Well, I guess it is officially summer now – and with that warm feeling of coziness and clear skies all day – I had decided to head up to Jasper for the famous Skyline Trail.
Booking a campsite on this trail is a bit tricky, the spots fill up quite quickly but we were able to secure two nights in two campsites along the trail. With reservations in hand, we left Calgary on Friday at 7am hoping to be on the trailhead by 3pm. With darker clouds and not-so-blue skies, the road to Jasper through #93 was mostly wet (and beautiful).
Our plan was to start the Skyline Trail (44km) from Maligne Lake -> Maligne Canyon, which is substantially easier since the elevation gain is quite smaller. We parked the car the end of the trail (Maligne Canyon) and got to the crux of the trek right away: hitchhiking to the trailhead about 50km up the road.
5..10..15..20.. cars passed and we had no luck. With the rain coming down harder on us, we started wondering if anyone would pick us up… luckily, a fellow hiker coming down the Signal Fire Road gave us a lift all the way to Maligne Lake, and then drove back. She completely went out of her way to help us out – so, if you are reading this, THANK YOU.
It was about 4pm when we started our 9km trek to the first campsite – rain was coming down at a steady pace, but we felt strong and alive as ever to be slowly getting up to the alpine meadows. The first night was uneventful and warm (thanks for the tent, Phil). It rained quite hard that night, making most of our gear not-so-dry, but our moods were up in the sky and we just all agreed that further down the trail was gonna be +35C and lemonade stands waiting for us.
Our longest and most eventful day was Saturday, passing through three mountain passes (Little Shovel, Big Shovel, and The Notch) was absolutely gorgeous, and it taught me what a Marmot is (new word for my Canadian language dictionary/animal book). These passes offered a bit of everything for my taste: alpine meadows, scree slopes, rocky slopes, big peaks… you name it. The crux of the trek was going to be going up The Notch, and as expected, the cornice is huge as always but easily avoidable by staying to the right of it.
The second night was rewarding and humbling, after a long day by foot carrying heavy gear – we set up tent and managed to cook some spaghetti using the smallest jetboil setting in the world – made me really consider opening an Italian restaurant someday.
Overall, the Skyline is an incredible hike that goes through various terrains – even though it can be done in a day, I’d highly recommend taking your time and breathing in all the amazing scenery this place has to offer over a few days.
I’m not entirely sure how to add pictures to this post, but I’ve uploaded a few in my personal Instagram account if you’d like to take a look: @thatforeigndude