Day 24 to 31
The title says it all. The rock wall. A 70 km stretch of mountain wall that you hike up and down a series of passes cramped together along the towering walls of limestone and granite. The first day was a 38km day from near Field (where I was dropped off 😉 up to Helmet falls where I will meet Chad and Mark. I am most excited to share this part of my hike with two of the guys I have spent the last 8 years hiking with! And Chad was the one who introduced me to this whole long distance hiking thing. It started with a garbage bag full of steak bites in the middle of Grizzly valley and no bear spray (but that’s another story), to now hiking the infamous rock wall, pack around 30-35lbs, well suited and having hiked half of the GDT. And I would like to say thanks to Mark and Chad who hiked up some of my food re-supply for me, the fresh food was divine!!
For Chad, Mark and I this part of the GDT is a long time dream
For Chad, Mark and I this part of the GDT is a long time dream. The three of us have hiked nearly a decade together. We have often hiked or climbed with other friends, and I believe we all put an effort in to make it happen each year. And so we have nick-named our group of backcountry fools the ramblers.
Having been hiking for the last four months, my pace initially was fast. The pace then slightly slowed from what I am used to doing each day so that the three of us can enjoy each campsite location day by day. A very welcomed change, especially with my knee. Mark and Chad took lead most of the time which was also a nice mental break.
A couple days into the hike, Mark hiked out early to get back to some crops. Chad and I were left to hike the final days along the rock wall. The odd part is that we spent a good part of the hike with a new friend, Martin. A German lad who has been out here for a week or so. Who also happens to be a doctor (well almost). After some chatting and looking at my knee and such, his opinion is that it could be damaged or torn meniscus, damaged ACL or something. Martin recommended that I take some time off. Like months and months. I won’t do that, but maybe a week or two. Chad wants to head back to Edmonton and get ready for a fishing trip and could be a good opportunity for me to go home and rest and re-pack for the final leg.
The last day of the rock wall hike is spent at a place called Floe Lake. It should really be re-named If heaven exists on Earth, then its right damn here. Lake. The beauty of the cold blue lake against the harsh and stunning rock wall that curls slightly around the far end of the lake as it feeds into 3 rivers towards the valley that HW93 runs through is phenomenal. I would have to say that I think this is the most beautiful camp spot I have yet to stay at. The Skyline trail near Jasper provide some amazing views and beautiful spots, the Iceline trail through Yoho had dozens of waterfalls and lush beautiful camp grounds….but this lake. This spot. Is near perfect. The only arguable downside is the 18 tent pads which is good for availability but makes for a busy place. Definitely among the best sites I have ever stayed at.
Oh, and yes we totally jumped in. It was cold, so very cold but incredibly refreshing! The other campers were soon to follow. I would say atleast half of everyone at the camp site jumped in.
We hiked out the next day, a long day with some rain and way to much downhill. Once we made it to the car I decide to come back to Canmore with Chad and enjoy a beer and some warm food, a hostel bed before heading home.
I will return to the trail or to Waterton park
My intention is to take a week or two to relax, return to the trail or to Waterton park to try and bag some solo summits on anything Class 3 or 4. Money and time will be the controllers but I will keep everyone posted on where I am off to next!
Super cheesy Selfie closing picture.