Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Canada Long Weekend Camping in Jasper National Park

We usually spend either the Canada Day Long Weekend or the August Long Weekend camping with my cousin and his family.  Last year, it ended up being my only camping trip of the year.  This year, we headed to Jasper National Park and camped at the Wabasso Campground. It's a 5 hour drive from our house to the campground so we left around 9am but didn't actually get on the highway until almost 10 since we stopped at starbucks, walmart and then back at home to grab something we forgot.  

We stopped at Herbert Lake for a picnic lunch which is a great little picnic area with lots of tables that you can eat at that are set up like a campsite so there is lots of privacy if you are looking for that. Herbert Lake is located about 6km north of Lake Louise on the Icefields Parkway.  The only downside to this picnic area is that you can't see any of the lake from any of the picnic tables that we could tell.  It would be perfect if you could.  

We hiked down the short trail to the lake and it was beautiful.  This is like a super hidden gem and you can miss it if you blink but if you are looking somewhere to get out of your car and stretch or have a picnic lunch, this is the place for you.  You can thank me when you leave.  

 We wanted to do a hike on our way to the campground, well Greg really did haha.  We decided to do Parkers Ridge, which we hadn't done in about 12 years.  It was a great hike and didn't take too long to do either.  I will have a post on that tomorrow, make sure you look for it!

The only wild life we saw the entire trip were these mountain sheep which wouldn't be that exciting except for the fact that there were 2 babies and the one on the bottom right was the absolute cutest, it was just shaking in fear and overwhelement.  We called her Shakey.  

We got to the campsite before the rest of our family and we were in the A loop which was wayyy at the very back and very far away from the playground but it was still really good.  We were really good to the washrooms although the river access was limited and it felt like you were walking through someone's site while doing so.  The bathrooms were very clean and there was also running water every few campsites so there wasn't too far to walk to get water or use the washroom.  

This was one of our punishment trees where both girls spent a lot of their time hahah.  I am not sure why we have never thought of this previously, it was a great way to discipline the girls while not being at home. 

Soon, everyone was there and we got our tents set up and a fire going and we had hot dogs and smokies over the fires and smores and alcoholic beverages.  There are no photos of the night because my iPhone was charging in our vehicle.  

The forecast called for a lot of rain over the weekend but we hoped for the best anyways.  It rained overnight and really hard around 6am but by the time we woke up, it had stopped and was quite nice out.  However, after breakfast and our morning fire as we were getting ready to leave for the day, the rain started coming down hard.  As luck would have it,  I had chosen just moments before the storm to go into the tent and change to get ready and was stuck in there so I was nice and dry and warm.  Everybody else was stuck under the tarp over our picnic table.  The only downside was that I had left my phone in the car so I had nothing but my sleeping bag so I may have had a quick nap haha. 

Despite the rain, it was still a really warm day out- way warmer then we thought it would be and we were all overdressed as we hiked Maligne Canyon, which you will read about on here in a day or two.    When we got to the top, Greg bought all of us ice cream since we were so hot.  After the hike, we headed back to the campsite, where we had supper and sat by the fire for awhile before heading back into Jasper for the fireworks.  

Unfortunately, just as we were getting ready to leave, Penelope said her tummy hurt and she didn't want to go.  So her and I stayed back and she was literally asleep before Greg drove the car out of our campsite.  I wasn't tired yet but was limited to drinking water and hanging out in our tent with her so I was in bed not too much later, I was awoke by the sound of the fireworks echoing off of the mountains but I was pretty sure my view was blocked by said mountains so I didn't get up to check if I could see them or not.  

Apparently, Jasper's Canada Day fireworks were better then usual and Finley 'fainted' as she said with how great they were.  She gave both Penelope and I a very detailed description of what they were like.  Penelope didn't care that she didn't see them, she just needed to sleep but I was definitely feeling like I missed out. Thankfully, Penelope was mostly just tired and was fine in the morning.  

Sunday morning was beautiful and that led to another beautiful day in the mountains.  I am glad we were not scared off by the weather forecast because that would have really sucked.  

After breakfast and a mooring fire, we headed into Jasper for some snacks, sightseeing and some shopping.  Our first stop was the Bear's Paw Bakery which Greg really wanted to go to.  The line up was crazy and it was so hot in there that I thought I might pass out while waiting inline.  Nobody liked their treat except for Greg so I don't think I would recommend standing in line for this place. 

After that, we went to the interpretive centre and Greg and the girls enjoyed learning all about various animals and getting some explorer books and new stickers for their bike helmets.  I think Greg enjoys this more then both the girls.  

As is tradition, one must visit the Jasper Bear when you are in the townsite.  We go and get photos every time we visit.  

After we were done in town, we headed to a hike that I found on one of those articles shared on Facebook.  We thought it was going to be a really easy hike, I think Greg described it as a leisurely stroll.  But it was a bit more challenging.  It wasn't hard, it just wasn't what I expected.  

However, Valley of the Five Lakes didn't disappoint.  You can read all about it in the coming days on here too.  

We headed back to the camp site where we had a very late lunch and then played some games by the fire after supper.  Actually, we only played one game since nobody brought any.  I remembered that night that I had Ellen's game Heads Up on my iPhone so we played it.  Even the girls got into it and it was a lot of fun.  The whole humming the song one was really hard though and nobody got any of those right.  The interesting thing was that while you were humming it, it sounded right but when it was your turn to guess the songs being hummed, it was impossible.  

The fire we had Sunday night was so hot at times that it melted the plastic of the spitz bag onto Madi's legs!!  I have never seen that happen on any of our camping trips before so we all found it pretty funny.

Penelope and Tanner went on a few bike rides around the campground and on their last one Sunday night, Penelope thought she saw something in the woods along the road and Tanner thought it was a cougar.  They both scared each other.  Tanner found a park ranger and told them what he thought he saw and then they rode back to the campsite.  Penelope ran to Greg and cried for a long time because she was so scared.  Greg got on his bike and went and looked and didn't see anything which was what we thought would happen since cougars rarely ever go into a campground unless they are really sick because they like to surprise their victims.  Despite the fact that there was no cougar, both Tanner + Penelope did the right thing by telling the park ranger since it is better to be safe then sorry.  

One of my favourite things about camping is the late night hot dog.  There is something even more delicious about eating it later at night.  I have no idea what it is, but it is definitely there. 

Monday was pack up day so we were all up early and had everything packed up quite quickly.  They headed back to their home and us back to Calgary.  We stopped at some random spot to take a photo and discovered a dock that led down to this lake and this amazing view point.  And much to the happiness of Penelope, the shoreline was filled with hundreds of fish.  Seriously, does it get any better then this?? What a view. 

After that, we stopped at Athabasca Falls which is the world's easiest "hike" with some of the best payoff.  I will have a post in a few days about this one too.  So pretty but usually so freaking busy but it wasn't too bad when we got here. 

We stopped at Bow Lake for lunch and this is easily one of my favourite places in all of Banff.  We have picniced here several times, we have canoed the lake and hiked around it twice to the Bow Falls Glacier.  An all round perfect place to be and when the sun is shining, there are few things more magical then this place.  This is located on the Icefields Parkway as well and you turn off at the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge.  Check it out, it is worth it. 

Finally, we stopped in Banff for some starbucks and snacks.  I had no idea Starbucks had moved and I legit thought I had lost my mind looking for it.  The new location is much bigger and so much better then the old location.  

It was a great weekend to get away and visit with family and decompress from the busyness that June brought.  We have about 10 days until we leave for summer vacation and my July is looking just as busy.  Thankfully August looks much calmer.  I hope you all had a safe and happy Canada Day Weekend!

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