Jasper Skyline Trail - July 1-3
I almost cancelled the trip as I called the park ranger and they told me not to bother as there's too much snow. By accident met a guy in a coffee shop in Jasper who had met a girl who had just completed it, and according to her the trail was fine with only a little bit of snow. Well, why not then. Too late to book campsites though, so would have to hope that somewhere in the woods there's a spot for my tent
Day 1. I depart at 5pm. At 8 I reached my first campsite (Little Shovel) of the trail around 8km mark. As luck would have it there is a mosquito convention at the campsite and apparently I'm the guest of honour. On the positive note the campsite is half empty so I can set up at will.
Day 2. 20 minutes after I depart the campground I hit the alpine. Mountains, snow, blue skies, marmots, it's all just as good as it gets. Soon I meet the first hiker who goes into opposite direction. He tells me the trail is all good and only one section could be a problem especially with my shoes. What a weirdo. My shoes are awesome. Over the course of the next few hours I have to cross few streams (no bridges), traverse snow fields, see a small herd of cariboo, and meet 5 people who say my shoes could be a problem on this one section called The Notch. What the fuck is wrong with my shoes?? I take them off to make sure I didn't miss a footnote that says "could be problematic if used outdoors". Nope, all good. Well, only one way to find out. I decide to go as far as I can and worst case scenario - turn around. By 3pm, 12km after the campground I reach the alpine lake at the base of The Notch. The lake is breathtaking. The wind is horrendous. The Notch... well, it looks vertical. I don't recall anyone saying anything about climbing. I try to boil water to cook lunch but wind wouldn't have it. After an hour of trying to cover the fire in a pose best described as "angry masturbating crab" i decide to press on. The Notch ended up being super sketchy what with west slippery snow where one wrong step and you are falling down, but I succeed! On the other side of the pass the wind decided to up the ante and sometimes I have to crouch to avoid being blown out. Three hours later, I reach my campground (Tekara) for the night. 25 km for the day.
Day 3. Got an early start as I still have 15km to cover before the 9hour drive home. It's all downhill to the parking spot from there, and the last 9km is a boring slog down the logging road in the forest. Can't imagine going in the opposite direction. 2 km before the parking lot I meet a medium sized black bear on the trail! All advice I read suggest backing out in the opposite direction but no way I'm walking 46 km back. 5 minutes of staring contest and bear got bored and bailed into the forest. Thank god it was a black bear and not a grizzly! I don't think I could get out of the staring contest with grizzly with clean underwear. At the parking lot I stop a car after some 10 minutes - this is a different parking spot and I need to hitch a ride to get to my car. After that I raid Jasper and eat everything that has sugar in it. Leaving town in the state of sugar emergency I drive back home, see 5 bears on the way! That's a new record.
EDIT for some reason I can only attach 5 images out of 15. I guess that would have to do.
Last edited by cwwmbm; 07-05-2017 at 02:05 PM.