Back Country Labrador

Taking my Chocolate Lab Mya into the back country camping was one of those things I never thought was going to be an option for us. Mya came to us at 18 months of age, she had already gone thru three homes and had so much energy she would run herself to complete exhaustion. I quickly nicknamed her Crazy Brown Dog!  

Here are the three things that needed to happen if back country camping was ever going to be in the cards for us.

Back Country Lab ~ My Slice of Paradise

1. Maturity

Mya is now four years old and has matured enough that the reality of taking her with me was a real possibility. A car camping trip that included tent camping and the use of back country gear was step one. She would have to learn to stay in camp even with other people and dogs roaming the campground, sleep in the tent and have it still standing in the morning, be respectful of camp space. It was a success!

Back Country Lab ~ My Slice of Paradise

2.Leash manners & Recall

While on the trail your dog should be on leash (Mya is not a fan she would rather be running giant circles). This is extremely important in keeping you and your dog safe. Recall is just as important during off leash time. These two things take some training and practice to master which we are continually working on.

If you are staying in a campground with multiple different groups your dog should be comfortable with being tied up for their safety. Not everyone likes dogs. 

Back Country Lab ~ My Slice of Paradise

3.Gear

Your dog should be able to carry his/her own basic gear. Food, bowl, toy, bed and a first aid kit designed for dogs (I just add in dog specific items to my first aid kit). Mya has her own pack and carries her own gear. I make sure that it is not more than 25% of her weight, which for Mya is 20lbs. Introduction to the pack before the big trip is important even if the trip is only a day hike.Start off with no weight in the pack and build up slowly so that they can carry the weight comfortably. This should be a positive experience and not all dogs will take to a pack right away. Her bowl was collapsible so not take up much space and we brought her Kong along which gave her an energy outlet.

If you would like to hear about our trip I have the details of the trip to Whirlpool here

 

Maligne Canyon Ice Walk ~ Jasper, Alberta

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Back in January Sarah over at Stop Nothing but Time got up at the crack of dawn, loaded ourselves and our gear into the truck and headed to Jasper to stand on a frozen Lake Beauvert for sunrise.

Maligne Canyon Ice Walk ~ Jasper, Alberta

After some breakfast the decision was made to go hike Maligne Canyon. I have hiked this trail many times in the summer months and 2015 was my first winter Ice Walk.  Heading back into the frozen wonder of the canyon was something I was excited for.

How to get there…

From Jasper we take the Maligne Lake Road to the fifth bridge parking lot. This hike is enjoyed by many with multiple guided tours happening daily.

Maligne Canyon Ice Walk ~ Jasper, Alberta

Photo Credit Stop Nothing But Time

Gear is loaded up and Ice Trekkers are put on our feet to assist with traction (we are about to walk along a frozen river) and the truck key is safely stored away in a pack pocket.

What to Expect

As you cross the parking lot towards the river you will see a bridge that will take you across the river and signage with lots of information

Maligne Canyon ~ Jasper Alberta

Trailhead Signage

Maligne Canyon ~ Jasper Alberta

Fifth Bridge

With this only being my second time out on the ice walk I was surprised just how different it was from the visit in 2015.  As you approach the bridge that will take you across the river it is hard to believe that this river is completely frozen over just a few hundred yards up the way.

Maligne Canyon ~ Jasper Alberta

Once you cross the river and turn right along the trail you have two options to take you to the frozen section of the trail. We decided to take the path that takes you along the edge of the river before taking you back up to the trail for a short bit before heading back down to the river but this time it was frozen.

It is at this spot that I stopped took a few photos and started my hike along the frozen river

Maligne Canyon ~ Jasper Alberta

Waterfall at the point where you start the Ice Walk

Due to popularity of the area the path is well packed and visible

Maligne Canyon ~Jasper Alberta

Path along the river.

Maligne Canyon ~ Jasper Alberta

Always an opportunity to take a picture for others

 

The hike is not very long but has always taken me a good two to three hours to make my way up and then back.

Maligne Canyon ~Jasper Alberta

Maligne Canyon ~Jasper Alberta

Maligne Canyon ~Jasper Alberta

Maligne Canyon ~Jasper Alberta

 

Gear Needed

Winter boots
Ice Grippers
Appropriate clothing for weather
Hiking poles if you have them
Water
Camera

If you are ever in the Jasper National Park during winter I can not recommend this hike enough

Maligne Canyon Ice Walk ~ Jasper, Alberta

Maligne Canyon Ice Walk ~ Jasper, Alberta

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Jacque Lake ~ Jasper National Park

Girls only you say?

