Day 11, August 21st, Signal CG to Old Fort Point. 18.4 km, 64 m elevation gain, 963 m elevation loss, 4 hrs 42 min (Segment 28).
Both Emily and I had trouble sleeping. It was chilly night and despite drying our sleeping bags upon arrival in camp we both just felt a little damp all night. At 6:00 am we were both awake and since there was little chance of getting any more sleep we decide to get up even though we had a short day on easy trails.
At ten to eight we left our campsite. We yelled a good bye to the other group at the campsite that we had spent so much time with last night and began our last day on the trail. The first 8 km is downhill on a rocky fireroad. The hiking was fast and easy but offered little in the way of views. We did past two other hikers heading uphill. They were traveling super ultra light with small packs but the women did have a stuffy hanging off the back of her pack. We arrived at Maligne Canyon parking lot at 9:50 am exactly 2 hours after leaving Signal CG.
Emily has done quite a few long distance hikes and would not be described as a purist. Emily wants to hike the good parts and if that means skipping a road walk she is ok with that. I found out after the hike that Emily would have been happy to end our hike at Maligne Canyon. Emily later stated that she did not feel the need to walk the town trails to Jasper town site. I was not aware that Emily wanted to stop at the canyon so we did in fact continue on. I do agree with Emily about road walks but I was happy to spend a few hours walking the pleasant trails to Jasper.
The GDT has be rerouted through the last stretch to Jasper for a wildlife corridor. What struck me as strange was that there is a black diamond mountain bike trail right through the middle of the wildlife corridor. So fast moving mountain bikes won’t upset the wildlife but slow moving hikers will?
We arrived at Old Fort Point at 12:30 pm. It had taken us 2 hrs 40 min to hike the 10 km from Maligne Canyon. We had a couple of hours before Emily’s mom was due to arrive to pick us up. I took the extra time to wash my clothes in the river. While I was standing in the river I gave a quick look around and did not see anyone so gave myself a quick body wash in the cool waters of the Athabasca River. While I thought I ended up smelling pretty good when I got home Laura said I was only good to 4 feet!
I had a lovely conversation with a retired long time Jasper resident. He came by bench where we were relaxing and asked if we had seen a great white shark in the river. I am guessing he catches people off guard with that question but I have a warped sense of humour so I came back with a snappy reply which he enjoyed. We must have talked for 30 plus minutes. He was a long time millwright at Banff Park Lodge and had emigrated from England to Jasper as a young man and was now enjoying the retired life.
I do not have an end of hike video but I feel the last photo of Emily looking out across the Athabasca River at Cairngorm Mountain says it all.