‘The world is big and I want to get a good look at it before it goes dark- John Nuir.’
Spring and Jasper seem to be a perfect match. If you’re a person who finds happiness in hiking, exploring the outdoors (and probably encountering bears and other wildlife along the way) or taking photos of the natural landscape, you’ll feel at home here.
For me, this weekend has been filled with various recreational activities, now that the sun is shining and the weather has warmed up, there’s no reason not to go exploring. It’s surprising how much you can fit into a day if you’re feeling ambitious!
Saturday began with a brunch session at Papa George’s with a few of the girls I’ve come to know. If you want a meal that is delicious and filling, you’ll want to pay Papa George’s a visit.
Anita and I picked up a hire car and proceeded to hit the road. First on the days’ agenda was a drive down Highway 93 (Icefield Parkway) to hike around the Valley of the Five Lakes. The hike can be done on foot or if you want to challenge yourself, mountain bike your way around the trail. On foot, it takes roughly 1.5/2 hours return and other than a few small inclines, the trail is relatively easy to hike.
During our stroll around the five lakes, Anita and I were lucky enough to encounter a black bear. By encounter, I mean Anita trying to get my attention to tell me there was a bear only 30 or so metres away from us. If that doesn’t get your heart racing, I don’t know what will!
After driving to the Jasper Skytram to discover it was closed, we drove across the bridge just off Highway 16 to Jasper Park Lodge. Owned by Fairmont, the lodge is nestled away from town and it’s grounds’ lead on to Beauvert Lake. Even if you’re not a guest, you can park and walk around the grounds and dine at the on-site restaurants and cafes. Anita took me to the cafe for lunch and I have to agree, it has a Melbourne City cafe feel to it. The coffees are well made and the food is delicious.
We went for a walk down to the boathouse and then drove to Lake Annette. It’s a perfect place to have a spring barbecue or afternoon on the sand.
After discovering that the Skytram was operating again, we decided to drive back. The tickets are $40 per adult and it takes 7 minutes to ascend to the top. In the top hut, there is a retail store and cafe if you’re happy to stare down at town from inside or if you’re feeling energetic, you can hike 1.6km (return) to the peak of Whistler’s Mountain. It is a steep ascent and cold (due to the high altitude- a fact that Anita and I neglected to remember so we were almost like icicles by the time we came back to the top hut) so you’d want a few layers and a decent pair of shoes. Once you get higher up the mountain, you’ll be left breathless in more ways than one, the short term pain of hiking uphill is definitely worth it when you see the view.
That was the end of the day activities and we headed back into town. A few hours later, Bec, Georgia, Anita and I drove out to Pyramid Lake Island to watch the sunset. This was my third visit to the island and I must admit, it’s beautiful during winter but in summer when you can gaze out and see the reflection of the mountains and trees in the lake, it’s on a whole other level.
Fast forward to Sunday morning and I decided to go for one last drive around town before returning the hire car. I drove to two vantage points to stare out at Mount Tekarra. If you just stand still and take in fresh air, it’s more powerful than a morning coffee.
Spring is in the air, the flowers are blooming, the wildlife is strolling around town and hikes should definitely be on your to do list. With early sunrises and late sunrises, the day is yours to seize.