Monday, 11 March 2013

28th August Skyline Trail near Jasper

View Skyline Trail in a larger map

 The Skyline trail is a short 45km hike in the hills east of Jasper and is very popular. We managed to book one camping spot on the trail and went for a two day hike near the end of our Canadian holiday.

Day 1 28th August 2012 With a stack of 5 pancakes for breakfast in Jasper we felt like we were well fuelled to keep hiking all day! Packed up and drove to the end of the trail where we left the car with the aim of hitching up to the start.

Whilst Brian was still rumaging around with gear in the car, Martina had already secured a lift in about 2 minutes! It was an RV rented by a friendly English family from London with 3 kids and we had a fun 40km drive up to Maligne Lake. Its a bit of a tourist spot here so we gladly headed out quickly onto the trail to start at about noon. The first hour or so in lodgepole pine forest was a little dull but we soon emerged out onto Little Shovel Pass for some views under a leaden sky. Walked through meadows with the flowers fading a bit now into early autumn and light rain. By Big Shovel Pass the views were better though and we crossed bare shale slopes before dropping down to Curator campsite after 5 hours of easy walking. Martina looked very mountainous with her pink flip flops attached to one side of her backpack and a bottle of red wine to the other!!

Considering the trail had been heralded as one of the best in North America it was a little disappointing today. Maybe we had been spoilt by the brilliant hiking we had done in the previous 3 weeks. Met lots of other interesting hikers in camp.

Maligne Lake

Big Shovel Pass

Curator Campsite with food hanging poles

Day 2 29th August 2012 It rained overnight and we slept in with the rain battering the tent in the morning. Left camp at 10:15 wearing all our clothes in the cold damp weather. A pleasant climb up to the 'Notch' pass warms us up though with partial views all round. We have a chat with a couple from Oklahoma at the top then speed off along a windy ridge to keep warm. This is the Amber Ridge, a 5km viewful undulating hike along a ridge crest but unfortunately we were in mist and rain here so just kept going.

On dropping off the ridge to the east we spot some bighorn sheep above us. Its still cold and wet so we keep hiking round to Signal mountain and then descend down and down towards the road. A cunning short cut down some mountain bike trails didn't work out for us as we got a bit lost and had to hike a little back up hill to find the car again. Give a Belgian hiker a lift back into Jasper and return to the campsite here for a big evening meal. Jasper is a cool place but it does seem to have a less welcoming climate than the likes of Banff or Canmore further south.

Near the Notch

Snow on the the Notch

Looking north past Signal Mountain

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