Today the mountains disappeared. Rain and low clouds obliterated the peaks we have come to love seeing as a backdrop to everything here. And it posed a question – what to do on a rainy day in Jasper? The Info Center had plenty of ideas for us, and we were divided on the opinion of hiking in the rain. The answer was to divide and conquer – Erik and I went ahead with the original plan to hike to Christine Lake just outside of Jasper, while Rich enjoyed a quiet and dry morning relaxing in our cabin.
Decked out in our rain gear we set off down the trail. Soon the trees overhead sheltered us from the bulk of the raindrops, and we found the hike to be quite pleasant. Once again, the nature of the environs were different, this time a less dense forest of pines with a lot of undergrowth. The spring green was a brilliant color and we found the wild flowers to be more advanced in blooming there, including Indian Paintbrush. There were actually three lakes at the terminus, but we liked Christine Lake the best for its tiny islands, outcroppings of rock and pine surroundings. While visiting Virl Lake, the clouds lifted enough to give us a glimpse of the mountains in the background. We returned with wet feet, mainly from thrashing through bushes to avoid some soggy parts of the trail, but definitely glad we had not let the rain deter us from our hike.
In the afternoon, the rain appeared to be abating, so we headed over to Maligne Canyon. The trail along the waterway had the feel of a tourist attraction, with it’s wide proportions and some paved portions. But the views of the deep cavern and tumultuous waterfalls made it worth sharing the trail with others. There were excellent interpretive signs along the way, and helped us understand the complex system of underground water flows that fed the river. Our enjoyment of the spectacle was greatly enhanced by the sun’s reappearance during our visit and the veil lifting on the mountains.
The evening turned out to be very nice indeed. We unwittingly chose a restaurant that was on the second floor, which afforded wonderful views out over the other buildings of Jasper’s main street. Even the mountains decided to reappear.