Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Mount Assiniboine

Over the August long weekend Steven, Ken, and I went out to fulfill Steve's silver Duke of Edinburgh adventurous journey requirement. We took a 53 km backpack trip.

We started our trip at Sunshine Meadows (a ski resort).

Steven plans on taking this exact same picture again in the winter.

Rock Isle Lake, a popular day-hike destination.

We cruised through the first part of our day. Flat. Plenty of water - not that we needed it at this point.

When we got to Douglas Lake so quickly we couldn't believe it, and Citadel Pass was a breeze. At this rate, we'd be to Og Lake by 3pm!

Mount Assiniboine is the peak in the background.
Here we thought we'd hit Valley of the Rocks. If only. We actually don't have any pictures of Valley of the Rocks - we were working too hard. The terrain was uneven, and we went for hours without crossing another water source to refill our water bottles.

We finally came across this little pond at just the right time. We pumped water up through our new water filter system, which I was extra grateful for since I wouldn't normally want to drink standing water.

The last 5.5 km seemed longer than the previous 16 km we'd already hiked that day. (I'm sure partly due to the fact that we'd already done 16 km.) We reached the campsite, set up our tent, and then went to the cook area to make our dinner. We were in bear country, so cooking isn't done near the tents - this makes the whole experience more social with all the campers gathering together. I was fascinated by the other backpackers who were doing this purely for *fun*. We learned a thing or two about backcountry cooking, and shared adventure stories around our stoves. One guy brought chocolate-dipped fresh cherries in a pyrex dish. We all laughed at him packing in a heavy glass dish, but we also all enjoyed the treat.

All of our pictures of Og Lake are from the next morning. We actually did make it to Og Lake in the daylight (7pm) but we were crazy tired and I didn't even think of taking pictures.

Steven should really do all of our photography.

There's Mount Assiniboine again - much closer.

We left Og Lake at 10am, and arrived at Assiniboine Lodge about an hour and a half later.

Magog Lake at the base of Assiniboine. (There's also a Gog Lake - Og, Gog, Magog.)

It is possible to helicopter up to Assiniboine and stay in huts or the main lodge. (Ken figures we could go to San Francisco for the same money.) Anyhow, there were plenty of people around to ask to take a shot of us. Even better, we could buy a cold can of pop and use their beautiful facilities.

This marmot walked right up to us at Wonder Pass. You think it's been fed by a hiker or two?

Love these guys! Steven and I each started out with about 25 pounds on our backs, Ken took 30. We teased Steven we were going to give him more weight the second day to slow him down but we didn't. It's hard to keep up to a 16-year-old athlete.

The west end of Marvel Lake. The photo doesn't do it justice - the colour was incredible.

We needed to hike the length of the lake, which was much further than first glance.

There was waaaay too much of this on day 2.

Pumping water on an almost dried up creek. There were not nearly as many water sources as the map showed. We were totally fine, but we were smart and took advantage of water every chance we got.

Just after this we caught up with a family group of 19 people, parents and children down to 6 years old. I couldn't believe it! They'd hiked down from Magog that day, so not quite as far as we'd come, but still, I was amazed they took this on with young kids and that the kids did so well. I wish I'd asked if they'd taken the helicopter up.

Once again, the last 5.5 km were tough. Our feet were throbbing with the severe impact of trekking downhill with weight on our backs. Ken was starting to blister.

We camped for the night at the Bryant Creek 14 site. This site was a little ridiculous for separation of tenting and cooking, plus the water source was in the opposite direction. I hiked a few extra kilometres just to meet our camping needs that night.

Next morning we got up a little earlier, truly ready to get home. We hit the trail at 9am this time. This was supposed to be the easy day, and it would have been if we hadn't already hiked 40km in the two previous days. 

This Ptarmigan wasn't one bit afraid of us.

It was pretty flat. Lots of water.

A confluence where two rivers meet.

Same spot, less zoom.

The very last 5.5 km. Brutal.


Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Oh Barb. What a feat. What beautiful, beautiful country. Really outstanding. Thanks for lugging the good camera so we could see it, too.

Tiffany said...

Amazing! Congratulations to you all on a great hike! Alberta's mountains and lakes are beautiful.