GDT Day 11 – Finally off the road!

Mileage: 15.3km

We were awoken by cows trying to invade our tent – at least that’s what it sounded like when Kyle told me at 5:30am that cows were beside the tent. I ignored him and rolled over trying to eke out the last few minutes of sleep before Toothless got up for the day.

Around 6am, Toothless woke for the day and I peeked out the mesh and did see that the cows had moved quite close. Around now, the cows also started mooing at each other – I never realized quite the variety and volume of sounds cows make.

It was a slow morning for us packing up and we hit the “trail” for our last 2km of roadwalking for a while around 8am. After 2km, we got to turn off into the High Rock Trail – a route the GDTA has been building for several years to bypass the current official route which follows ATV trails up until Tornado Saddle. We’ve been lucky to participate in several trail building trips on this route and were quite excited to actually get to hike it now!

One damper on our first day on good trail in about 100km was the fact smoke had rolled in overnight – it was both noticeably hazy and there was a distinct campfire smell permeating the air. We crossed our fingers the wind would change to help it dissipate and started climbing up to our first ridge.

The Seven Sisters quickly come into full display on the east with the Rockies on the west as we walked along the beautiful trail. Kyle found a cairn he built on the trail building trip last summer he was particularly proud of.

We stopped at South Racehorse Creek for lunch – unfortunately the small footbridge was already damaged, still passable, but a bit bouncy.

Then we started our final climb towards Window Mountain Lake. It is nicely switchbacked with the exception of the final kilometre before the lake – it was on pre-existing trail that seems to be trying to get to the lake with as much vertical and as little horizontal travel as possible.

Once at the lake, I attempted to go swimming, but found it to be too rocky to venture more than shin deep. So I settled for sitting on the bank and soaking my feet before dinner.

As we started heading towards the tent to get Toothless into bed, one of the hikers who had been at A Safe Haven while we were there arrived with a friend who was joining her for the section.

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