Maligne Pass Backpack Trip
September 11-13, 2020
After work on Friday we headed down the Icefields Parkway to Pobokton Creek Trailhead. We made short work of the 8km of still muddy trail, stopping for quick breaks at the usual places (there are two or so nice spots by the creek). We turned right at the trail junction and walked the last km or so to camp to set up, blissfully alone. As we were setting up the tents I looked up to see pink clouds over the river so immediately abandoned my post (sorry not sorry Mark), grabbed my camera gear, and set up by the river. After that excitement it was time for a fire and supper - our usual freeze dried meals. We like to fancy the meals up by adding fresh bell peppers, cheese, and some instant potatoes if needed.
The next morning we headed back to the junction and now continued on the north trail towards Avalanche Campground and Maligne Pass. The leaves were turning red and yellow and the river crossings were either bridged, or low enough to rock hop across. Our friend was camping at Avalanche Campground for the night, so we "dropped" her off to get set up and headed up to the pass to find a site in the random camping zone north of Maligne Pass. The plan was to meet her at the pass and summit Replica Peak, although my knee/IT band had other ideas. Nevertheless, Mark and I headed up the valley and then up through the steeper forest to pop out just south of Maligne Pass. We headed across country to where we knew there was a sizeable lake to set up camp.
After crossing the hummocky landscape and cresting a hill, we came across the lake and found a good place to set up camp. We hung our food in an Ursack, and then headed back across to meet up with our friend. This is when my knee convinced me that bagging a peak was maybe not a great idea. Luckily my hiking buddies are laid back and up for any kind of adventure. We decided to explore the whole pass areas and se how many of the lakes we could find...which was five not including the lake our tent was sitting at or the one at the pass!
From the lake at the pass we hiked cross country to the west. We passed by some interesting rocks, some pretty reflecting pools, and some waterfalls. There were two lakes, one above another at the west end of the pass, pictured below.
Heading back south toward our campsite, we hiked down the ridge and then along the large lake. We passed our campsite and walked around the lake to peek over into the sunken valley to the south.
After scrambling up for the view above the lakes (pic above), we headed back to camp to prepare supper in our designated food prep area. We chose a spot by the water 100 or so metres away from the tent. We boiled water and took some pics and enjoyed the calmness of the area.
The next morning we woke to hazy skies and a calm lake. The smoke from the fires down south were unfortunately making their way into Jasper and was even making the sun blood red. We had coffee and breakfast down by the lake again, and after breakfast we explored up on the ridge south east of camp for a nice shot back toward the lake. Then we broke down camp, packed up, made sure we left absolutely no trace of our presence there, and then headed across the hummocky landscape back to the trail.