An alpine pass leads to a river valley
Trailhead to Four Points Campground
Distance 13.9km, 331m elevation gain, 285m elevation loss, 5hrs 30min
We did not get the early start to the day we were hoping for. Ken surprised me with a 6 pack of beer. We left one beer each in the car, and each packed two beers in our backpacks. Backpacks were on and we were ready to go by 11:15am, with Frosty Paws, my stuffed cat who accompanies me on all my adventures, attached to my pack, serving as the trip’s mascot.
The hike started off down a wide gravel road until we reached Camp Parker. The trail then started in earnest, but was very well defined. After crossing Nigel Creek a couple of times, we started to go uphill.
This was where Ken got his first exposure to how quickly I could get distracted taking photos. As the hike continued, Ken soon became aware that if there was the sound of flowing water, I would have to stop to take 50 photos until I got the right shot.
The trail was well graded, and only got a little steep in the last few hundred metres before Nigel Pass. We arrived at Nigel Pass 3hrs 15min after starting. We stopped and had lunch. The amazing high alpine views we were hoping for were obscured by smoke from forest fires.
We crossed a stream then started a steady descent. We met some other hikers who were hiking from Saskatchewan River Crossing to Jasper.
We descended on a scree slope and got our first view of the Brazeau River and its valley. We could see our trail heading off into the distance on a wide flood plain. We passed a nice waterfall but due to our late start, decided we would not linger today, but visit the falls (which would require some steep scrambling) on the return trip.
Once we arrived into the valley the trail was very smooth, and after a couple of river crossings, over some narrow bridges, we arrived at our first camp, Four Points Campground.
The campground had a “common area” in the centre, with the eating tables and tent sites around the outside. The bear hangs were conveniently located near the eating area, but a little way into the woods, away from the tents. There was a short walk, to an open air biffy. The campground was just off the trail, away from the river, nestled in some trees. While very sheltered, the campground offered little in the way of views.
The campground was not too busy, so we relaxed with a beer for a few minutes, and Ken pulled out some dark chocolate. One bar for each of us for the trip, so we could enjoy a few bites of chocolate after each day’s hike. We then set about getting camp set up.
After a delicious dinner of rehydrated food, we ventured out on a relaxing walk back to the river to take in the views. Some of the smoke had lifted, giving clear views of the peaks around us. A very good start to our trek.