Glaciers, thunderstorms and soggy Goldens
I would like to acknowledge that this hike past through the ancestral and traditional territories of Indigenous Peoples. The Blackfoot Confederacy, Tsuut’ina, Stoney (Ĩyãħé) Nakoda, Cree, Lheidli T’enneh, Ktunaxa, Secwepemc, Sinixt and Métis who have called the Rocky Mountains home since time immemorial. I acknowledge the many Indigenous Peoples in Canada whose footsteps have marked these lands for generations and I am grateful to be a visitor in these lands.
The plan for the father-daughter hike of 2022 was suppose to be a three day adventure up and over the Northover Ridge in Kananaskis. The trip was planned for three days August 20 – 22nd. As we got got closer to the day of the trip I became concerned because there were numerous wildfires in the area and the Northover Ridge was directly in the path of the smoke from the fires..
Since I did not think that it would be worthwhile to do all the work to get up to the Northover Ridge and then not to be able to enjoy the view I started looking for alternative hikes. I came up with two possible options. The first option was Pinto Lake north of Saskatchewan River Crossing and the second was a three day hike on the Rockwall in Kootenay NP. Siobhan was not really interested in either option as she had been looking forward to doing the Northover Ridge all summer. I did convince her that the Northover would not be a good option and she grudgingly settled on doing the Rockwall. We were suppose to hike with a friend on the Northover and he agreed that we should abandon the idea due to smoke but he preferred Pinto Lake to Rockwall, stating correctly that we had just done the Rockwall a couple of years ago in 2020. When Siobhan and I settled on the Rockwall our friend dropped out of the trip but he did later admit after hearing of our adventures that he should have came.
As it was about a week after the end of my Great Divide Trail Section D hike and the start of the hike on the Rockwall most of my gear was ready to go but of course we needed some food. I quickly made some cannelloni and dried it making at least our meal for the first night. For the second night we would have locally prepared dried backpacking meals from Peak Eats.
With the food organized we were ready to go on our adventure. We would be using Siobhan’s new Copper Spur HV UL2 two person tent. The tent was less than a 1 lb heavier than my Zpack Duplex and had a lot more space. On a three day trip I was quite sure we could afford to carry the extra 1 lb. We also took two beers each but I packed them not really trusting Siobhan after she left the beers in the fridge on our last trip on Iceline in Yoho NP in 2020.
Our plan was for a three day hike. We would hike from the trail head at the Paint Pots and camp at Helmet Falls CG and then at Tumbling Creek CG. Once at Tumbling Creek CG we would have two choices. If the weather was good we would continue up Tumbling Pass then down and hike out to Numa Creek trailhead. If the weather was poor we would hike out to the Paint Pots. To make all this work I brought my old mountain bike with me. The plan was to stop at the Paint Pots and drop off Siobhan with the backpacks. I would then continue down the highway to the Numa Creek trailhead and park the car there and ride the bike back up the highway to rejoin Siobhan. We would then lock my bike to one of the Parks Canada signs and begin our adventure. If everything worked out we would hike out to Numa Creek where the car was parked. If the weather was bad we would hike out to the Paint Pots and I would ride my bike back down the highway to get the car. I like having options.
We did end up getting caught up in a doozy of a thunderstorm on day two. I must say I was impressed on how calm and cool Siobhan was and how easily we discussed our options and came up with a plan. It is good to know your hiking partner is reliable under pressure.
What we learned:
- Poncho in the rain is still not perfect. The large armpits allow water to drip inside. I feel the poncho is designed for hiking in warm summer rainstorms.
- Camp chairs rock
- Waiting for the weather to pass is a great strategy. Dry and safe.
- You can survive a summer backpacking trip without beer (what we learned in 2021) but beer is makes it better.