Daily Miles: 18
Total Miles: 453
We were totally wrong about it being a warm night last night. It turned out to be quite cold by morning. Most likely, the fact that our campsite was sandwiched between two small streams made it colder.
When we woke up this morning, we were surprised to see a tent set up not far from us. We hadn’t heard anyone come in last night, but we figured it could be another GDT hiker, because the tent was a light-weight brand we are familiar with.
We headed out on the trail around 6:30am and the trail was rather boggy. We were able to keep our feet dry, even with all the mud. We saw some fresh moose prints in the mud and thought we might come upon one at each turn in the trail, but we never saw one.
After about an hour or more, the hiker who had camped near us caught up to us. His name is Playa and he is hiking the GDT. We chatted with him for a bit and then figured we could continue our talk later in the cafeteria at the Lake Maligne Visitor Center which we were all headed to.
We were expecting some more really overgrown trail this morning, but we were very surprised and happy to see that there had been maintenance on the trail, and the bushes had been cut back. It made for really nice hiking.
About a mile before Lake Maligne, the trail became really wide and really nice. We figured it must be a popular place for day hikes, and that is why there is a lot of effort put into the trail.
We headed to the cafeteria and got some food before sitting down with Playa. We had a random mix of soup, potato salad, fruit salad and pastries. It was so good and we enjoyed talking more with Playa. We ended up hanging out for around two hours before we all reluctantly headed back out to the trail.
At the trailhead, we ran into Anders , who Playa had met several days ago and who is out hiking the section from Saskatchewan Crossing to Jasper. We figured it would be a pretty rough section to jump into, so kudos to him. We ended up walking with Anders off and on during the afternoon.
The afternoon was spent walking about half of the Skyline Trail (we’ll hike the second half into Jasper tomorrow). This trail is the most popular multi-day hike in Jasper and is easily the best trail we have hiked on in quite awhile. There are quite a few people making a 3 or 4 day trip out of it. It is very scenic and a lot of the trail is above treeline. Luckily, the weather was great today and the sky was pretty clear, so we could enjoy the views.
We ended up having to hike about half a mile off trail to get to a campsite which had trees for us to hang our hammocks. Anders joined us at the same campsite. We had dinner with a couple who are from Washington. Dan and Beverly were really nice and even cooked up a Backpacker’s Pantry dinner for us. It was such a nice treat and so kind of them! We had fun talking with them over dinner. We have enjoyed the organized campsites in the national parks because it gives us a chance to get to meet some new people and to have a bit of a social component on this trail.
We’ll have a big day into Jasper tomorrow. We had originally planned to push for an arrival into town before 5pm, because that is when the post office closes. But, after talking with Playa today, he is going to try to pick up our packages for us and then we can meet up with him in the evening. That takes some pressure off us and we can always come up with a Plan B if we need to.