Tuesday September 11, 2018 – approx. 124 km today – approx. 11.370 km total
When I woke up this morning, it was quite cold. So I really enjoyed the hot shower on the Whistlers campground – even though I had to walk quite a while for it. The campground was huge and there was only one shower building.
After breakfast, I drove into the town of Jasper and directly to the visitors center. As usual, I got valuable information about what to do in the region. My first destination was the Maligne Lake. The drive there would take about an hour and so I started going. Just after leaving the town of Jasper, a lot of cars and people were on the road again on the same spot than yesterday shortly after the spot where I had seen the elks. A black bear had shown up again which was there yesterday already. However, it was really far at the tree line on the other side of the road and I could not see it. On the other hand it did not bother me that much: I had seen black bears and even grizzlys much closer than this one here. However, I chatted a bit with one of the other tourists and eventually continued my drive towards Maligne Lake.
Shortly after leaving the major highway, the road towards Maligne Lake passed Maligne Canyon and I stopped there to take a short walk along the well-prepared trail. My yesterday’s impression when entering the national park intensified today: Even though the season was coming to an end, the park was still crowded. The parking lots were almost full and on the trails there were a lot of people. I was greeting someone and received greetings basically every couple of seconds. This and the amazing infrastructure efforts somehow destroyed the feeling of being out there in the nature. And as with the black bear back there on the highway, people here were completely crazy about a single animal somewhere far away in the bushes while further north in the Yukon and in Alaska one could watch bears and other animals from a much closer distance…
The Maligne Canyon was beautiful, but also nothing that would beat what I had seen on my roadtrip so far. On my further way to the Maligne Lake, I also passed the Medicine Lake but since the parking lot was quite crowded there, I decided to give it a try on my way back.
At Maligne Lake, I parked my car – again on a completely crowded parking lot – and started walking along one of the trails following the shoreline of the lake. It was a nice walk with some beautiful view of the lake – but again, it was nothing that could top my so far experiences. When the trail turned away from the lake and into the woods, I turned around and went the same way back to my car.
In the meantime it was already noon and I decided to have lunch on one of the benches at the shoreline of the lake. Lukily, I finished my lunch before it starting raining a bit and since I did not expect the other trails around the lake to be that much different from the one I just walked along a bit, I returned to my car and started to drive back to Jasper.
On the way, I stopped a couple of times for taking pictures – especially at the Medicine Lake and eventually reached the town of Jasper again. From there, I directly continued to the Patricia and Pyramid Lakes north of town. There, I decided to take a longer walk and went up the hill on one of the designated trails. The trail climed up quite steep and after a while, I doubted if that was worth it. But asking some other tourists on their way back, I got the confirmation that it was and so I continued. And indeed: Just a bit later, the trail reached a little plateau from where I had a wonderful view on the two lakes and even the town of Jasper.
From the plateau, the trail led into the woods again and took a long detour on its way back to the parking lot at the shoreline of the lakes. When reaching the road again, I spontaneously decided to walk over to the little island in the Pyramid Lake on another short trail. When I reached the island, it started to rain quite heavily and I had to take shelter for a while. But lukily it was just a short shower and once it was over, I could walk a bit around the little island and take some pictures of the lake and even the mountains beyond it.
In the meantime, it was evening already. I drove back to town and shortly went into the local supermarket and the gas station to buy salad kits for the next days and fill up my car. Surprisingly, the gas was quite cheap here! I then decided to give the third short hike to the Old Fort Point at least a try – and I was completely right with that: From the parking lot the trail climed up steep until reaching a huge rock. From atop, I had an even more beautiful view to Jasper and the valley then from the longer hike I had just completed. There was even a rainbow showing up and the entire scenery with the rain clouds and the sun beams through them was quite beautiful.
Eventually, I decided to stop it for today and drove to the Wapiti campground just a couple of kilometers further down the Icefield Parkway. There, I prepared dinner and got myself ready for the night.
(Again, I currently do have problems with uploading my pictures. So they will be added at a later point in time.)