Section E: A Brief Writeup

Section E: Saskatchewan Crossing, AB > Jasper, AB. 183km

 

Over the next seven days, I was introduced to more vast landscapes. The Howse was just a taste.

 

We slept at Michelle lake the first night with a couple other groups. The lake was some shade of glacier turquoise that I had never seen before, when reflecting the sky it beamed from another dimension. We crossed the highest point on the GDT the following day, it was a long climb up the alpine gravel. Apparently there was lots of fossil evidence on the pass, but our untrained eyes were unable to detect any. Our day took us to another lake, Pinto. The water had to have been transported from the tropics, not for warmth, but for coloration. We saw white beaches disappear into Cayman seas. Another night of lots of folks, this time all current or past GDT hikers. It was fun to talk trail with others who had shared the same experience with us, it was the first time since we had started the trail.

 

We transitioned to the alpine environment via the Whitegoat Wilderness, a nook in the mountains where all animals are protected from any form of harassment. A large boulder just off the trail was once the canvas for indigenous folks, leaving behind strange and indecipherable ochre symbols.

Hiking through large sweeps of valleys all linked by passes escorted us for the next several days. The scope of the land sent our senses of perception in whack, what looked near, was far, what looked short, was tall. Glaciers crumbled across the valley.

 

After several days of alpine and bush bashing, we plopped into Maligne Lake resort. Society is bustling. There are tourists gawking around, nametags hung on necks, and lines. Long lines reached into walkways, blocked strollers and created anxiety in the hearts of Bush Walkers. Society did mean that we were close to resting though, nearly to Jasper. We slept at Evelyn Creek, 4km in to the 45km Skyline trail. Jackie, who had started the same day as us, was in jasper a day ahead and said that if we could make it, we could crash on the hotel room floor. What a sweet deal it was because we also had no reservations for the following night.

 

At 3:30am we shut off our alarm. By 4:20 we had our headlights guiding our path as we walked. At 8am we had climbed the notorious “The Notch”, which commonly chewed up and spat put day hikers. As seasoned thru hikers, with nothing but granola bars remaining as food, we boosted up the slope without stopping in 25 minutes. Cake. By 10am, we had covered 21km, or 13 miles. Almost halfway there, but with no more climbs in our future, we set the cruise control and made for Jasper. It was 4:30 pm when we arrived in town, just 12 hours after departure, we covered 47km (29 miles). Both of our biggest hiking days ever.

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