A misty walk to a wondrous alpine valley.
Day 4 Jonas Cutoff CG to Four Points CG.
Distance 18.9km, 350m elevation gain, 580m elevation loss, 7hrs 30min.
Woke up to a soft drizzle of rain. We were expecting rain on the trip, so this came as no surprise. We had a nice hot breakfast to get the day off on the right foot. Had a nice chat with an older couple who were already to head out on their day as we were getting our food down from the bear hang.
Ken had a couple of ibuprofens for his ankle, popped open his umbrella, and headed off on the day’s hike.
It felt like we were almost retracing our route from yesterday, but there was a ridge that separated our trail from yesterday and today. We gained elevation steadily on at a nice pace, the clouds were thick, but bright.
We quickly rose above treeline, back to the grasses of the high alpine of yesterday.
The pass we were headed for was the high point of the hike, and took us into a rock dominated landscape, with short grasses and lichen.
Approaching Jonas Shoulder, we crested a small rise, a large loose looking rock wall confronted us.
We had to drop down into a small depression, there was no defined trail here. We made our way over to the trail over the shoulder, we could see the switchbacks easily from a distance. As we climbed higher, the rain intensified.
We arrived at a blustery Jonas Shoulder after 3.1km of hiking, climbing 360m, in 1hr and 40 minutes. It was all downhill from here.
We started to head downhill, and while I thought we were hiking at a good pace, a couple of young German fellows, caught and passed us. I did not remember seeing them at the campground.
The rain let off, and the clouds lifted somewhat to reveal a large lake on the other side of the valley. We continued heading down at a nice steady rate. Some birds flew by, Ken quickly identified them.
Despite the gloomy sky, I did my best to take photos of the landscape. The flanks of the mountains surrounding the valley were covered in snowfields, a reminder of how high we were. After 90 minutes of easy descending, we went up a small rise, then proceeded down the valley.
The skies brightened up, umbrellas were put away and we actually warmed up. Among the snowfields were some glaciers, always impressive to see them up close.
After a quick lunch, we continued on our way. After going over the high point of the valley, it was interesting to see the headwaters of Four Points Creek emerge among the rocks.
The sun actually made an appearance. We past many flowers and streams that cried out for photographs. Ken, who was leading, took to yelling “Shutterbug” whenever he heard running water.
I even found some rocks that stood out, and needed photographing.
After hiking among the grasses of the pass for most of the afternoon, the trail headed downhill into a thick forest. Coming into Four Points Campground the trail drops quickly, losing 300m of elevation in just 1.5km.
We arrived into camp at 4:45pm, and although this was early for us, the campsite was already very busy. There were clearly more tents, then there were campsites, as quite a few groups were doubled up. This was another case of us being happy that Ken had thought ahead to bring a few extras. Ken pulled out a length of rope from his backpack, and we were able safely hang our food.
We had a great group dinner with the Germans who had passed us earlier, plus Ed and his hiking partner. Ed was an amazing character. He is an artist, and carried his easel and paints the entire trip. He also had a philosophy, that a meal was not complete unless you added a 1/4lb of butter!
After dinner as we were getting ready for bed, we were approached by an older group of men, who had an unusual request. They first asked if we were finishing the hike the next day, which we were. Then they asked if they could purchase one of our sleeping pads. The men, who all lived in different parts of the United States, met up each year to do a hike together. This year they had chosen to come to Canada and hike the Brazeau Loop. One of them had forgotten to pack his sleeping pad. This was going to make for very long nights sleeping on the cold ground. I agreed to sell them my sleeping pad for $40 (like, who has cash in the backcountry), but I would get to use it one last time.
After a very full day, we called it a night.
Brazeau Loop Day 5