A walk along a river
Four Points Campground to Brazeau River Campground
Distance 14.9km, 85m elevation gain, 190m elevation loss, 6hrs 15min
This day was going to be a walk down a river valley, very easy and straightforward hiking. We were in no rush to get up. We had a good lie in, ate breakfast, including a Starbucks instant coffee, and had the tent site cleaned up by 10:15am.
We traversed up a small meadow through the trees to start the day. We quickly came back to the river. The smoke had disappeared and the clouds had lifted, giving us the views of the mountaintops we had been denied on Day 1’s hike.
The trail was well graded and easy to follow. It meandered into the woods and back to the river frequently. The path was very easy on the feet.
We stopped at 1:15pm to have lunch. The trail had been in the woods for a while and did not offer anything in the way of a nice view for lunch. So we headed down a little creek to the river. The creek opened up to a marvelous little rocky canyon, perfect for lunch.
After refueling, there was some picture taking and Ken did some exploring on the rocks, then we headed back up the creek to the main trail.
Almost immediately we came across three hikers who had stopped on the trail to have lunch. They had given up looking for a lunch spot with a view, and just sat at the side of the trail and ate in the woods. After a short chat, we continued on.
The trail started going back to the river, with views of the river cutting through numerous small canyons, exposing all types of sedimentary rock (geology–another one of my interests).
We came across a bridge destroyed in the floods a few years ago. The bridge was for the horses to come back to the west side, so it did not affect us.
We then reached a large canyon that just begged to be photographed. The hill down was very steep and we had to take some care not to fall, as the landing would have been very rough. After many pictures were taken by the two of us, it was time to move on.
We encountered a solo hiker resting on a small bridge over a stream. She was on her first backpacking trip, a two-week trip that would take her just outside the Jasper National Park and up towards Hinton. She was taking a rest before heading on to the same campsite as us. Little did we know that the campsite was less than 2 minutes away and could be seen through the trees.
We had a little snack and set up the tent.
Then Ken suggested that since it had be a relatively easy day, we should take a quick hike up the Brazeau Lake.
Brazeau Lake Campground is not actually on the main trail, so we did a quick 5.2km trip, to check it out.
Brazeau Lake did not disappoint. Although the clouds where hanging close to the mountains, the views along the lake were amazing. We spent some time exploring the lake shore.
When the clouds started to darken, we hustled back to our campground. We grabbed our beer, which we had stashed under the bridge in the North Brazeau River, and headed to go make dinner. The trip took a total of 1hr 30min.
Ken decided that we should put up his tarp to cover the table for dinner, as rain appeared imminent. Very soon the other guests at the campsite turned up to have dinner (there were only two other groups, most people had chosen Brazeau Lake Campsite as their destination), and the six of us enjoyed long conversations, while staying dry under the tarp. Of the six of us at the campsite, five were teachers; we had many discussions on different ideas, while probably boring the one solo hiker who was not a teacher. Ken still has not tracked down the refillable whiteboard markers we talked about.
We cleaned up the dinner area, hung up our food and headed to bed. Tomorrow would be the day with the most elevation.