Sunday, August 11, 2013

Great Divide Trail hike – Where did we hike? Part 2

Banff National park – Saskatchewan River Crossing: 
220 km, 6 days, 7 800 m elevation gain

Camping sites: Healy Creek CG in Banff NP – Floe Lake CG in Kootenay NP – McArthur Creek CG in Yoho NP – Next to Amiskwi River in Yoho NP – Cairnes Creek CG – Next to Howse River in Banff NP


Route: Trans-Canada Highway – Sunshine Road – Healy Creek – Healy Pass – Egypt Lake – Whistling Pass – Ball Pass – Crossed Highway 93 – Floe Lake – Numa Pass – Numa Creek – Tumbling Pass – Rockwall Pass – Helmet Creek

Leaving Banff turned out to be more complicated than we thought since due to the storm the area was under the state of emergency declared by RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police). After already dealing with flood for ten days we weren’t too worried about what damaged areas in Banff had to offer us so we decided to go on without changing our route or waiting a few days like the park officials recommended. The water levels were definitely high but we witnessed nothing that we hadn’t seen before.

The weather was pretty hot for a few days and we spent lot of time hiking in higher altitudes. We crossed some huge snow fields that directly reflected the heat of the sun to us and as a result we burned our neck.


Though amazingly beautiful, Kootenay was also an exhausting park for us since hiking there meant going through continuous up- and downhills, mostly on snow or rocks, and therefor without a very good idea where the trail actually went. But the glaciers we passed were just breath- and picturetaking!


Route: Goodsir Pass – Ottertail River – Trans-Canada Highway – Railway – Amiskwi River – Otto Creek – Amiskwi Pass – Blaeberry River Road – Cairnes Creek – Howse Pass – Howse River – Saskatchewan River – Mistaya Canyon – Icefields Parkway – Saskatchewan River Crossing

As we approached Yoho National Park altitude went lower and weather even hotter. As an advice we don’t encourage anyone to walk on the railway to access the Kicking Horse Fire Road, especially if it’s roasting hot. It’s both illegal and extremely uncomfortable, and challenges your motivation to go on. The road was wide at first, then got smaller and bushier the further we went. And finally it disappeared.

 Different kinds of "trails"

Next challenger of motivation was powerful and deep Amiskwi River, which was pretty complicated to cross. It took us hours to find a safe and proper spot for crossing, which meant bushwhacking beside the river. At some point we called a disaster hike.

After reaching Amiskwi Pass and then a forestry road the hike got easier. We were pretty exhausted though, to the point apparently we were going on quietly and were able to surprise a black bear and a cup that were hanging around in the bush next to the road. The sow made some angry noises, drove the cup to a tree and stayed under it in the middle of the road. Not hard to guess who yielded back to the bush.

 Views from the road

Black bear, luckily now far enough

So we bushwhacked again what actually remained as the theme of the hike until we reached Saskatchewan River Crossing. It meant walking mainly in a forest modified by a storm some years ago and going over and under and around fallen logs every ten meters. We called it a nightmare several times. And we meant it.

 So dense you couldn't see in front of you

 The "trail"

 We added the smile afterwards. In real it was hideous.

 There were creeks with bridges...

  ...and without.

 Under a thunderstorm


It was rough for the shoes as well

Luckily the resupply in Saskatchewan River Crossing was awesome and we had our stomachs full of bread, chips, cookies and ice cream. We also made a store record by buying over 50 chocolate bars and just like that we were happy hikers again and ready to go on.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. You are hardcore. I've bushwhacked in some of the areas you went through and it's no picnic! Again, thanks for posting. Can't wait to read on...