Category Archives: Hiking

Hik­ing

Waterfalls — Poboktan

Waterfalls — Poboktan: Off-trail fashion.

There I was, at the horse gate just before Water­falls camp­ground. My plan was to ascend a steep slope along the creek (left side climber view). The pine forest was quite open with few dead­falls on the ground, I quick­ly got to the top.

Pobokton
Pobok­ton

Once there, trav­el­ling was easy. Keep­ing with­in earshot of the creek I nav­i­gat­ed effort­less­ly in the mixed forest. The moss cush­ion was a lit­tle thick­er yet pro­gress was fast as there were open lines all along. In time I came to a bot­tle­neck and got back to the creek, soon I was cross­ing in search of new­ly col­o­nized ground where the veg­e­ta­tion made walk­ing thru the low­er mead­ows much eas­ier. The mis­sion: escape the wil­lows if I could.

Pobokton
Pobok­ton

My goal was to get to the top of the val­ley. From there on I could ascend a shoul­der towards a sis­ter of Mt-Poboktan, and while I nev­er rushed any­thing I got there ear­ly, set­ting camp with plen­ty of time to spare. There was a great gold­en hour in the mak­ing and the light was per­fect.

Pobokton
Pobok­ton

The next day I went up a ramp, it took me about two and a half hours to get to the top. There where great views on the Water­fall Peaks and even bet­ter ones down towards the Swan Lakes (unof­fi­cial name). It would take me anoth­er day and a half to get to the lakes.

Pobokton
Pobok­ton

An easy tra­verse below the peak got me smack in front of Poboktan’s North face; and while I made my way down on a mod­er­ate­ly steep rib it seemed to grow taller and taller. I took a break by a tarn; and those who know the moun­tains won’t be sur­prised to learn that every­thing was still­ness.

Pobokton
Pobok­ton

Down the steep mead­ows and fol­low­ing the creek, I wait­ed until the bank got steep­er. I then cut into anoth­er easy pine forest. No point to stay high up as I knew I would soon face a nasty rock slide sev­er­al km long. So, once again I fol­lowed the col­o­niza­tion line and made my way near the Brazeau. Not being fond of silty water I pre­ferred stay­ing on the rock side where I found a creek emerg­ing from the under­ground. It’s water was per­fect. Camp­ing in the shad­ow of an errat­ic, I could hear the song of a river less than a hun­dred meters away.

Pobokton
Pobok­ton

The next day came a long chal­leng­ing angling up val­ley. Fol­low­ing the rock slide and hug­ging the forest I crossed numer­ous errat­ic fields, most of them filled with debris. Wise peo­ple would have fol­lowed the river instead, but since I am not one of them I went up the hard way. I gained ele­va­tion labo­ri­ous­ly and the views got spec­tac­u­lar. Grey lime­stone walls across the val­ley, silty blue waters, the deep green of the pines in between; and a cou­ple of tiny azure lakes dot­ting the land­scape. Once the rock slide sub­sid­ed, the forest took over once again. Not want­i­ng to get cliffed out I stayed on a bench, then there was this amaz­ing water­fall. I was mak­ing pro­gress, slow­ly.

Pobokton
Pobok­ton

I knew exact­ly the way to the lakes, the famil­iar sight of a gigan­tic errat­ic marked the way, but before I went up the drainage (left side climber view) I caught glimpses of the majes­tic NW Brazeau gorge. That’s a trip I did ear­lier in the sum­mer, com­ing in the oth­er way.

A glacial flat, and not so far in the dis­tance the low­er of the lakes. Near­ing the end of August the mead­ows where ripe, you could almost smell the fast approach­ing fall. A mag­ic gold­en hour lat­er I was more than like­ly snor­ing in my tent.
Up just before the sun­rise, guess what I did for the first hour? I had lots of time to spare so I packed up and went to one of the mid­dle lakes from where I tack­led a drainage up to about 2800 m. I want­ed to be on the oth­er side before the end of the day and at about four pm I strapped my pack on and crossed over the col. Anoth­er camp­site, with such a late start I near­ly missed per­fect light time.

Pobokton
Pobok­ton

Every­thing from there on is casu­al. It took me about two hours to pick my way down in a some­what nasty Engel­mann spruce forest (down the creek right side climber view), and then the river flat to the faint Swan pass trail, and fresh griz­zly drop­pings. Once back on the Pobok­tan trail there was only eight km to go. I got back to the car on the ear­ly side of a beau­ti­ful August day. I had been away for six days.

My boots nev­er got wet.

Gaston Synnott
Gas­ton Syn­nott — Author

This sto­ry is brought you by Gas­ton Syn­nott, thank you for shar­ing your expe­ri­ence with us and hope it will moti­vate some oth­ers to get out and enjoy the back coun­try of #myjasper #jaspernp #explore­jasper.  We wel­come more of the­se sto­ries, so feel free to con­tact us and sub­mit your adven­tures!


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Geraldine Lakes Fire Lookout

Abandon site of a fire lookout

What do locals do when there is a day off from the hus­tle and bustle of the sum­mer traf­fic? They go hik­ing and explore the few trails that parks has still left open for the hik­ers and pets. This rel­a­tive­ly short hike but a rough road to the trail­head is great for a casu­al walk in the park.

Amazing view for the Whirlpool Valley
Amaz­ing view for the Whirlpool Val­ley
Amazing view for the Whirlpool Valley
Amaz­ing view for the Whirlpool Val­ley
Remnants of the fire lookout structure
Rem­nants of the fire look­out struc­ture
Heading towards Athabasca Valley
Head­ing towards Athabas­ca Val­ley
Geraldine Lake Sign
Geraldine Lake Sign

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Wilcox Lake

Exploring the Wilcox area

Won­der­ful hike off the Wilcox trail, a lake hid­den behind some ridges. It was nice to see hid­den gems like the­se. I don’t think we saw this in a hike book when we decid­ed to do this trek. Word of mouth in around town amongst the like mind­ed crowd is prob­a­bly how we got here.

Elevation start at 1900 meters
Ele­va­tion start at 1900 meters
Wilcox area map
Wilcox area map

Trail­head park­ing for the south bound­ary trail or the camp­sites in the area. Most choose the trail­head from Wilcox to access this lake, how­ev­er,  you can access via Tan­go Falls from the north.

Wilcox view of the Athabasca Icefield
Wilcox view of the Athabas­ca Ice­field

Spec­tac­u­lar view right from the start of the trail.

Ptarmigan or Grouse?
Ptarmi­gan or Grouse?

Wilcox-lake_20120730_5785

This area retain snow slopes year round
This area retain snow slopes year round
Wilcox Lake
Wilcox Lake

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