Wow oh wow I pulled off a last minute (for me), long weekend camping trip to Jasper. In September. With two longs hikes. If feels like I should get at least 3 medals and eighteen gold stars for this one. For being out there only 3 days, we covered a lot of ground. I have so many photos of trees, and mountains, and moss, and clouds, and rivers, and burritos. This post covers our campground set up, meals, and must-have gear. I have lots to say about the mountains, that’s coming too.
We were limited in our choice of campgrounds because of how late I left it to book. Which was fine actually. We have very limited needs and wants in terms of location. Wabasso had the only reservable sites left in Jasper that weekend, for all the nights we needed. So it was the perfect spot! HA! And it was fine (shrug). Most of the trees in these campgrounds have been cut down (pine beetle? renovations?), so they feel less like the forest I remember in my childhood. Gotta love the free firewood I guess?!
Wabasso Campground is situated in between Highway 93A and the Athabasca River. There are hundreds of sites, no hookups, full washrooms and loads of trails along here. In fact, if you wanted to stay close to your site for your entire visit, or use it as your trailhead, you have a lot of options. Always a reminder to be bear-aware, and hike in a group and carry bear spray if you can. Many of the trails along the River are bike-friendly and also so beautiful. Highway 93A connects up to other touristy spots like Athabasca Falls, Mount Edith Cavell & Angel Glacier (watch for a future post), and Marmot Basin (for downhill skiing). A large chunk of this highway is closed in the winter season, so be mindful of that when visiting.
PACKING AND SNACKING
Our camping setup hasn’t changed much over the years, ever since I got it just the way I like it. We have a simple tent and sleeping gear. That’s where most of the $$ is, to be honest. It pays to have a good sleeping pad or mattress and a warm bag. Our bags are army surplus because that’s what Dan likes. We bought our pads at a local shop and they roll up so small. As this is bear country, none of our cooking gear or food stays out on the table, so it makes sense to have the least fussy set up. We tried to set up our shelter but the wind busted one of the screws within a minute, so that came down fast. Packing light is also important due to the size of our vehicle. Mabel the almost-station wagon might look small, but with those seats folded down we have plenty of space for everything we need to bring.
Our camping food is simple, and repeatable. Eggs and toast for breakfast, along with pour over coffee. Burritos and our favourite noodles (recipe at the end) for dinner. And sandwich wraps with fruit for lunch on the trail. This simplicity means we need very few cooking items. Most of our gear is secondhand, or the good stuff Dan bought when he was still a bachelor. I have no gear tips other than keep your eye on the thrift stores for plastic or metal plates and cups, take only what you need (2 people = 2 plates), and get yourself a good, yet small, pot and pan.
LEARNING AND TAKING ACTION
Jasper National Park is located on Treaty 6 and Treaty 8 as well as the traditional lands of the Beaver, Cree, Ojibway, Secwépemc, Stoney, and Métis Nation. The First Nations and Métis people who called these lands home were forcibly removed from this area to create both Jasper and Banff National Parks. To learn more about this history, the steps Parks Canada is taking to reconcile with our Indigenous neighbours, and to see how you can experience Indigenous culture on your visit, please explore these links:
Nations of Jasper welcomed back to the Park – The Fitzhugh
The shady past of Parks Canada: forced out, Indigenous People are forging a comeback – National Post
History of Jasper – Municipality of Jasper
Here’s how to experience Indigenous culture in Jasper National Park
Jasper National Park Indigenous Partners – Parks Canada
Jasper National Park – The Canadian Encyclopedia
Dan & Lisa’s Camping Noodles
- One box of Velveeta Shells & Cheese
- One package of your favourite vegetarian sausage
- 1/2 bell pepper, any colour
- 1/2 onion, any colour
- Cook your shells according to the instructions. We like to drain them while they are still very “al dente”, as the shells these days tend to loose their shape very quickly.
- Cut your sausage into pieces. Dice the bell pepper and onion. Combine all in a skillet with a bit of cooking oil or butter.
- Once pasta is cooked, drain, then add the Velveeta cheese package.
- Combine pasta with sausage mix.
- Serve hot!
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