Paddling into the Rockies

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Photograph by Chris Burkard

In the mountains of Alberta, Canada, the Hall of the Gods is a narrow stretch of jagged rock faces towering above pristine Maligne Lake. This September, photographers Chris Burkard and Jeff Spackman camped at a nearby bay hoping to catch the glacial landscape at first light.

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“We’ve never seen early morning photos of that spot,” says Burkard. “I wanted to cross it off my bucket list.”

They rose before dawn and kayaked for three hours in darkness to Spirit Island, an ideal vantage point from which to capture the Hall of the Gods to the south.

“You come around one bend and it’s like the mountains just go straight up on all sides,” says Spackman. “I don’t think it’s possible to properly capture how you feel in a place like that. Seeing the sun come up and the shadows move. Feeling the cold water as you’re paddling. Amazing, breathtaking – those words don’t even describe it.”

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