Last July was my 50th birthday and for my present, Kim booked us a little cabin at the Patricia Lake Bungalows in Jasper National Park.
While there, we did a day hike in Maligne canyon which neither of us had done for at least 20 years. Maligne is an amazing place but not so much in summer when it’s busy. In late September, the crowds are gone and you’re pretty much alone. It’s a place of deep channels
and incredible colour
After our day hike we drove out to the Miette Hotsprings for a soak and ran into this little scene on the highway.
Our second day was a town day, meaning we hung around doing nothing but eating and drinking. I’m good at that.
Kim knows that I have missed the backcountry, so on our last day, we decided we would try to do a “real” day hike. We drove out to Maligne Lake, a 23 km long lake about 44 km from Jasper. This lake is the source of the waters that rush down Maligne Canyon. We took the Little Shovel Pass trail head with the idea that we would go up to Evelyn Creek which is about 5 km up mountain.
Given the fact that neither of us had done much of any hiking in years, we were surprised that it took us less than an hour to reach the creek. We decided that we would see how far we could get further up trail, giving our selves a 3pm turn around time. So up we went. And up. Past the creek, it’s nothing but long switchbacks, not terribly steep, but, still, switchbacks.
Along the way, we met about a half dozen fearless grouse
Gradually the view started to open up
and we began to talk about actually be able to make it to the pass. However, time eventually caught up to us and we didn’t quite make the pass but we did get to within 1.5km.
While we didn’t make the pass, the view was still spectacular. And we were pretty darned pleased with ourselves. 8.5 km in 3 hrs 6 minutes with an altitude gain of 450 meters.
Then we had to go down. We won’t talk about that. We did manage to hit the trail head right at 6 pm so we did all 17 km in 6 hours and 6 minutes. We may have been tired and sore, but we were damned pleased we made actually did it. COULD do it.
OK. So this post is actually about my newest painting and not some travelogue. I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone with any artistic urges at all, that some of the images above (and many more which I haven’t posted) just scream inspiration. This is the kind of stuff that got me painting back in the early 90’s in the first place.
But Jasper wasn’t quite finished with me. The cabin we stayed at is just off the shore of Patricia Lake and Patricia Lake makes for a pretty fine setting for a sunset. Even this guy seemed to like it.
There is a certain time just after the sun sets, that the sky begins to go indigo, when the mountains are still lit by the sun, that is truly magic.
This is the kind of thing that just sits with me. On December 27, I started a new painting with the photo above in mind. Well, that’s not quite true, it was all of the photos from that trip. The colours, the sky. I can see it all even with my eyes closed. I missed the mountains so much. We’ll be going back as soon as we can.
I don’t think this is the last painting that this trip will draw out of me. It still resonates with me.
(Still have yet to get a decent photo of the painting. I have a polarizing filter on order to help cut the glare. I’ll update this when it arrives)