GDT Day 41 – Ready to flip (flop)

Mileage: 7.1km

Our continuous thru has turned into a flip flop as we skipped ahead of where we got off trail today to be able to stay aligned with our permits. Assuming all goes well, we will come back in September to do the ~50km that we’ve skipped after we reach our northern terminus at Blueberry Lake.

The GDT is a bit of an odd trail as it has 2 northern terminuses (termini?) – Kakwa and Robson – but this year the Berg Lake Trail, and therefore access to the Robson terminus, is closed. The GDTA has listed several alternative options for ending the trail – Blueberry Lake, Moose River or Jasper townsite. So we had to decide between those – both the Moose River and Jasper seemed too short, so we opted for Blueberry. It will only add 2 days to our planned itinerary for Section F and assuming water levels are low enough at all the fords, it shouldn’t be too challenging. This is all contingent on us actually finishing Section E first, so wish us luck!

Onto what we actually did today, this morning Toothless actually slept in until 7am which was nice, but also meant we needed to hustle a little bit to pack everything up and be ready to go. Dan was giving us a ride towards Saskatchewan Crossing since it was on his way driving up to a trail maintenance trip (psst – volunteer with the GDTA and help improve the trail for future hikers, it’s both fun and rewarding!)

Bags packed and poached eggs, courtesy of T, enjoyed and everyone and their gear piled into the car and we were off. A brief stop at the Crossing Resort to pickup our resupply and sort it in the parking lot and then we got dropped off at the Owen Creek trailhead.

It was hot and smokey and both our bags were heavy – Kyle’s with all our food, and mine with the misc items that don’t fit in his when it’s fully loaded plus a bottle of Fireball to replace the whisky we finished off at Owen Pass in 2018. This meant we were making very slow progress along the trail. There’s no route finding challenges in this section, but it definitely more technical than many other areas. Lots of steep climbs around cliffy sections beside the river, washed out sections of trail and annoying sidehilling, and walking in the river itself when the banks are too steep and/or washed out.

As we got closer to camp I kept checking to see how much further it was and was disappointed everytime I saw we only progressed 100m since I last checked. Just as the route started to level out a bit, we reached our camp. As per the recommendations of other hikers in the app notes, we filled up on water before the steep 50m climb off trail and through bushes to the camp.

It was a nice little spot and we tried to quickly setup the tent and then eat dinner. A couple sips of Fireball capped off the day (no point carrying it if we don’t get to drink some!) and then we all tucked into bed. Toothless was full of wiggles, but still settled to sleep after only a few minutes.

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