Jasper National Park – Take 1

I am quite excited that I know so many people and that means we are going to see Jasper National Park twice. Tonight’s guest blog post has been submitted by a young woman whom I have known for her entire life. Jaclyn is the youngest daughter of one of my Twisted Soul Sister nursing friends. Interestingly enough she grew up and went into nursing as well. This petite blond is full of energy and lives life to the fullest. She does a good job on her bio about what inspired her to see a National Park for Canada 150.

 

Jasper – In my backyard but not crossed off the bucket list… until now.

Exposure to travel and the outdoors from a young age meant the travel bug was latched onto me and steering my life towards parts unknown.

In my early 20’s I spent my days  working as a casual Registered Nurse and saving to chase that travel bug through 21 countries with a bucket list that read more like an atlas.

Travel became more than just a hobby to me but as oddly as this may sound one of my favourite parts of travel is not just immersing myself in the country I am visiting, taking in all the experiences and opportunities, but also coming home. There is just nothing like home. After spending most of my travels overseas, I figured it was about time I spent some time exploring my home country.

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Living in Calgary has allowed me quick access to Canmore and Banff area but it took a friend planning a last minute trip from out east to the mountains to get out to the mindset being used in this sentence “I should really go out to Jasper, it looks amazing”.

It was a short but very fulfilling and jam packed trip spanning over three days. I am a big believer in making the most out of my time wherever I go but long drives and time constraints can make the temptation of rest overshadow the energy of exploring. Luckily, the views in Jasper National Park held an energy of their own that ignited ours, making it easier to say “yes”.

Day 1 | Saturday

We drove from Edmonton and upon entering the Park immediately made our way to Malinge Canyon. Bear spray and water in hand we headed onto the well-marked trail. To say the least this was a great walking hike! The atmosphere of the park just encompasses you with a renewed sense of self and balance. Then we arrived at the canyon and falls – wow. The pure force and energy coming off the rushing water was incredible! Although a bit tourist filled (it is busy season after all) I would recommend this and return myself.

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Jasper JH 4Unfortunately after a few hours here that’s all we had time for and we headed to find dinner at Evil Dave’s restaurant (great meal after a long day) and then to our room for the night.

Last minute I had found a great local family to stay with set up like an air bnb. The accommodations were awesome and the local family helped us plan the rest of days! Whenever I’m traveling I find connecting with locals is a great way to get the in’s and outs of where you are visiting.

Day 2 | Sunday

Sunday started off a bit smokey and dreary. The mix of the smoke and grey clouds provided a somber but calming start to our day. We started off fueling with some great eats from the Bear’s Paw Bakery- so delicious we went back later that day and Monday morning.

En route to Malinge Lake we were fortunate to come across a bear enjoying some morning berries. We stayed a safe distance in our vehicle with the windows up!

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Once at Malinge Lake we took the boat tour out to Spirit Island. Unfortunately due to the smoke and weather the views were tough to see but the Spirit Island was beautiful! Never one to let rain stand in the way we were the last two back to the boat using all the allotted time to take in Spirit Island.  I would recommend this tour and on a beautiful sunny day you could spend most of your day out here on the trails and at the lake.

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We headed back to town to meet up with our friend who drove from Calgary. We took time to walk around and enjoy the town of Jasper. We stopped for fantastic sandwiches at Patricia Street Deli – one of my favourite eats on the trip.

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There’s sulphur in the air! Miette hot springs provided us with much appreciated relaxation and mountain views. There are a couple great hikes around here but due to smoky skies and dwindling time we opted for the short walk to the original facility site. The path follows a stream as your nose fills with the stench of sulphur and bright yellow sulphur can be spotted in a designated area near the old facility. Originally used in the 1800’s by Canada’s Indigenous population it has evolved over the years from a bath site to a tourist hot spot and remains a sought after destination.

Jasper JH 10The hot springs boasts 4 pools – one icy cold, one cool, one warm and one hot. Jumping in from the icy cold to the hot one was so refreshing!

Our day finished with a meal and drink at Downstream restaurant – great Miso bites!

Day 3 | Monday

Valley of Five Lakes hike was first on the agenda. These enchanting lakes look like they are out of a story book. The simple yet complex beauty was simply breathtaking. I could have spent hours at these lakes. The serenity had an immense mediating and calming effect.

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Jasper JH 12Each lake had its own unique blue green colouring that was truly captivating. If I dare say a bit too captivating as we took a couple wrong turns and our 1 hour hike turned into just over a 2 hour hike. But with each wrong turn life presents a silver lining – and that would be some of the incredible views and photo ops we got!

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We finished our hike and continued along the parkway making our way to the Athabasca Glacier. I have never seen a glacier before so for me it was incredible. It was also incredibly busy at the interpretive centre- book in advance if you plan to the Skywalk or Glacier Adventure (we had opted not to do these tours prior to arriving due to various factors)

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It is very humbling to stand in the presence of something thousands of years old. I have always found the earth quite fascinating in all that it endures and the changes it has experienced throughout its existence. To know that this is just one of the “toes” of the much larger Columbia Icefield is almost unfathomable. I would recommend coming out here if given the chance. It is a beautiful drive with lots to see and learn.

We finished our trip through the Rockies with a stop at both Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. I had never spent time at either lake during the summer so it was great to see the contrast compared to the winter months.

 

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Conclusion

We may have hit a few obstacles along the way including the smoky skies and weather, but no adventure would be as fun if everything went as planned, right? I find the ups and downs are what make the trip truly an adventure and having great friends along for the ride makes it that much more fun. Travel will always be a big part of my life and I feel so lucky to have such an amazing place just hours away from me. I will continue to explore more corners of this beautiful country in the days and years to come. This trip was very refreshing and a great reminder to say “yes” a bit more often.

Jaclyn

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Aren’t we so blessed to live in such a fabulous country full of natural beauty and friendly people! I’m so happy to be doing these feature articles about Parks Canada and the free 150 passes that have inspired Canadians to see their own back yard. 

Bernie

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