This summer has been such a weird summer in terms of weather and very busy in terms of work. Our hikes have been day trips and few. There’s just been so much to do before we leave for a work trip/holiday to Brazil in September, that enjoying summer has been pushed down on my list.
Which is why I am extra grateful that in early January, as soon as registrations opened, Vini and I planned our summer camping trip. We booked a spot in Jasper, Alberta, reserved a van, and before we knew it it was time to pack up and go.
We threw our tent, lots of tarp and rope, Lacey’s things and our hiking shoes in the van and left work behind.
We took the short way up from Abbotsford to Jasper through Kamloops–an almost 8-hr drive. From what I read online, this is the fast, but not the scenic route. I’m curious to see what the scenic route is like someday because the views we had were definitely beautiful enough for me.
We got up early and were on the road well before 6:30am.
Lacey had so much room in the van. We put a seat up so she could sit and look out the window, we put another seat down so she could lay on her bed…but she parked herself between us and spent the 7 hours gazing up at Vini.
I researched stops along the way, but found nothing that tempted us enough to stop and add hours to our drive. There’s the River Safari in Blue River, the air tram at Hell’s Gate, but we didn’t stop or find any hidden local gems to share this year. 🙁
In fact, we didn’t stop very much, but when we did we chose rest areas which were super un-picturesque, as you can see. Truly awful views.
(Side note: if you click the photos below, they’ll show up better as a slide.)
Just a reminder that when you get to the Jasper National Park kiosk you will need to pay the park fee to stay within in the park. After arriving in Jasper, we took a look at the town and then went to our campsite. Because we registered in January, we were able to reserve a spot at the Wapiti campground. I have never even been to the others, but I will confidently tell you that Wapiti is the best campground. We were a walk away from the showers, bathrooms, dishwashing/drinking water station, firewood supply without being too close.
I’m not yet at the point of backcountry hiking/camping, so Wapiti offered enough seclusion from other campers without worrying about waking up to a curious bear or wolf dragging me out of my tent. It was enough that upon arrival we were told that wildlife was really active that week, as well as seeing the bear drum trap, and hearing the trap door slam shut more than once during our stay.
Heads up: Jasper campgrounds require daily fire permits. Last year in Banff we paid a single fire permit that included all the firewood we needed, so we expected the same in Jasper. Wapiti charged per day, so even though most days we just made one fire in the evening, fire permits still had to be purchased.
Once we arrived, we set up the tent. We were camping in luxury. After a couple of years with a tiny two-person tent, we bought a 10-person tent for this year. We lined the ground with a tarp, put up our castle, and covered it with another tarp. The forecast was for thunderstorms. We were determined to be ready.
After dinner, we took Lacey for a walk. At the back of the Wapiti campground thunders the Athabasca River. There is a trail that overlooks the river and runs beside day-use areas, campgrounds, and cabins. It became our favorite after-dinner spot.
Tomorrow we’re off hiking. Tonight, we sleep.