If you missed it, the day before this I hiked Sulphur Skyline and then spent the night at Pocahontas campground, east of Jasper! On Sunday morning I was awake before 6am but lay in my tent until about 6:15am. I tried to be extra quiet as I packed up my tent and hit the road to Jasper to grab breakfast. I headed to my favourite spot – Bear’s Paw Bakery – to grab a veggie egg white breakfast sandwich and coffee. I also picked up a blackberry scone to enjoy on the hike with some fruit! Breakfast in hand, I was back on the road to head to the Maligne Lake area, about 45-60 minutes south of Jasper.
I had never been to Maligne Lake before, only ever have explored Maligne Canyon last summer, so it was cool to adventure to a new-to-me location! I had planned to do Bald Hills as my hike for the morning so I drove to the furthest parking lot and was on the trail by 8:30am. I am always hesitant about doing new hikes by myself. I haven’t practiced a ton of orienteering so the thought of getting lost on a mountain terrifies me. One thing that is the best for reassuring me is using the Canada Trails GPS app. You don’t need service or data or wireless (which is good because I didn’t have any of those for 80% of the weekend) and it tracks your GPS coordinates along almost ALL trails in Canada! I try not to pull out my phone to use it because for me it’s not about seeing how far I have to go, it’s just nice to double check that I’m on the right path when I second guess myself!
Luckily, this trail is incredibly easy to follow and when you get about 70% of the way there it kind of feels like you hit an adult playground. You can see little zig-zagging trails all the way around you, heading up little summits and along ridges, and it’s like a cool mountain scavenger hunt for adults. You are never on the edge of a cliff and it’s not technical or mountain climbing in anyway, it’s just plain FUN. I headed to the furthest peak I could find and I had the whole summit to myself where I enjoyed my blackberry scone, lots of water, and fruit.
You can see the incredible blue of Maligne Lake below and it’s even more beautiful from above. It is very reminiscent of Lake Louise – a gorgeous mountain lake that attracts lots of tour buses full of people who hang out near the shore, but to get the real experience, you take a quick hike up Bald Hills and are alone with this beauty. It took me about 2 hours to get to this part and along the way I met Damian, a guy from France who is touring around the world for a year and told me I was the fastest girl hiker he had met hahaha!
As you can tell, there was a bit of snow leftover on this hike and I was ankle deep trudging through a bit of the quickly-melting snow near the top, but I couldn’t have asked for a better day. Jasper ended up reaching close to 30C and the sun illuminated the snow capped peaks. It reinvigorated every part of me and when I was sitting at the top I thought, “Yup, this is why I was suppose to be there this weekend.”
This time, unlike Sulphur Skyline the day before, I did run down the mountain. Well, half of it. I took my time descending the upper part of the trail because it’s super steep and there are lots of rocks and tree roots so in an effort not to break my ankle or leg and have to somehow get myself off the mountain solo, I walked. Once I hit the wider trail (I think it used to be a fire road), I ran my little heart out. Two days of hiking and my glutes were firing on all cylinders but it felt good to just run down the mountain!
I was back to my car by noon. About 12km and 2000ft of elevation gain later, and I was ready to saunter around Maligne Lake, then head to Jasper before I hit the road home. After having the entire day to play on the mountain almost by myself, I got easily frustrated with people at the shore of Maligne Lake, so I figured I would save the easy hikes and boat cruise for another day, perhaps when I drag someone along for the journey, and headed to Jasper.
Considering I completely failed at making s’mores while I was camping – I actually didn’t even end up having a fire – I decided to get my s’mores fix another way. Jasper was hot hot hot Sunday afternoon when I rolled in so I headed straight for ice cream. I can’t actually remember the last time I’d had a waffle cone, so it was definitely needed! S’mores ice cream in a chocolate dipped cone. YUM!
Another incredible day in the mountains and it made for one pretty flipping fantastic weekend. There is a completely sense of holistic healing, reinvigorating, and re-energizing that happens when you hike in the mountains. Physically, you are pushing yourself to be stronger and sweat and work hard. Mentally you are proving to yourself you can do hard things and you are putting small issues you’ve been thinking about into a big picture scheme and realizing how little they are. Emotionally, you are becoming clear on what you are feeling and why. Spiritually… um, hello, did you see where I was? If this isn’t the Universe letting you know, “HEY, HOW UNREAL IS THIS WORLD?” then I don’t know what is!
Where do you find your grounding, your whole health?
When is the last time you’ve had ice cream?! What is your favourite flavour?
Who is coming camping with me next? 😉