Jasper National Park – Part II

The next morning we woke to rain. It instantly depressed me. Our first full day had turned out so well despite the rain, but I wasn’t sure we could replicate that for a second full day. We had already planned to do a short morning hike, so we got up and fixed ourselves breakfast. The trailhead was near our campground and it was a quick drive over. We pulled into the parking lot and my heart wasn’t in it; what’s the point of hiking to beautiful lakes in the rain?? Eventually, After some cajoling, Zach lifted my spirits and we got started.

Don’t I look thrilled?!

The Valley of the Five Lakes is a beautiful and simple hike to five lakes. On a clear day the views must be stellar, but it rained lightly our entire hike. The trail follows a wide path through the forest before coming to a junction. We chose to do the loop around the lakes clockwise beginning with First Lake. We passed a fair number of people out doing the loop counter clockwise also trying to make the most of their vacation.

First Lake

Second Lake

Third Lake

Zach warms up with some bourbon

Fourth Lake

Fifth Lake

It was pretty cold, and we weren’t sure what to do next. We decided to go to Wicked Cup to re-group and warm up. We were a little tired of doing simple hikes and though there was a steady rain, there was no lightning in the forecast. We had already planned to visit Miette Hot Springs, so we chose a hike next to it – Sulphur Skyline.

When we arrived, it almost seemed like the rain was going to stop. We even briefly saw the sun! But that was short-lived. It rained on us for a majority of the ascent. When we reached the false summit, we were enveloped in clouds. It began to rain and we took cover in a clump of evergreens. We decided to wait it out. After a few minutes, the rain stopped, the clouds cleared out, and we felt we could continue on to the summit. Miraculously, as we climbed up the last bit of the mountain, we had amazing views of the valley and surrounding peaks. The clouds would sweep in and cover the landscape, and then blow out to reveal the beauty.

Sun!

On the false summit

Miette Hot Springs is at the bottom of the valley

Working our way up

We reached the summit and were very happy to have a decent view! Similarly, the clouds continued to move quickly – covering some peaks, revealing others. In the distance, we could see the rest of the rain clouds approaching and knew we had limited time.

Our descent was a complete and utter soaking. It was raining harder than before, and we were drenched and cold by the time we reached the bottom. Luckily, we traded our backpacks for swimsuits and went into Miette Hot Springs to warm up.

It was surprisingly crowded for a cold rainy evening. We had to wait in a short line to enter, and then we parted ways for the men’s and women’s locker rooms. It continued to rain the entire time we soaked in the springs. We changed pools a couple times to get the effect, but since our heads were constantly doused with cold rain water and an outside temperature of at least 40 degrees, it was only necessary to sit up out of the water for a minute or two before plunging back in.  We stayed at the springs for about an hour before changing back into our clothes and eating dinner at the small attached café. We had intended to eat at the Korean restaurant in town, but weren’t going to make it back before they closed.

When we arrived back in Jasper, we decided to get a drink at one of the local watering holes, De’d Dog Bar. I think we could have happily skipped out on that beer. It had stopped raining shortly after we left Miette and we should have taken advantage by returning to our campsite without a cold beating rain. But we didn’t. As we sat at the bar and figured out our plans for the next day, the rain made an encore, and we had to return to a dark, wet campsite.

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