Maligne River


The Maligne River runs through Jasper National Park in Alberta. There is nothing cute or inviting about this territory; its water is terrifying, the woods are dark and brooding, and its wildlife is red in tooth and claw. It is, however, awe-inspiring.

There were times on this trip when I was keenly aware that I was following in the footsteps of great men. The Al-Can was one of them; the confluence of the Athabasca and Maligne Rivers was another.

The Maligne River was named by the great Flemish missionary Pierre-Jean De Smet. He trekked tirelessly through the western provinces and states after the Bitterroot Salish sent repeated delegations asking for a priest. Riding horseback along the east banks of the Athabasca River, De Smet was forced to cross the mouth of the river. Half-drowned packhorses and ruined packs cemented the reputation of ‘la riviere maligne” — the wicked river.

In 2016, my daughter Mary and I set off across Alaska and Canada on a Great White North Adventure, which you can read about starting here. We arrived in Anchorage at the beginning of September and got home in mid-October. In between, we visited every province but PEI (been there, done that), and Yukon Territory. In retrospect, it might have made more sense to do this during the summer, since Alaska and Canada threw a mess of strange weather at us.

1 in stock


Maligne River is 8X10, oil on archival canvasboard.

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