Mileage: 16.5 km (TBC with actual track)
This morning was a bit rough. I barely slept last night. My allergies went into hyperdrive yesterday when walking through all the fireweed that has started (going to seed? Polinating?) and I was pretty cold and sore all night. So I woke with a headache from a lack of sleep and an ear ache from my allergies making me congested.
The view from the floodplain was pretty stellar though.
Natasha started carrying Toothless and we decided to try to follow what looks like an old hiking trail on the East side of the creek. There are old trail signs indicative of this, and an old tread that you can see that continues further than the more recently maintained equestrian trail. I was on the fence about this because the recently maintained equestrian trail has several reflective markers on the trees at the floodplain here, you can see horse prints crossing the creek and the topo map shows a trail that crosses the creek right away and follows the West side. But the GPS track indicated to stick to the East side for a bit and the old tread was there so we figured we’d give that a shot.
Less than 100m later the tread faded and we started hiking through the brush. It started getting thicker and with more deadfall. We figured we should get into the floodplain and walk there. So we dropped in as soon as we could and walked a bit. Then we found we couldn’t cross safely.
So we backtracked. And ended up crossing close to where we camped. This was safe and honestly a pretty easy crossing.
The floodplain on the West side, in amongst the light vegetation and trees, was easy walking. It’s thin enough that you can get through without many obstacles. Fairly quickly we found good tread and followed that. The trail faded in and out but the walking was easy.
Toothless was napping on and off here. He seemed to like looking along the floodplain and kept pointing to the mountains in the distance.
Eventually we reached a couple trees with reflective markers next to the creek on the West side. One has two rectangular yellow markers and the other had three arrows (with no indication of what is in each direction). We found we were a little off the trail marked on the topo map so we walked perpendicular to the creek here inland and quickly found a nice horse camp.
Walking through the horse camp we found a trail (and little log bridge) that connects to the trail and after a few immediate pieces of deadfall we were on decent trail. We followed this trail for the rest of the day.
After a short distance the trail starts to follow the shore of the creek again and we found a spot to take a break since we noticed Toothless was awake. Natasha went to take him down and noticed one of his boots was not on his foot! He often pulls that boot or sock off. But we had no idea where he did it. Not wanting to spend $70 on boots that only were worn for 3.5 days I backtracked while Natasha fed him. Worried he tossed it in the (either deep or fast) creek, I was about to give up when I saw it. I had walked way too far to find it, but glad I did backtrack, I grabbed it and half jogged the 300-500m back to Natasha.
I was still tired so Natasha kept carrying Toothless after this.
Fairly soon after this we reached some more obstacles – burn and deadfall. A lot of deadfall is cut by the equestrian users but dropped in place so you still have to step over it. It’s easier but not as quick as it would be if the trees and logs were moved off trail.
Natasha was starting to slow right down. I get it. Toothless is getting heavier, we have less “padding” on our bodies now, and she carried him all morning. But I was getting worried since our pace might get us to finish at 7:30pm when we initially thought we would finish between 2-5pm.
We stopped for lunch in the burn and ate what little food we had remaining.
I finally started carrying Toothless and did my best to increase the pace. I have a slight height advantage over Natasha so stepping over those dropped trees or logs is a little easier for me.
Most of the day was through either decent treed trail or recently “cleared” burn or next to the creek or moose river.
Unfortunately the burn kept making my allergies flare up from the fireweed. I take antihistamines but after taking the same ones for a couple months the effectiveness seems to be lower, and they don’t normally work great with this much in the air anyways.
The last 3km or so of the trail was quite good. That part was an old burn but many of the trees survived. Toothless seemed fascinated with the charred but alive trees.
We made it to the trailhead and our car (which Nicole pulled through and dropped off the previous day) by 4:30pm and felt done! Anxious to get some food in us, we took a few photos at the trailhead sign and got into the car. Only to find the battery was dead and the ignition was still in one of the aux modes. Well damn!
We have a car battery booster pack for this occasion so we pulled that out and connected it up, and heard just clicks from a relay. Looking at the booster pack it looks like it only had half a battery. Double damn!
Well, now we are kinda screwed.
There is no phone service here and won’t be until My Robson Visitor Center which is like 30km away on the highway.
Natasha went down to the highway (which is only like 500m away down the access road) and tried hitching or flagging a jumpstart.
She came back about 30-40 mins later with no luck. The highway was very slow; not much traffic.
We contacted my family on our InReach and asked them to arrange for BCAA to come out. Natasha went back to the highway to keep trying.
Just when I learned that it could be about 4 hrs before someone could arrive, a van pulled in next to us. I got out to ask for help and they said they already talked to Natasha but didn’t have room in the van to drive her up the road.
Hopeful that it is just a dead battery and not a bad starter or chewed wires we pulled out our jumper cables and got to work. And it started!
We got my family to cancel the BCAA call and felt relieved.
We originally wanted to drive to Mt Robson Visitor Center for photos but knowing we needed to give the battery time to charge and due to how late it was getting we just drove straight to Jasper.
We checked in to the hostel, got a late dinner (thankfully Toothless slept in the car a bit), missed the corner store closing so missed out on ice cream, extended our stay at the hostel another day and started bedtime routine.
After Toothless went to sleep, Natasha and I had a shower, streamed a TV show and fell asleep.
We feel mostly done but still incomplete.. but for now sleep!