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Topic: The Rebeccas In Canada 3, Kootenay NP and the Rockwall< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 01 2013, 1:33 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

At the end of 5 days in the parks, we moved on to Kootenay National Park, which is long and skinny on either side of Highway 93.  We spent one day in Banff doing laundry, shopping for food (and for gaiters, which we'd been warned we'd need, and didn't), and connecting to the internet at the library.  Then a day checking out the Stanley Glacier.


That hike varied from about 5 miles RT for the boys to more like 8 for the spouse.  I stuck with something in between, climbing to a great view of the glacier without killing myself.


The boys were mostly interested in a particular cave in the cave-riddled limestone valley walls, purported to have bats (Second Son saw one, and others of us saw. . . signs).  It also had a drip-curtain in front of it.  


Higher up I got good views of the Stanley Glacier, and a marmot chose to pose for photos.  


Waterfalls tumbled from the cliffs everywhere I looked, and the water disappeared into the glacial till below, to reappear a far way down as Stanley Creek, which bounced enthusiastically down to join the Vermillion River.

The next day we were set to begin our first Canadian Rockies backpack, the Rockwall.  This 35-mile trail follows a striking feature, some 2500 feet of vertical face that extends for 20 miles with only one pass through it.  The trail skirts the base of the cliffs, crossing from drainage to drainage over passes with 2500’ or more of vertical change in a few miles.  We did it in 5 ˝ days (5 nights), though many do it in 3 or 4 nights.  Many of those who did so were envious of us.

As it’s not quite a loop, the spouse dropped us of at the start, and went to leave the car at the end, hitching back easily (that was actually what the rangers [wardens] recommended).  By the time we’d packed and sorted and dried gear from an early-morning hailstorm, then done the shuttle, however, it was after noon before we started hiking, at Marble Canyon (due to a bridge being washed out at the Paint Pots, where it would normally begin).


The hike from Marble Canyon to the Paint Pots ran through a section of forest burned in the extensive 2003 fire, which was extensive.  It is coming back nicely, but also clearly flooded a bit in floods of June 2013.


 We also took a look at the Paint Pots, which get their color from iron in the soil, and give the name both to Ochre Creek and the Vermillion River (which river is, in fact, the same glacial blue-green of all the water we saw on the trip).


Our first night we camped at the junction of Ochre Creek and Helmet Creek, one of only two sites that allowed fires.  Backcountry camping in the Canadian parks is heavily regulated, so that we had to camp each night in a designated campground, which did have the advantage of providing food storage (usually a locker), tables (backcountry cooking without stooping!), toilets, and, where permitted, a fire pit.

Next day, we really began to move into the more interesting terrain, ascending Helmet Creek.  The boys found a swing-bridge crossing a good place to re-enact the battle between Gandalf and the balrog.


Finally, we reached the head of the valley, and camp, where the kitchen had a great view of 350-meter Helmet Falls.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 01 2013, 1:44 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Day Three found us climbing the first two of four major passes (in 35 miles, this route goes daily from passes of 2200-meters plus to camps at 1700 or 1800 meters).  We quickly entered a larch forest, I think a first for our boys.

This was a two-pass day, though the drop between wasn’t too extreme (actually, 250 meters is plenty.  But it sounds like less in meters than in feet).  Weather was unstable, however, and at the high point, with very few trees to be found, we had to hunker to take a break and enjoy the view.

We also detoured a short distance to look through Wolverine Pass, the only gap in the Rockwall, which gave a view across the Columbia Trench, a mighty hole in the ground between mountain ranges (and nearly the headwaters of the Columbia River).  From there we made a moderately painful descent to Tumbling Creek, where we were able to pop up the tents just in time before the rain hit, and ate lunch under some trees big enough to not care it was raining.  An hour or two later, the rain quit, and, with the entire 18-site camp to ourselves, the DH and I went and found a site with less shelter and more view.  Mosquitoes were a moderate annoyance, so being able to lie in the tent and watch the mountains was a bonus.


Morning found us again making an early start to avoid whatever weather might come—more rain or more sun.  A long, painful slog brought us to Tumbling Pass, where we could stare at the belly of the Tumbling Glacier.  
 

Then followed a painful descent to the Numa Creek Camp, most notable for a wobbly bridge between the tent area and the kitchen, and an outhouse tilted at an angle that made using it. . . interesting.


Day 5 brought the longest climb, and mileage to match the previous day, but we were comforted knowing we’d not have to descend nearly as far.  The climb from Numa Creek to Numa Pass wasn’t quite unrelenting. . . it had some flattish bits, and some places worth taking a break.  Weather and bugs both allowed some relaxation.

Finally, the pass.  Second Son snapped this one of us.


We hung out for a while, enjoying the view of the Rockwall off to the north, and Flow Lake below us, knowing we were in good time to nab our campsite, even as popular as Flow Lake is (and it did fill up by dark).


