Yesterday I completed two hikes in Jasper National Park; Valley of 5 Lakes & Bald Hills. I started my day off early at 6:30am by waking up and making a nutritious breakfast omelet and coffee before setting off on a 5 hour drive towards Jasper.
First stop was Valley of 5 Lakes, a short 4.5km hike with a mere 154 metres of elevation gain. The hike was amazing; it started through a moderate density forest and opened up into a meadow before going back into a forest with a view of five beautiful turquoise and emerald coloured lakes. The hike took roughly an hour to complete and was completely worth the visit.
It was nearly lunch so it was time to head into Jasper. I stopped at my favorite place; Jasper Brewing Company and had a cheddar burger with poutine, and a pint of their Rockhopper IPA, which is super tasty.
After lunch I drove to Maligne Lake, where I started on the trailhead to Bald Hills. It was a light misty rain when I started the hike, but over the course of the hike it started to rain more and more. About 1/3 of the way through the hike I met a wonderful woman named Susan, and her husband Steve. They had one of their daughters, and daughters friend with them. We spent the rest of the hike together, which made for a nice time. One of the kids made a hilarious comment when we were talking about religion. She said “Is a Protestant also a prostitute; we all burst out laughing! By the end of the hike we were all soaked. The hike was 13.2km with 701 metres of elevation gain; I definitely felt it in my quads towards the end.
After the hike I drove back into Jasper to fill up my Lexus with fuel, and get some coffee from Tim Horton’s before heading back to Calgary. I finally made it home around 10:30pm.
Today I completed two hikes; Lake Annette & Read’s Tower. I woke up at 4:00am and had some eggs, brisket, and cheese for breakfast with some coffee and then set off at around 4:30am. I had to fill up with fuel on my way out of the city, but thankfully gas is only 95 cents/litre at the moment so it only cost me $23 for a partial fill.
My first stop was Lake Annette, which is near Lake Louise. The drive took about 2.25 hours. I arrived at 6:45am and got started on my hike. Lake Annette is rated as a moderate hike with 377 metres of elevation gain over 11.3km of distance. The hike took me just over 2 hours to complete. The hike spends the majority of the time in the woods, with a few spots of alpine meadows. I was the only one on the trail for the majority of the hike, except towards the end when I was nearly back at my car.
The next hike was Read’s Tower, which is in the Spray Lakes area near Canmore. The drive from Lake Louise took about 1.5 hours. There was only 3 other cars in the parking lot, so I knew the trail would be quiet. I made it about 2/3 of the way up the 6.8km trail with 855 metres of elevation gain before throwing in the towel. My shoes were not giving me any grip what so ever and I fell over a few times. It’s time for new hiking shoes since my tread is almost completely gone.
On August 18th I went and explored Yoho National Park in British Columbia, and completed C-Level Cirque in Banff National Park.
I started the day early and left my place at 7:00am with a quick stop get to some coffee from McDonald’s. First stop was Natural Bridge, which was once a waterfall, but the softer rock that was below the hard limestone had eroded away until the rock widened enough for the water to flow under the outcrop, thus creating a natural bridge.
A quick drive down the road had me emerging at Emerald Lake. It was full of tourists so I didn’t stay very long. Despite being full of tourists it was still a beautiful sight to see.
The next stop was Wapta Falls, which you can get to from a quick 4.7km rountrip hike that has 126 metres of elevation gain. It took me about 1 hour round trip to complete. Wapta Falls is a waterfall of the Kicking Horse River, and is about 30 metres high and 150 metres wide. The waterfall averages 254 cubic metres of second of water flow.
The next stop was Takakkaw Falls, which you can get to from an even quicker 1.4km rountrip walk (yes lets not even call it a hike), with only 36 metres of elevation gain. Takakkaw Falls stands at an impressive height of 373 metres tall, making it the second tallest waterfall in Canada. Takakkaw, a Cree word, translated to the word “wonderful” in English. The falls are fed by meltwater from the Daly Glacier, which is part of the Waputik Icefield.
The last and final stop was the C-Level Cirque hike in Banff National Park, about a 45 minute drive away. The hike is quite the huff at 9.2km with 755 metres of elevation gain. The hike mostly has you in the trees until you are greeted with an amazing view of Lake Minnewanka. At the beginning of the trail there is some old abandoned coal mine buildings and shafts. I was warned about a bear towards the end of the trail head but that didn’t deter me. I had my bear spray with me.
The next stops on my Japan trip were Nagano (for one night), Matsumoto Castle, and Nagoya. I stayed in Nagano for the evening after visiting the Jigokudani Monkey Park. I stayed in a very swanky hotel right at the Nagano train station. I had quite a bit of work to do that evening and I wanted to be close to the train station for the next day. I did a time-lapse video of the sunset and was pretty impressed how it turned out.
The next day I boarded a train towards Nagoya but made a stop in Matsumoto. Matsumoto is one of Japan’s top four castles to visit, and during this trip I visited all four! Masumoto is unique because it’s a black castle, also known as the “crow castle”. The amount of engineering detail that went into the castle is breathtaking. They accounted for everything that you could possibly conceive, even earthquakes. Not bad for late 1500’s engineering! The castle still stands to this day, surviving multiple earthquakes, and World War 2. Over the years the castle was ruled by the 23 lords of Matsumoto representing six different daimyō families.
After soaking up this magnificent castle I continued on my journey to Nagoya. My two favorite things about Nagoya was the Toyota Museum, and the MAGLEV museum. I actually learned that Toyota is one of the largest manufacturer’s of the automatic loom; apparently they started out as a textile machine company. Nagoya impressed me in some aspects, but disappointed me in other aspects. I was disappointed about the dirtiness of the city, and overall grungy feel to the city. It felt like the Las Vegas of Japan in a way.
The next stop in my trip was Kyoto, one of my favorite stops of the entire trip. Stay tuned!
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