We packed up camp by 8am to start our hike Sleep was alright and we found the sound of commercial jets flying overhead to be somewhat comforting knowing there were people “nearby”.
There was a slight climb out of Beatty before beginning a descent on a rocky avalanche slope onto scree. The screen slope kept going for what ended up taking us about 45 mins to 1 hour, taking a big bite of our time. My knee felt better on this descent compared to the day before. I did take a tumble on the scree, but only landed on my backside, which is better than tumbling down the slope.
There were many ups and downs heading into Palliser Pass. I needed to stop every few feet. My left shoulder was hurting under my pack strap and I was exhausted from the ascent. There may have been tears, mostly trigged by the pain from the pack needing to be adjusted. We had to push through so much overgrown plants that our pants, shoes, and socks were soaked. Even though we had wet feet, we still made the switch to our water shoes (Crocs for me) for our first river crossing. Lee Roy creek was my first river/creek ford. The water was freezing and my feet were much happier when I stepped onto the shore on the opposite side.
We climbed for a while and thought we had reached the top of Palliser Pass, but we hadn’t. There were more climbs to go. On our travel up the switchbacks, we met a group of four from Montreal who going in the same direction, but had taken a different route and didn’t stay at Beatty Lake.
When we reached Palliser Pass Campground, there were no bear lockers and there was evidence that there had been a bear digging not too far away, with a large patch of dug up soil. We chose to keep going.
It was raining at the top of the Pass where we found the four from Quebec eating their dinner at the Pass marker. We continued on past wild flowers and scenic mountains. There were shrubs and berries along the way, making us feel better that the bears in this area were already full with the berries they found.
Around this time, we encountered some ultra trail runners who intended to complete 100km that day. They were running 50km into the park and would then turn around and run 50km back to their car, which they wouldn’t reach until sometime later that night. We thought they were brave as we had run across a lot of bear scat during our hike and wouldn’t want to be the one to surprise a bear while running down a trail.
The walk to Burstall Campground felt long, but we were the first to arrive and could pick from any of the sites. We chose campsite 2. There were bear lockers and an outhouse covered in chicken wire to keep the critters away. The four from Quebec arrived a few minutes after we had begun setting up our site and Oliver helped one of them patch up their backpack with some duct tape we had wrapped around our trekking poles incase we needed it. The poor guy’s pack had developed a tear and the contents were at risk of spilling out onto the trail.
We had dinner and were in bed by 9pm.
GDT C – Day 3 – Burstall to Big Springs
GDT C – Day 4 – Big Springs to Magog Lake
GDT C – Day 5 – Magog Lake to Porcupine
GDT C – Day 6 – Porcupine to Sunshine Village
GDT C – Day 7 – Banff (Zero Day)
GDT C – Day 8 – Banff (Floe Lake Trailhead) to Floe Lake
GDT C – Day 9 – Floe Lake to Tumbling Creek
GDT C – Day 10 – Tumbling Creek to McArthur Creek
GDT C – Day 11 – McArthur Creek to Ottertail Trailhead