We planned to go on a 2.5 mile hike this morning in a place just inside the gates of Jasper National Park called Valley of the Five Lakes. The park office was closed when we set out, so we didn't have a map with us. I took a photo of the map board at the trailhead just in case, but we didn't think we'd need it. Wrong!! After taking our time making our way through the forest and valley, we came upon a huge lake when we were actually expecting to see three small lakes instead. We consulted the photo of the trail map (thank goodness for digital cameras!) and found that we missed the turn we had intended to take, and would be going the long way around. It was too late to turn back- the hike would have been just as long. So instead of going 2.5 miles, we did over 6! We had no idea that the kids were capable of more than a mile or two. Unicorn Girl (as she often refers to herself!) walked the entire way, and the Little Man made it over 3 miles before we had to give him a ride. The LT and I each carried him for well over a mile, so we will be extra sore tomorrow. Midas the Wonderdog was very excited when we set out, as he hasn't been on a hike in quite awhile, but even he was dragging along by the end.
Treasures found along the way
Under normal wrong-turn, long-hike circumstances, we would have taken our time getting back to our starting point. Today, we had already pre-paid for our afternoon rafting adventure. We walked as quickly as we could, and made it back to the hotel with only 20 minutes to spare to get everyone a quick lunch before heading back out again.
We were so excited to find a rafting company here that will take children of all ages out on the river. They have specially-designed rafts with extra-high sides. The ride was about an hour long with six sets of Class II rapids- enough to get our pants wet. The view from the river was very peaceful.
The adverture family
View from the river
So, we learned a couple of lessons today:
1. Our kids are easily capable of a 3-mile hike. This is an exciting discovery...we have been waiting for them to be old enough to go on longer hikes and had no idea that they are ready. We will be buying them both hiking shoes ASAP in Alaska- they earned them!
2. Bring water on all hikes, even if they are only supposed to last 45 minutes. Oops.
Tomorrow we are back to driving, thank goodness, because we will all want a rest after today. Our destination is Dawson Creek, BC- The start of the Alaska Highway!