After our decision on the impromptu trip to Jasper, the next decision was which trail to hike. There are so many trails in Jasper, but we limited our choices between the Pyramid Overlook Trail and the Valley of the Five Lakes Trail (both about 6 km and between 1.5 and 2 hours duration). The Overlook Trail was closer and would provide some startling views over the valley on this sunny day. It was a little more strenuous than Valley of the Five Lakes and had 75 meters of elevation gain. Both could be classed as Easy trails.
Arriving at the trailhead at the end of the Pyramid Lake Road, we managed to grab the last parking spot. Fortunately, most other tourists on this Fathers’ Day were not interested in a serious hike and had stopped at the Pyramid Island parking lot.
The first thing we noticed on this trail was the abundance of wild flowers from tiny bluebells to deep red and pink Alberta wild roses to yellow Amicas to white Bunchberries. The hills were alive with flowers. We realized we had not been to Jasper in springtime for a very long time.
As we admired the flowers and I crouched to capture them with my camera, the second thing we noticed was how many mosquitoes there were. We were slapping and swishing with wild abandon. No wonder, the animals all struck out for higher ground when warm weather returned. We were captive blood donors for the next 6 km. We tolerated it as long as we could before breaking out the bug spray.
The path for the first part of the trail were shady and in no time, we arrived at the Canadian National Park requisite photo stop, the Red Chairs. We posed for a photo from the back, not realizing how tall the chair backs were. We enjoyed views of Pyramid Lake and Mountain.
Swatting again, we headed on up to the rocky shield overlooking Patricia and Pyramid Lakes. The lakes shone fifteen shades of blue in the sun in the afternoon sun.
We wandered on up to the top of the Bench for the view of Jasper townsite, Jasper Park Lodge and the green lakes surrounding that area, Lake Edith, Lake Annette and Lac Beauvert. From down below came faint sounds of traffic and even the fainter rumble of CN freight train. A bit of haze in the air took some of the crispness off the distant mountain ridges.
From this point, we turned back across Pyramid Bench to where the trails split to go to Katrine Lake, a small mountain lake we had been to in many different seasons. What would we find today? See previous post. Along the way, we found this tree, which was weeping resin from attacks by various predators searching for its inner grub.
While the elevation gain is only 75 meters (246 feet) on this trail, what they don’t tell you is that you gain it and lose it about 5 times. The old adage of what goes up, must go down did, in fact, ring true.
We soon heard the sounds of rushing water from the outfall stream, much louder than what it is in the fall or winter. We paused on the bridge over the stream to take photos and to feed the mosquitoes. It was about this time, we became apprised that my Patty had been bitten by something other than mosquitoes. She described it as a green bug with no apparent head or legs. It did, in fact have a mouth, as it bit her 5 times. As she has many allergies and it was the middle of poplar fluff season, she was getting the itch….to scratch.
More uphill and more bountiful flora, but little visible bird life, except one brave robin. We heard lots of bird calls, but they were out of sight. Pyramid Mountain came back into view and we were soon on the downhill leg and back to the car.