Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Bald Hills Jasper National Park August 21, 2018

We woke to a smoky day forecast for Jasper but never mind that we were hiking anyway.  I have hiked along the Icefield Parkway and at Cavell Meadows but that's it for Jasper National Park.  I heard about the Bald Hills plus saw photos and knew I would like to hit these hills one day.  The Maligne Lake Road drive was not as pretty as I remembered due to smoke so we just went ahead and got it out of the way in favour of securing a parking spot of Maligne Lake where the trail head was.  The lot was looked packed but thankfully we got a spot, not far from the kiosk.
It was obvious many hikers had gone before us.  The first stretch was easy along a fire road with little elevation gain. We could see blue in the sky and I was thankful for that.  After the fire road, we came to an intersection where we made the decision to take the short straight steep trail up and save our knees by taking the long winding road on our way down.
We reached the opening and could see where we would be heading.  
I saw switchbacks and wide open spaces both of which I was happy for.  
The steep switchback section was short and afforded us views very quickly.  
Although there was blue, there was smoke too in the distance.
There was miscommunication on where our final destination was and we had split up along the way.  Never the optimum scenario but today it was OK due to the wide open area and lots of people around.  When I reached where I thought was our lunch stop, I could see my friend continuing on off in the distance.  I continued on too.  Here I looked back to where we came from and saw our other friend coming our way.
We reached the summit of the first Bald Hill and this was one of the views.  It was a spectacular place to be and I realized why this area is so popular.  I already knew I wanted to come here one day and take time to explore more of the Bald Hills.
It was rather erie looking, what else is new these days with all the smoke.  I could see Maligne Lake and wondered what it would be like to be up here on a clear day.  Yes, I need to be come back one day.  I checked out all the meandering trails and the other Hills and opportunities to explore are boundless.
This is my Bald Hills summit shot and my lunch spot too.   
We enjoyed our lunch and then began the descent opting to make a loop off the top.  The trail we took  coming down was much more user friendly than the trail we took to ascend.  I loved the colors we were seeing and the terrain & meadows & views.  I looked back to see my friends as they descended.
view along the descent route
We reached the trail that aimed through the meadow.  A could see how in a good year around the end of July this meadow would put on quite a wildflower presentation.  We hiked along taking our time.
hippies on a stick
From the summit we could see a tarn in the middle of the meadow.  I hiked over to it as I knew I would enjoy snapping shots around it.  This was my favourite view from the backside. We were getting more blue in the sky as the afternoon went on.
looks like autumn is on its way
Back at the intersection, we took the trail that would be long and winding and gentle.  
It was long, very long, and it was hot. 
the long last stretch
I arrived back at the car and waited for the others to arrive.  I had hoped for some time to spend down at Maligne Lake or even walking around part of it.  I'll incorporate that on my next visit.  We spent a few minutes admiring it and capturing a pretty picture.
The drive back to Jasper was prettier than it was this morning so we took time at Medicine Lake.  
I was grateful that the day we picked to complete our bigger hike had blue sky and minimal smoke.  Being in the Maligne Lake area opened my eyes to other hiking possibilities that I have stored on the back burner for now.  We arrived back at our suite pleasantly depleted ready to just relax and plan for tomorrow.  Stay Tuned!

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