GDT Day 34 – the seven trials of the GDT

Mileage: 21.4 km (ish)

I was surprised this morning when Natasha sprung out of bed at 5:20 am to get Toothless up when he was fussing. I thought “she must be gearing up for an early start!”. Turns out she thought it was closer to 7:00am … but I’ll take the early start I guess!

The smoke that rolled into Field last night had stuck around in the distance but cleared up near the ground as the forecast predicted. Phew! Looks bad but the air quality is okay.

We had decided yesterday to hike the main GDT route along the Amiskwi rather than doing the Kiwetinok Pass.

The Kiwetinok alternate is supposed to have good trail for most of the length but has a steep section with talus in the last 7km or so. While that’s hard enough for us with Toothless (but very doable, but slow) with the mileage we can do in a day we would be doing the talus tomorrow, in the rain.

And the ridge walk would be done in the smoke with uncertain air quality at that elevation (and no views).

The Amiskwi route is very, very brushy and has a significant number of downed trees. While this sounds not fun (it’s not) we figured it would be safer to do. The plan was to try to do as much of the brush as possible today and head into the river tomorrow when it rains. The walk along the river after first fording the Amiskwi River is already wet on your feet (but not a carwash since far less brush) so rain doesn’t really change things much. Hiking in heavy rain in thick brush is not fun though…

So today we started walking from the Truffle Pig at 7:00am and made as good use of our morning as possible. By 8:30am we reached the picnic area and stopped for a break for Toothless to wiggle and snack.

After a short break we got walking again and reached the deadfall quickly. Thankfully we have been expecting it so it didn’t bother us much, just slow us down. At first it’s straight forward since the old road is so wide; you have lots of room to find a way around, over or under each one. But after a while it gets thicker and the deadfall gets more dense. Natasha was climbing over and under that with Toothless sleeping on her chest. She was doing crazy stuff, lifting her legs really high to climb over or army crawling under. Toothless stayed asleep the whole time. I was impressed!

After (well, during, then after) the deadfall was the brush. Fun. Then it started raining. More fun.

Thankfully Toothless woke and we had a quick lunch in the rain under the umbrella. Just in time for the rain to stop. Just enough rain to get the brush wet.

Since Toothless was awake we chatted a bit as we hiked and he seemed okay just hanging out walking through thick willows.

I got to thinking about the seven trials of the GDT:

  1. Hiking up a mountain (ridge, pass, shoulder) without a defined, stable trail
  2. Navigating without following a blue dot
  3. Crossing a river
  4. Hiking in the river
  5. “Swimming” through the willows
  6. Going over avalanche debris and deadfall
  7. Roadwalking into town

The Amiskwi is.. not fun .. but it checks off almost all of these. 4 and 5 are first done here and it’s a good confidence booster before you have to do it a lot more frequently later.

Anyways, we hiked through more brush and eventually found a clearing next to the road to set up the tent at. We ate, Toothless crawled around and we met some Section hikers who chose to hike Section D.

During dinner the sky cleared and we got blue skies. Sometimes we get a short downpour but it’s much more clear out now.

Toothless was way too excited today and was blowing off steam before bed and fell asleep in minutes.

Tomorrow the rain doesn’t look as bad with the revised forecast so I’m hoping to go through the rest of the willows before the rain. Then wet feet all day baby!

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