Banff, Yoho and Jasper

It’s been two weeks of the Canadian Rockies, but it does not seem that long. There has been a lot of weather to contend with; high temps, rain, snow and freezing temps. It’s July, right? I spent one night at the Waterfowl Campsite off the Icefield Parkway in two pairs of socks, sweats, shorts, a long sleeve tech tee, a short-sleeved tee, a down jacket, a hoodie, a rain shell, a hat and gloves. I stayed pretty warm through the night – mostly! When I hopped in the car to head up to Jasper a few hours later it was 40 degrees, and I had been walking around in without a jacket! I think I might be adjusting to the cold… Did I ask if it was July? It’s July, right?

So – I started in Banff at Lake Louise, worked my way over to Yoho at Takakkaw Falls then came back down to Banff at Johnston Canyon and Two Jack Main for a few days before leaving for Jasper at Whistler’s. I spent one night at Waterfowl on the Parkway on the way up to Jasper.

I’ve got about 12 hikes under my belt with the stand-out hikes being delivered by Yoho: Whaleback at 21k with a 700 m gain and the Iceline Trail at 18k and a 710 m gain. Both were outstanding, offering diverse landscape and AWESOME views!

Twin Falls in all its delicate power
Twin Falls in all its delicate power
Coming off the Whaleback
Coming off the Whaleback

Another great hike was a short one to Peyto Lake. After you get off the beaten track – which they encourage – you get some really great views of a stunning lake.

Hikers take in the views at Peyto Lake
Hikers take in the views at Peyto Lake

Lake Louise to Lake Agnes to the Big Beehive to the Plain of Six Glaciers was a fun hike, too. Any hike that offers 2 Chalets where you gan get CHOCOLATE CAKE and chai cardamom tea while hiking …well,duh.

Lake Agnes in early July
Lake Agnes in early July

Most of the wildlife I’ve seen has been in Jasper with the lone exception being a bighorn sheep walking across a bridge near Lake Winnewanka in Banff. Today I saw very large elk on the way to hike the Sulfur Skyline (8k total, 700 m gain) and tons of sheep in the parking lot afterward. I had to weave my way through the herd to head up the to Miette Hot Springs for a soak after the hike. Rough, I tell you, rough.

The things I’ve learned so far:

1. I packed a good variety of food. The dehydrator is worth its weight in gold. That has enabled me to eat healthy, cheap and easy. Plus, everything has been tasty!

Padron peppers make the meal
Padron peppers make the meal

1a. My portions are off. I figured I’d be more hungry, but the exercise has decreased my appetite. I’m glad I have the cooler to keep leftovers.

2. Melinda was right. Pineapple is the FREAKING best. (sorry Mom) I had to fight some Edmontoners to keep them out of my stash!

2a. I dehydrated 2 types of pineapple: store-bought rounds and one that I cut up myself. The one I cut up myself wins hands down. Not even a contest. Next time I’ll dehydrate at least 5! Not even kidding.

3. Bring more long soft pants. Layers. Layers. Layers.

4. You need Deet out here. These mosquitoes are nuts.

5. I get some wicked hat hair.

I don’t feel like I’ll ever have enough time in Jasper. The town itself is pretty fun, but the park….man… This is one heck of a place. I was toying with staying in Jasper a bit longer. I lots some days to some inhospitable weather, but I think I need to get moving on. That way I can save some for when Em and I come back here. 🙂

A sheep uses a bumper to scratch an itch
A sheep uses a bumper to scratch an itch
Grizzley bears are actively hunting elk calves in the campground. WHAT!
Grizzley bears are actively hunting elk calves in the campground. WHAT!

I’m thinking the next stop will be just south of Banff in the Mt. Assiniboine area or the Bow Valley Provincial Park area. Give Canmore a look. Then I’ll try for some time in the Bugaboos and then head east to Dinosaur Provincial Park. From there I’m planning on heading south to Waterton Lakes. Then into MT and Glacier NP. All plans are subject to change!

I’ll post some pictures when I get a chance! Stay tuned!

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