Welcome to Jasper – land of a thousand amazing hikes. There were so many gorgeous trails I explored while there for eight days.
1. Whistlers was rewarding at the top – with a view of the Jasper town site below the clouds. Too bad the trail was so muddy and flooded and the mosquitos were the worst I had seen the entire summer, oh wait…and there was a townsite below? I think I saw it through glimpses of the rain clouds that pestered us the entire hike. Oh yes, and then the ice pellets that started pelting us at the peak of the mountain…
2. The Valley of the Five Lakes was packed full of tourists and rewarded us with spectacular views of five very unique and stunning lakes. This is a hike that I would do every summer, as a warm up for some of the more intense trails.
3. Wabasso Lake was also a great warm up with a few pretty ponds full of duck and beaver (well beaver dams anyway).
4. Palisade Lookout was one hike that I left incomplete. It was an extremely hot morning, with little shade to help me out, and ONLY a few sips of coffee to start my day off. Once my mosquito bite count went past the 15 mark, I gave up and dragged my boyfriend back to the car. Whoops – bug spray and coffee next time.
The one hike that knocked all of these others out of the park (national park, that is), was the hike associated with the always popular, Miette Hot Springs – Sulphur Skyline. It was recommended to us by our waitress from Prime Rib Village the night before. Her brilliant idea was for us to complete this hike, then take a dip in the hot springs afterward as a reward. Sounded perfect!
The trail sign recommended 4-5 hours to complete 8km, with an elevation gain of 700m (2,300 feet). We accomplished this feat in just under 2 hours, as per our crazy determination to not only beat the recommendations, but to ensure that not one person could pass us. And they didn’t!
So we set out and the hike started uphill, then got a bit steep, then climbed a bit steeper uphill, and when you turned every corner, yet some more uphill…but once we broke the tree line and continued to the very top, it became veeery steep!
So we went. Up the very steep and loose shale (many people stopped here and therefore missed out on the BEST and most rewarding part), theeeee viewwwwww. Check it out! Please excuse my boyfriend snapping off shots in this video – this camera was attached to his body 24/7:
After practically running up the entire side of this mountain to escape the mosquitos, I felt that this was one of the most rewarding endings to a challenging journey. This song popped into my head as I arrived at the summit: