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Jasper Park Lodge In Alberta, Canada

The ladies from Boston walked into the hotel lobby and said, "We just soar faw mooses right outside ow daw." Which translated means, "We just saw four moose right outside our door," and was enough to get me to stand up and go out for a look. This was a couple of weeks ago when I concluded a trip to Alberta, Canada with a visit to the glorious Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge resort in the Canadian Rockies. If this hotel could talk, it would say "pretty nice, eh?" to describe its varnished-log cabins and lodges set among tall fir trees and surrounded by craggy mountain peaks.

Well, they were elk, not moose, but who cares? They were indeed outside the door, and like me, weren't in any hurry to leave. How many hotels can you name where seven-foot-tall, 600-pound animals roam freely around the property (and no, Shaquille O'Neal doesn't count)? The elk graze on the hotel grounds and saunter around the golf course, flocks of geese waddle around the shores of lovely Lac Beauvert, a glacial blue-green oval of water that fronts the hotel, and a coyote pup was pouncing and playing in a field off of the third fairway as I was playing golf. If I wasn't so busy hitting the two million sand bunkers on the course, I would have applauded. I didn't see bears on this visit, but every outdoor trash can was bear-proofed with heavy, metal latches and lids, which suggests that the bears are lurking around, waiting for the ladies from Boston to drop their sandwiches and scones and run.

Pretty nice, eh? Outside of Yellowstone National Park, where buffalo and elk roam freely, I don't think I've ever seen wildlife integrated with tourism as gracefully as they do it in Canada. Have you ever seen anything like it?

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