GDT Day 42 – too many cairns on the tra-ail (too many cairns)

Mileage: 17.8 km

Well, not too many cairns, just a lot.

The air was warm this morning when we woke. I was surprised; with us being right above Owen Creek I expected it to be cold.

Before we got out of the tent I could tell it was smokey. The sunlight was diffused and the air smelled a little of smoke.

We got hiking refreshingly quick.

My ankle started out a little stiff but feeling okay. I’m hopeful it doesn’t get worse.

We followed good tread from camp to Owen Creek. I guess we didn’t have to bushwack to the camp after all! And it looks like a cooksite on the other side of the creek too.

The hike up Owen Creek at this point is very straight forward. You just hike up the creek.

But for some reason there are cairns every 50 m or so. Sometimes sooner. I guess someone wants reassuring that yes, you hike up the creek.

We arrived at the waterfalls shortly after starting. They are beautiful and at times the tread around them is very boggy. But this is when the walk up Owen Creek starts to get really beautiful and fun.

Most of the hike up the pass was as expected. Toothless slept a bunch and I listened to a podcast.

As we got close to the pass we saw a couple of hikers coming down. After a quick chat with them, we continued up into the haze.

The pass started to get windy on our way down. Unfortunately no sheep or wildlife sightings here this year.

We stopped at Michelle Lake for a wiggle break, shielded from the wind behind some boulders, and then kept moving.

As we approached the next saddle it looked like Natasha and I did not communicate very well. In 2018 we took the ridge as far as possible then cut across but this year we tried a different approach to avoid crossing a gully. Well, the approach Natasha took me on was up that gully. Not a big deal but we need to do better at communication.

We went down and took a lunch beak at the “waterfall campsite”, which was pleasant but not spectacular in the wind and smoke. At least the trees shielded us from most of the wind.

The hike up Pinto Pass was easy once you find a good route. Eventually we reached good trail that was marked heavily with cairns again. This continues up the pass and down the other side. The cairns are frequent and a bit disruptive. The tread and route is obvious so I feel like maybe cairns every 20-50 m aren’t needed.

We took a final break at the second Pinto Creek campsite, just in time for the rain to start. This is a horse camp with some camp furniture that makes it pleasant. Unfortunately the pit toilet has collapsed so that luxury isn’t available.

The trail down to Pinto lake is in good shape. This took us way too long though; Natasha was tired and her shoulders were hurting from carrying Toothless. Despite the smoke, the lake looked pretty.

We camped at Pinto Lake North. There were two other groups there huddled under a tarp. It kept raining through dinner but we kept mostly dry with the umbrella. We did have wet feet from the day and the final crossing through the lake outflow right before the camp.

After we got Toothless in bed we had to repair one pair of socks and use Tenacious Tape to repair the bottom of Toothless’ shoes.

I then focussed on my ankle. I was doing okay but slipped as we walked around the lake and pulled the tendon on the front of my shin again. It was ballooned. Friiick.

I could barely move my foot so we taped it with K Tape, I took an Advil, and hoped for the best. The K Tape gave almost instant relief but we will see if I can walk tomorrow.

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