We hatched a plan to head to Jasper for 1 night. This is a first for me, and I have to confess what a terrible Albertan I am. I actually had no idea that people went to Jasper to do things. For me, Jasper has always been this place that you drive through to get somewhere. If you have to stop even for gas, you need a $20 park pass, and so we have always arranged it so that we don't need to stop there. I remember staying in a hotel in Jasper as a kid on family trips, but even that was a stop on the way to somewhere. A few years ago, when I still owned Scrapbooking Fanatics, I hosted crops in Jasper. They were fun and well received, but again, we spent our time in the hotel... scrapbooking.
It wasn't until this summer that I picked up the idea that Jasper was an actual place to go. So many friends and acquaintances kept talking about their trips there, and sharing amazing pictures on Facebook. A light bulb went off, and for the first time since we went to Vancouver Island, we packed up the tent and headed off for an adventure!
We decided to stay at the Pocahontas campground and so our explorations were chosen for their proximity to our home base. We arrived at the park before we could check in at the campground, so we headed up to our first destination: Miette hot springs! There are a couple of trail heads (look at me using hiker words!) right from the hot spring's parking lot. The map I found online promised that Utopia pass was a moderate 2-3 hour hike and about 2.5 km round trip. Perfect way to get our feet wet, so to speak.
|It started off as a paved trail that went alongside the little spring. In places it was warm where it was fed by the hot springs.|
|The trail led to the old hot springs site. It was decomissioned in 1984 and now just some kinda creepy-cool ruins are left.|
|There are lots of hillsides to climb off the trail. It makes for slow going, but great exploring! I kinda thought this rock looked like it had a face. See it?|
|Isn't my kid cute? So many beautiful spots to take pictures!|
|Sadly, I found all the ways to look awkward in a photo! I was supposed to get new head shots for the magazine. We took one million pictures. I looked weird in one million and one....|
|See? She makes it look easy!|
|So many things to see! I was photographed while photographing a mushroom. And let me just give a shout out to dressing in layers. The temperature is different around every corner.|
|We are at a little bridge that crossed the creek we'd been following. From this point on, the trail is a little less trodden and a lot more steep.|
|We made it back to the trail beginning. The grownups took a little rest while our kid took off her shoes and dipped her feet in the cold mountain water.|
After a soak in the hot springs, it was time to head to the campground and get our selves set up. The campsites had a generous amount of space and the last time a bear had been spotted was almost a week prior. It was perfect! We set up, cooked supper over the fire and then headed out to the Pocahontas trail that left right from the campground. We learned that there are lots of trails in the area left over from a colliery. On the trail we saw some evidence of prior industry, but didn't explore too much as we wanted to be back at camp before the sun set. It was a fast trip back, but it gave us an idea of where we were going to start the next day.
The night was uneventful, but restless. All the little noises of the world join you in a tent! And we are old. Our camp mats are not built for old people and we will have something more suitable for next trip! Ibuprofen was part of breakfast, and the crick in my back made me wonder about a big hike day.
Following breakfast, we stopped at another point of entrance to the Pocahontas trail system and picked up right where we left off the night before. It was about a 2km loop, with lots of climbing. The views were worth it, though! All those times driving through the Jasper park I was completely unaware that there were so many people crawling around in the trees above the highway looking down on me!
|Punch bowl falls- have no idea who was crazy enough to crawl through a tunnel and over the water to stack those stones!|
|Trying to work out tent sleeping kinks.|
|Up. A whole lot of up.|
|But here is why! Too bad there was so much forest fire haze around. Even still, it was totally worth it!|
|Look. Just look, and be.|
Finished with the Pocahontas area, we headed to Jasper town, and spent an hour or so just browsing around. We originally planned to head out to Malign Canyon and find a trail there, but we were all feeling a little sore and weary and decided to walk around Beauvert Lake instead.
|See? Nothing wrong with this to look at!|
|These little guys like to drop pine cones at you and then cheekily tell you it was your fault!|
|My heart X 2....|
|Photobombing is always a good idea! I don't know who was bombing who though!|
|Everywhere is beautiful!|
|Of course, a person has to stop in Jasper Park Lodge and say hello to the domestic creatures as well!|
And there you have it! Now that we know the secret of things to do in Jasper we can't wait to go back! With a better mattress, mind.