You always need new stories. That was the advice given out in a free seminar on getting more out of life. Our newly-adopted method of getting those new stories seems to be to go backpacking, with at least one trip per year which ventures into unknown territory. Last year it was Nootka Trail; this year we took a break (!) from the coast and headed for the high mountains of the Rockies, and the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies – Mount Robson.
Now, the first thing to get straight is that we did not climb to the top. Mount Robson peaks at nearly 13,000 feet and requires climbing and glacier-crossing skills to reach it. No, we were just visiting the area around Mount Robson, with the added bonus of actually being able to see it. Our plan called for six days away from home, a little rushed but that’s because we had already squeezed in a trip to Cathedral Park a couple of weeks earlier. Two days for travel left four days for the backpacking bit. Unlike Nootka, this was an “out and back” trip, and one of the days was actually spent day-hiking, not backpacking at all. In reality, then, it was a backpack in to (and out from) a base camp, then do day-hikes from there. But in all we would cover almost twice the distance we’d hiked on the Nootka Trail, 69 km compared with 37 km. And this time we had significant elevation to gain: 800 m to Berg Lake, another 800 m to Snowbird Pass, about 500 m up to The Cave.
Again it was a group of four of us: myself, Maria, Merewyn (a regular backpacking companion by now) and Andrew, whom we’d only met earlier in the year. A group of four has a good feel to it, and is really the minimum number required for such a trip. Since we were venturing into grizzly bear territory, it could be argued that we should have been 6. But the Berg Lake trail is a popular one, and we didn’t anticipate any issues there.
The itinerary, then, looked like this:
Day 1 – Drive from Vancouver to Mount Robson;
Day 2 – Hike 16 km to Emperor Falls campground;
Day 3 – Hike 5 km to Berg Lake campground, hike another 5 km to Toboggan Falls and The Cave;
Day 4 – Hike 22 km (return) to Snowbird Pass;
Day 5 – Hike 21 km to trailhead;
Day 6 – Return to Vancouver, speeding ticket in hand.
Yeah, you read that right. I got a speeding ticket. Clocked at 21 km/h over the limit near Clearwater. Sigh. My first ever in 15 years’ driving. All I can say is that it’s a good job I wasn’t caught 10 minutes earlier…
But enough of that. Let’s get on with the trip! :-)