Once again we go tents up fast, due to bugs, and the DH and I were bold enough to jump in the lake (I was in too much of a hurry, and bashed my knee something fierce—it would hardly bend the rest of the day, and I was sure I was in deep trouble; happily the swelling went down overnight and I didn’t have any trouble).  After lunch and baths, we waited out another rainshower in the tents (good thing I’d loaded a pair of Nook e-readers with a boat-load of books, because we used them up, between rain and bugs).

Sunset and sunrise on Flow Lake—especially the latter, which only my husband and I experienced that morning—put a great top on the trip.



The final day, as so often, felt a bit anti-climatic, hammering downhill for six miles to get out and go find lunch, as we’d eaten all our food.  But I took time for a few photos of fireweed as we passed back into the burn area.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 01 2013, 1:44 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Dang limits on the number of photos!  I'll be back tomorrow with some more, but for now I need to hit the sack!

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 01 2013, 9:32 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

WOW!!!!  Just wow!  You got to send me the details on that trips, where, etc.  I got to get there!  So beautiful!  The picture looking into the gorge with that amazing water is perfect and nothing personifies the comfort of backpacking like the picture with you in the tent, no rain-fly, warm socks, warm/fluffy sleeping bags and a view.  I could almost feel myself surrounded by nature when looking at that pic.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 01 2013, 10:31 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Looks like a fantastic trip. Great photos!

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Looking out the window
The trees are getting closer, it seems
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 01 2013, 11:03 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Okay, here are some of the photos I had to cut out to get the post down to ten pictures.  I should have split the report into three sections, but it was getting late.  I decided to do an okay job rather than waiting forever for time to do a really good job.

Here's another look at Marble Canyon (which is all limestone, no marble, BTW), for FF77:


Our boys enjoying the great outdoors at the first camp:


I wanna be the warden who gets to hang out here:


Dropping from Rockwall Pass to Wolverine Pass


Heather and the Tumbling Glacier


Numa Camp was low and in the trees, but there were tantalizing glimpses of coolness:


Eldest Son atop Numa Pass:


And, finally, maybe my favorite from the hike, morning at Floe Lake, with Spouse:


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 01 2013, 11:06 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Argh!  Only now (too late to edit) realize that I called the final lake "Flow" lake instead of "FLOE LAKE," as in ice floes.  As in that water we bathed in had a freaking glacier on the other side of the lake!

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 01 2013, 11:17 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That last picture is spectacular.

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Looking out the window
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 01 2013, 12:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(schlanky @ Oct. 01 2013, 8:17 am)
QUOTE
That last picture is spectacular.

Thank you!  There were maybe 15 or 20 minutes in the morning when the light was out of this world.  I felt both smug and sad that we were the only people who got up to see it.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 01 2013, 1:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

By the way, for any who missed them and are having trouble finding them, parts I and II are at:
and parts I and II are at:
http://forums.backpacker.com/cgi-bin....1166494

and
http://forums.backpacker.com/cgi-bin....1166579


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 01 2013, 9:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Awesome! Thanks for taking me away to a little slice of heaven!

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 01 2013, 9:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I liked the one from Floe Lake with Spouse the best, although both of them from marble canyon are good also.  thanks for taking the time to post this last installment.  

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 01 2013, 10:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Not the last, Zeke!  We were in the Rockies for 2 weeks more, and did another five-day pack trip as well as several incredible dayhikes, getting up into Jasper (more ice, less interesting peaks) and to Mt. Robson.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 01 2013, 11:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Your family obviously experienced some of our planets finest mountains at the best time of summer.  Fine set of pictures, well captured and presented.  Thanks as always Rebecca for taking the time to write up a trip story.  We of this age who make the effort to see such wonders are so lucky.  The first beings able to do so after thousands of generations of our ancestors.

The bilateral symetrical lake reflection of 0162.jpg has a face, very long beard, and some white cottony ear muffs.  Must be rather chilly out there at night.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 02 2013, 12:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Dave Senesac @ Oct. 01 2013, 8:24 pm)
QUOTE
.

The bilateral symetrical lake reflection of 0162.jpg has a face, very long beard, and some white cottony ear muffs.  Must be rather chilly out there at night.

Ha!  I'd only seen an ink-blot test!  Which I guess is what you saw, too. . .

As for chilly, despite all the glaciers, it was never terribly cold up there.  In fact, the coldest night of the trip was the last--spent just outside Bend, Oregon!


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 17 2014, 8:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

BREATHTAKING! INSPIRING! Thanks Rebecca! I love your trip reports. Sure miss the inspiration to get out of Texas more often!

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"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees."   John Muir   1898
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 19 2014, 2:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks,Brownmouse!  You also remind me that I've never finished the reports!

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 24 2014, 4:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Wow, great trip report and photos. Can't believe I just saw this.

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