Earlier this fall I had the chance to go on a two night trip into the Tonquin Valley, located in Japer National Park with some friends. It turned out to be my favourite area of Jasper park that I’ve visited to date.
As it turns out we visited during the perfect time of year, the second weekend in September. The area is usually plagued by mosquitoes much of the year but it seems some cold snaps must have killed them off already. In addition to very few mosquitoes, we also saw very few people. We saw less than 10 people over the three days. One night we even had Surprise Point campground (usually very popular) all to ourselves.
I’m glad I was with a group of three other people as I’ve never ever seen so many signs of bears anywhere. Not surprisingly on the second day we saw a grizzly bear eating some greens along the side of Outpost Lake. He saw us and watched us for a while and then shortly after lost interested and resumed eating. As he was eating, he kept continuing in our direction. Luckily we were in front of the Wates-Gibson Memorial Hut, so we had somewhere safe to retreat to if necessary. Since we needed to head back to our campsite, we decided to leave while we still knew where the bear was, as not to accidentally encounter it. All was well and we headed back to Surprise Point campsite.
That would not be our last animal encounter of the day. While sitting on the shore of Amethyst Lake, we spotted some rare Woodland Caribou.
It was really a wonderful trip and turned out to be my only backpacking trip of the year. Here are some photos of the trip.