains reflect as perfect as a mirror. Jasper Lake is fed by the Athabasca River which is fed by mountain run-off water in spring and summer. However, from about October to May, when there is no run off Jasper Lake is only a lake bed of glacial sand. At the edges of the lake bed, the sand is firm and compact. It is a perfect place to find a stick and write letters, names or messages. The kids also try to find animal tracks along the edges of the lake bed. This is one of the few places our three kids can all run different directions and not get lost. They just get real dirty! It isn’t long before the sticks are tossed aside and we have a mad dash towards the centre. For the kids, the centre is the coolest spot. As you walk towards the centre the lake bed softens beneath your feet. You cannot see, hear or touch the water you can only feel it under the weight of your body. For beneath the sand surface lies a high water table waiting to break through. Their weight and body movement allows the water to break through the sand. The more they wiggle, the further they sink. It looks and acts similar to quicksand, but there is no danger! It is interesting, of all the times we have stopped we have never shared this vast space with any other people. The sand stretches further then your eyes can see one way and about one and a half kilometres the other way. such a great place for adventure, fun and learning. It is One of the things that make skiing so enjoyable is simply being outside -whether it is on the ski hill or just taking nature walks with our girls. We don’t need to venture very far to find something to explore or learn about in nature. I hope this family time together is one of the memories my girls cherish throughout their lives. I know they are my favourite. If you search for Jasper Lake on Google Earth, you will see Jasper Lake filled with water, in summer. Take note of where the Athabasca River widens to make Jasper Lake. The TransCanada Highway is on one side and the Canadian Pacific Railway on the other. Jasper Lake in winter, it’s simply, magnificent! Have fun. Teach always. Janet Kath Sherwood Park, Alberta WINTER 2008 ISSUE 3

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