Jasper National Park: The Canadian Rockies

After our Alaskan adventures, we headed back east, stopping off at Jasper National Park. Oh, the Rocky Mountains, jutting out of the ground, swirled and folded, looming grand above the tree line and filling our view.

Whistlers Mountain has a tramcar to the top. After two days of travel, waiting in airports and driving a rental car, I was ready for a hike along the spine of a mountain.

I thought.

But we had been hiking and kayaking for three weeks by the time we got to the Rockies.

Whistlers Summit Trail is on top of the mountain. Once you get off the tram, it is still uphill to get to the summit. My research shows the trail is about 2.3 miles, round trip.

My husband did a small portion of the trail with me, and then wisely said he’d wait for me on one of the benches or back at the skytram building.

Never one to walk away from a challenge, I climbed slowly. Inching my way skyward, up through the clouds. The trail wasn’t so much marked as it was a groove to follow. I took breaks, stepping to the side of the trail to let other hikers continue. Many, many breaks. Sitting on boulders. On benches. Drinking water. Eating a protein bar. Panting like a dog. Not hot. Just exhausted.

Stay in the groove, I told myself. Don’t cut across switchbacks to save time as the loose rubble will shift and slide downward. You could hurt yourself and others on the trail below. Treading on the packed dirt and rock outside of the trail leads to unnecessary erosion of the mountaintop.

Again, I climbed. Step, by step. Hikers moving uphill have the right of way. I was in a cloud. I was above the clouds. Some mountains showed their rusty colors in a spotlight of sun. Mostly though, I shot photos through the mist.

By the time I made it to the summit, I was dragging, taking deep ragged breaths. My cell phone had died. I was oblivious of the time, but knew it had taken me forever to get up there. The winds whipped my hair. Even with my raincoat hood up. Rain stung my face. Dark clouds were closing in.

I was due back at the skytram by 4:25 p.m. according to our tickets. Would my husband wait for me?

Yes! I placed a small rock on the pyramid.

Then I looked around. I was alone at the summit. The only sound was the wind whispering in my ears. My heart soared along with my spirit. I was on top of the world. I could see forever—even with the clouds. A smile creased my face. Life is good. But it was time to return to my husband. I had to climb down.

Again, slowly, like a camel, I plodded down and down. Picking and choosing each step. Stepping parallel to the mountain. Choosing the larger rock path across the slope of the mountain to slow my descent. No railings on this trail. No trees to stop me from a slip off the mountainside. I made it down in less than half the time it took to climb.

Whistlers Summit Trail should always be hiked slowly, watching your footing. Take your time and bring water and nutritious snacks for energy.

My husband met me, once I returned to the skytram, and we showed our tickets to the passenger counter person at the top of the mountain who told us where to wait for the car. Apparently, we just missed our 4:25 tram car. Only so many people can ride the tram at one time. The person in charge of the count said not to worry.      

Exhilarating hikes are well worth the challenge. Just take your time. Make smart choices. And you will get to the top of the world, too. Whatever that may be for you. Enjoy your June!

6 thoughts on “Jasper National Park: The Canadian Rockies”

    • Yes it was, Alex. Being on top of the mountains is exhilarating. Thanks so much for visiting Camping with Five Kids. Truly appreciate your comment. Have a great day!

    • Absolutely, Bill. Knowing our limitations not only keep us safe, they keep us sane. More power to you. Have a great week!

    • It was an awesome trip, Natalie. Well worth the time and effort. I LOVE nature and mountains.

      It’s always a pleasure seeing you here at Camping with Five Kids. Thanks so much for your note. Enjoy your week!


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