By Michael Lanza
About three hours into our hike on the Skyline Trail in Canada’s Jasper National Park, a rumble of thunder rips the sky with a sound like a train derailment; moments later, the gray overcast that had rolled overhead maybe 30 minutes earlier starts spraying us with random bursts of raindrops. By the time the five of us have hurried into rain shells and flipped our hoods up, the rain commences in earnest, chauffeured by strong wind just as we emerge from forest into the alpine terrain.
Walking into the full brunt of the weather but dressed for it—and this crew has deep experience with all kinds of nasty weather—we just push on through the rain, motivated by the first taste of the scenery that awaits in greater glory ahead. Plus, we face several more miles of hiking to our first camp on the Skyline Trail in Jasper, the much-less-visited but larger sister park of its joined-at-the-hip sibling, Banff, in the Canadian Rockies.