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The origin of the name of the Mistaya River comes from the Cree language: ᒥᐢᑕᐦᐊᔭ (mistahaya), which means ‘grizzly bear’.

Along the Mistaya River, you will find the Waterfowl Lakes, which are a series of 3 beautiful lakes that are named for the large number of birds that live and migrate through this area.

Towering above the area is 3,266 m (10,715 ft) Mount Chephren, a pyramid-shaped mountain, which is one of the tallest and most photographed mountains along the southern part of the Icefields Parkway.

It is named after the great Egyptian pharaoh Chephren (Khafre in ancient Egyptian) who he built the second of the three Pyramids of Giza. It is also believed that the Great Sphinx was built during his reign.

He succeeded his father Khufu who built the Great Pyramid and his son Menkaure built the Third Pyramid, all of which happened during a time that was considered the golden age of Ancient Egypt.

The name Chephren was suggested by J. Monroe Thorington, a legendary mountaineer in the history of Banff National Park and author of the most famous book published in 1925 about the Canadian Rockies called The Glittering Mountains of Canada.

Thorington had a lifelong fascination with Egyptology and Egyptian mysticism. He did 52 first ascents in the Rockies and Selkirk Mountains. Many of the names of peaks and lakes suggested by him were accepted by the Geographic Board of Canada, including Egypt Lake and Pharaoh Peak.

Photo Credit: Hop Phan (Wikimedia Commons)

Kyle Pearce

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