Canada – Skyline Trail 2012

28th August Skyline Trail near Jasper

The Skyline trail is a short 45km hike that stays high up on the ridges east of Jasper and is very popular. We managed to book one camping spot on the trail and went for a two day hike near the end of our Canadian holiday.

Day 1 28th August 2012 With a stack of 5 pancakes for breakfast in Jasper we felt like we were well fueled to keep hiking all day! After packing up we drove to the end of the trail where we left the car. Whilst Brian was still rummaging around with gear in the car, Martina had already secured a lift in about 2 minutes! It was an RV rented by a friendly English family from London with 3 kids and we had a fun 40km drive up to Maligne Lake. Its a bit of a tourist spot here so we gladly headed out quickly onto the trail to start at about noon.

Maligne Lake

The first hour or so in lodgepole pine forest was a little dull (after our wonderful previous hike to the south) but we soon emerged out onto Little Shovel Pass for some views under a leaden sky. Walked through meadows with light rain we noticed that the flowers were fading a bit now into early autumn. By Big Shovel Pass the views improved and we crossed bare shale slopes before dropping down to Curator campsite after 5 hours of easy walking. Martina looked very mountainous with her pink flip flops attached to one side of her backpack and a bottle of red wine to the other!!

Big Shovel Pass
Communal bear bag hanging at Curator Campsite

Although the hiking today was fine, given how hyped the trail is, we were slightly disappointed today so were looking forward and hoping for better trails tomorrow.

Met lots of interesting people in camp. ‘Brooks’ had done some of the CDT this year and had heard of us as we appear in Yogi’s guide to the trail- its a small world indeed! A couple from Oklahoma showed us their homemade 2 person quilt made to a Ray Jardine design. Other interesting folks from BC as well.

Day 2 29th August 2012 It rained overnight and we slept in with the rain battering the tent in the morning. Left camp at 10:15 wearing all our clothes in the cold damp weather. A pleasant climb up to the ‘Notch’ pass warmed us up though with partial views all round. We have a chat with a couple from Oklahoma at the top then speed off along a windy ridge to keep warm. This is the Amber Ridge, a 5km viewful undulating hike along a ridge crest but unfortunately we were in mist and rain here so just kept going.

At Signal campground we dropped down onto a fire road and into the trees before reaching our car at the northern trailhead to give a Belgian hiker a ride back into Jasper town. Tomorrow we are off to some Hot Springs to chill out!

North of Curator Pass
Descending and looking to Athabasca valley

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