You bet this trip was planned as a all girls trip. There was six of us in total two of which were preteen girls.

Jacque Lake - Jasper National Park - Canada

Let the fun begin

So let’s just get right down to it

Elevation Gain: 240 m

Distance: 12.2kms into Jacque Lake

Difficulty: Easy

Directions to Trailhead

From Jasper
Take Highway 16 east towards Edmonton. Two km from Jasper, turn right across the bridge onto Maligne Road. Continue for 28 km south on the Maligne Road to the south end of Medicine Lake. Turn left into the parking lot.

 

Jacque Lake - Jasper National Park - Canada

Stop Nothing But Time hiking the old fire road with my Daughter

 

Trailhead to Jacque Lake Campground 12.2km

You will then find the tail head at the Beaver Lake Picnic Area. The hike begins on an old fire road for the first 4.8kms and at km 1.6 you will arrive at Beaver Lake. It’s a small lake with nice views where we saw canoes that you could rent (Check out Currie’s Guiding for more info).

 

Jacque Lake - Jasper National Park - Canada

Beaver Lake

 

3.2kms further down the trail you will arrive at the first of the Summit Lakes

 

Jacque Lake - Jasper National Park - Canada

The first of the three Summit Lakes

 

The trail turns to the right and goes into the forest. This is where you leave the old fire road and continue along a narrow rooty trail. We went in early fall so it was a lot drier than what you read about in the spring and summer months.

 

Jacque Lake - Jasper National Park - Canada

Part of the trail after the turn at Summit Lake

 

This was a long but easy hike and is a great overnight for families. I took my daughter (typical preteen on my hands at this time) on her first overnight trip here. Part of the appeal is that you can have a fire, which is a nice treat most of the back country campgrounds in the national park fires are prohibited.  With campfire comes SMORES!!!! I love this photo of Stop Nothing but Time 

 

Jacque Lake - Jasper National Park - Canada

Campfire and Smores

 

It was during this trip that I realized she was interested in taking photos. A love I was surprised to see and that she was coming to that age that she would no longer want to hike with me and this turned out to be her first backpacking trip and her last for over a year. With a new season approaching and her now armed with her own camera equipment she is showing a new interest in once again joining me for short hikes and overnights.

 

Jacque Lake - Jasper National Park - Canada

My daughter spending some time with the camera

 

The area is known to be frequented by moose and you can read many stories in the guest log that you will find in the common area. I was hoping to be one of the lucky ones that would be able to add to the stories but all I seen was a single cow moose meandering along the shallows at the opposite side of the lake munching on grasses.

 

Jacque Lake - Jasper National Park - Canada

Can you spot the moose?

 

Where do you book?

Reservations open in January for a bunch of the campgrounds in the National Park                           A backcountry camping permit is mandatory for all overnight trips and can be obtained online at reservations.pc.gc.ca or by calling 1877-737-3783

Non-refundable reservation fee $11 ($13.50 if done by phone)

In winter please check the local avalanche bulletins and condition

Jacque Lake ~ Jasper National Park




Adventures of the 4 legged kind

Thought it was finally time to do some introductions ..

Introducing Mya…

Mya is our  chocolate lab and at the age of four has finally matured enough that back country camping became a reality for her and I. My joined our family when she was 18 months and had already been thru three homes. We quickly nicknamed her “crazy brown dog” as she had so much energy that managing her was a challenge. Daily walks were not enough which did not take me long to realize. This girl needs to run and run hard. Fast Forward two and half years and she is still “crazy” but is learning the balance between on and off.

Mya - Chocolate Labrador - Hiking Dog - My Slice of Paradise

Mya my Chocolate Lab

My Little “stink”

Labradors ~ Hiking dogs ~ My Slice of Paradise

Tess my Charcoal Lab

What can I say about Tess? Well she is one beautiful girl who loves the trail but is terrified of her own shadow most days. Tent camping of any kind is not in the cards for her yet but is something we will be working towards.

This coming year will be lots of learning thru trial and error about what its like to take your dog not only on day hikes but overnights in the back country.

Make sure to follow along as I share my journey thru it all

Hiking Dogs - Labrador Retrievers - My Slice of Paradise