For Part One of this series – “September Camping in Jasper National Park”, click here.
There are hundreds of trail choices in Jasper National Park, depending on your goals and skill level. We chose three trails that offer a variety of options, for both the seasoned hiker and the tourist with little experience. I wanted to share all three of them here because
Native Land tells me that the following Nations have at one time called these Treaty lands home: Tsuu T’ina, Stoney, Secwepemc, Mountain Metis, Michif Piyii (Metis), Ktunaxa (Kootenay), Aseniwuche Winewak. And a very clever woman whose name I didn’t write down passed along some wisdom from an Elder that we should personalize Land Acknowledgments. I feel that Land Acknowledgments are very important, but also I walk a fine line as a white settler doing them appropriately. (That is perhaps a subject for a future post.) I am personally grateful for all the Indigenous People and peoples who have stewarded this land since time immemorial, that is so important to my personal history, storytelling and wellbeing. I have been visiting Jasper since my birth and have only over the past 5 years started learning the darker truth behind the legacy of our National Parks. Knowing the history, knowing more about this land informs my exploration of Jasper. I am grateful to the knowledge keepers and Elders who have and share this information and I hope to make my ancestors proud as I move through the land with respect and purpose. And teach my son to do the same.
MOUNT EDITH CAVELL & ANGEL GLACIER
- A trail option for every level, with increasing effort if you want to take a longer trip (The Meadows trail)
- Breathtaking views at every turn
- Opportunity for adventure no matter which level you choose; you could spend all day here exploring
- My favourite place on earth
- It costs a lot of money to take the Gondola to the top, but if you can swing it the views are amazing
- It allows non-hikers to get to the top of a mountain!
- There are hiking options once you get to the top, and you can explore beyond the area around the tea house
- There is also a trail connecting the gondola stations if you are feeling extra adventurous and have a lot of hours to spare!
- Don’t forget to book your flight in advance; we saw lots of disappointed folks leaving the ticket booth
- Bring a jacket as the temperature at the lower station is always a few degrees warmer than the upper station; it’s a bit of a shock in the summer
SIGNAL MOUNTAIN LOOKOUT
- Great for folks with more experience who want to stay away from the “tourists”
- Great for folks who have a bit of experience and want to push themselves with a rewarding day hike
- Very steep, but not a lot of technical areas
- This is a leg of the Skyline Trail, so you could easily take it a step further if you want to try your hand at backpacking
- Getting to the top and seeing the view made me cry tears of joy
MY HIKING STYLE AND GOALS
I love writing about this even though (or perhaps because) it makes me realize how much things have changed for me over my adult life. My hiking style these days is slow with lots of breaks. Heaving breaths, intense focus on where I am stepping. Breaks are good because I like observing. Slow is fine because I cleared my schedule for this and I’m not in a race to get anywhere.
In terms of goals, climbing mountains is fun, but it’s not a requirement. I want to work my body, feel my heart beat, push my legs to their limit. I want to see trees, listen to the wind blowing through them, watch birds flit through the canopy and squirrels chase each other over the dead fall. I want to get outside and feel the ground under my feet, breathe in deep the air of these lands, be in conversation with the natural world that is a part of me (and I a part of it).
I guess I have some specific trail location goals that as well, but they are tied to my excitement in exploring areas that are new to me, that excite my imagination. And are within a few hours drive.
LEARNING AND TAKING ACTION
All I want from posts like this is to inspire people to go outside respectfully and with care. It’s not enough to be a tourist in your backyard with conscious consumption and observation, or rather it’s such a shallow thing. Especially considering all the we know about the climate crisis and anti-Indigenous racism that is tied directly to the land. Here are some links you can use to learn and take action around issues directly tied to the land.
What is land back? Briarpatch’s article here, and one from The Breach here featuring Dr Pam Palmater.
Dr. Palmater has loads of resources on her website (and You Tube channel, and podcast) around Indigenous law, sovereignty and nation-building.
Unist’ot’en Clan of the Wet’suwet’en Territories
1492 Land Back Lane Legal Fund
CPAWS Northern Alberta takes action against coal mining in Alberta
15 Beloved Places Struggling with Overtourism (Conde Nast Traveler) I actually hate how this article still encourages visitors to travel these spots, but their descriptions of the destruction due to tourism is worth a read.