We wake up to a dry tent for the first time in ages. No condensation to worry about when wrangling Toothless to get him dressed for the day! Dry tent to pack up!
Toothless still gets dressed in his rain gear though as his carrier is still damp and the first part of the trail is relatively brushy if we remember correctly. Through the brush – the light sprinkle of rain we got last night is enough to result in a slight car wash of course – and we make our way along the trail until we have to cross Colonel Creek. After the crossing, there’s less brush, but more deadfall – a good opportunity to practice our backcountry gymnastics, especially for Kyle who has taken over carrying Toothless.
Soon though, we are through the worst of the deadfall and arrive at the junction where we split off from the GDT and start following the Moose River Trail towards the highway. The ford of the Moose River is wide, but only shin deep and not fast. It’s at a beautiful spot and the sun pops out making the surrounding mountains look particularly beautiful. It’s nice to have clear views of everything as when we came through in 2018, there was the haze of smoke covering the peaks.
The sun continues to pop out occasionally as we continue on the trail. It’s well-marked and could even be described as cruisy in sections – especially compared to the route the GDT followed up until this point. It’s definitely a horse trail though as the large mud pits remind you on a regular basis.
Around 3km into our exit route and we managed to get off trail. I think we accidentally followed the old trail for a bit – there were some old trail markers and old cut logs – and then lost it. Our GPS track unfortunately wasn’t accurate, so we had to decide whether to cut down to the river or try further inland. We figured the river was a better bet and it would be easier to backtrack. The bet paid off and we found the tread for the new trail again as we were making our way towards the river.
The trail was in worse condition here with numerous mud sections, but we manage to skirt around the edges and mostly keep our shoes dry. Over a little hill and we arrive at Resplendent Creek. There’s a campground marked here, but we don’t find any evidence of it even after poking around in the woods. It seems like others have come to the same conclusion as there is a firepit and evidence of previous camping on a gravel bar on the floodplain.
We setup on the gravel bar and enjoy the beautiful views that floodplains offer while we enjoy dinner. Overall it was a positive day and the sunshine and views buoyed the melancholy I’ve been battling in this stretch. The miles have often been slow and hard to come by which has made the sections of poor trail with limited views feel like they drag on forever and make me question if it is even worth it for us to do this section. It feels so disappointing to need to stop at Moose River, but I do think it is a more fitting conclusion to the GDT than Jasper, and given the potential for more snow, I think it was the smart decision with Toothless. There have been some lovely stretches though; yesterday from Miette to Colonel Pass had lots of the great cross-country walking I love, and today the Moose River was beautiful. It isn’t a true finish though. Even though we reach the highway and our car tomorrow, we still need to finish up the ~50km we missed earlier. The Resplendent Creek floodplain does make we excited to get to hike the Howse floodplain again!
So all in all, mixed emotions, but I think we made the right decision for our hike and I’m excited to finish up!