Day 2 Luellen Lake Campground to Badger Pass Junction Campground, 7 km, 281 m Elevation Gain, 100 m Elevation Loss, 2 hrs 24 min.
We slept in late, waiting for the rain to stop. Our plan for today was to hike to Badger Pass Junction Campground, about 7 km, drop our packs and make an out and back hike up Badger Pass, 6 km one way and 430 m of elevation gain. We got out of the tent just before 10 am, not very hopeful of making it up Badger Pass, and went to make breakfast. The rain was coming down gently as we boiled our water.
After breakfast, at about 11:20 am, it stopped raining, I rushed to take photos Luellen Lake and the reflections off the now smooth surface. Was it done raining for the day?
We hit the trail at noon, not exactly an alpine start, but it was not raining, if the rain held off the possibility of doing Badger Pass was high.
We made it back to the creek crossing in about 15 minutes, and back on the main trail inside 20 minutes.
About 500 m after rejoining the main trail, we went over a bridge back to the west side of the creek. After 40 minutes of hiking, the rain was holding off, we still had not opened our umbrellas. The trail was muddy from yesterdays rain, and our feet were getting wet, but the rest of us was staying dry. Then just before 12:50 pm, the rain started coming down, quickly forming rivers of water in the trail.
At 1 pm, 2 km past where we had joined the main trail, we came to another bridge, taking us back to the east side of the river. With a steady rain coming down, Ken hopped down off the bridge, looked at me and said “You know, I’m not having any fun.” It was kind of hard to argue with rain and mud all around us. We discussed our two main options. We could just turn around, or keep going and see what tomorrow brings. I had already put it out there yesterday that I was prepared to wait until the morning of day 3, and that is what we ended up deciding on doing.
The trail left the river and cut up the hillside to higher ground. We came across the couple from North Carolina as we crossed a grassy meadow. They were moving really slow, we stopped to chat for a bit. They were here on a two week trip. The Sawback was to be a five day trip, followed by a hike into Tonquin Valley in Jasper. As we chatted, we found out that their goal for this day was Block Lake Junction, a further 12 km past Badger Pass Junction. Looking at their body language, both Ken and I both thought that they were in for a long day.
We arrived at the junction with Badge Pass at 2:08pm, covering 6.5 km from Luellen Lake. Badger Pass Junction Campground was about another 500 m, located off the main trail in a stand of trees.
We hiked up the short trail leading to the campsite, which was on a small hill with covered in trees, and quickly found ourselves a sheltered campsite. We hung up gear in sheltered areas under the trees, had some snacks and got busy setting up camp.
It continued to rain all afternoon. So we opted out of hiking up Badger Pass. We hunkered down in the tent to stay warm and dry. We both had audio to lessen to our our devices. I listened to a CBC Quirks and Quarks episode and nodded off to sleep. Other hikers slowly arrived throughout the afternoon. During a lull in the rain, we struck up a conversation with a women who had arrived with her husband. Turns out she knew Ken’s wife and had been a student at our school. She shared a very funny story about one of the teachers at the school from when she was a student. It is amazing how you can find people you have connections to out in the backcountry. The rain had tapered off, but it was still drizzling out. At 6:30 pm, we thought we had waited long enough to have dinner. The dining area had a nice view of Pulsatilla Mountain, but was very wet and muddy.
After tidying up dinner, we went back to our campsite. The skies suddenly brightened, and for the first time on the trip we saw patches of blue skies. Our moods improved with weather, for the first time all day, I was actually optimistic about completing our hike.
We wandered around like a couple kids let out at recess. It had been a lot of work to get here, the relief in seeing the mountains was exhilarating.
We headed back to camp, I checked my shoes, they were still wet. We both read for a while, lights out was around 9 pm. Tomorrow was going to be a good day.