Wow! It’s hard to believe the trip is coming up in just a few days now. A lot has changed since I wrote this in May. For one thing, my hiking partner cancelled on me, and I put the call out to the world to find a replacement. I got my wish, but then my new partner came out early to hike Section B, but the westerlies across the mountains pushed a truckload of smoke from the BC wildfires onto her, and she tapped out.
But even more surprisingly, my wife expressed interest in coming! So I have spent the last month working with her to get her used to carrying weight and walking on trails, culminating in a 24 hour shakedown hike in Meadow Lake Provincial Park. We hiked into a campsite on Friday night 10km, then hiked out 30km on Saturday through 32 degree heat! She delivered like a trooper, so we are go, for sure.
Aside from physically preparing her, we have had to kit her out with good backpacking gear. I didn’t want her to experience the Cheryl Strayed pack from Reese Witherspoon’s “Wild” pack, and have her tap out from exhaustion. I lined her up with the Durstongear 40l pack like mine, only slightly smaller. I’m now carrying a 2p instead of 1p X-Mid, in my effort to save her some weight, as well as the stove, a Jetboil Stash. She is packing a litle heavier nonetheless, as she is managing chronic cold fingers. It wasn’t a problem on our Meadow Lake go – the temperature topped out at 32 degrees! But we all know the Canadian Rockies at elevation are much cooler.
I decided to stick to a longer itinerary for her sake, so the first three days are all under 16km. Hopefully that sets us up for success and lightens our pack before climbing Wonder Pass and crossing to Porcupine campground for 24km in one day!
Then, a short 15km out to Sunshine where if all goes as planned a wonderful trail angel will be waiting for us with our resupplies and a lift into Banff townsite. We will enjoy a town dinner and a warm bed, before an early taxi back up to Sunshine and the longest hike of the trip, 28km to Ball Pass. From there, the days get shorter as we descend and then work across the famous “Rockwall” hike of Kootenay and Yoho National Park. This is her motivation now – she saw this picture of Floe Lake and wants to see it for herself.
The fires burning in BC may still play a factor for us. Right now the winds have shifted from the north, so they aren’t a problem but if they return to the west it may get smoky. Additionally, the hot weather streak appears to have finally been broken, but now the forecast for the high elevations are hovering in the low double digits, and intermittent showers are forecasted for the first 3-4 days of the trip. That may well challenge her ability to stay warm on trail. So we are not without opposition. But excitement remains. Stay tuned for our post-trip report!