Section C of the Great Divide Trail according to most information is a hair over 200km of hiking trails running through mostly National Parks. I’ve been dreaming about this hike for 3 years, and I finally got to go, despite my hiking partner once again canceling on me, because my wife signed up to go with me! You can read about our first two days on trail here.
The original plan was to take days 3 and 4 very easy, so that if my wife, who is new to long-distance hiking, needed time to recover from her first two passes she would have it. However, I had the feeling that because day 3 would have been flat valley-bottom walking, we may have a shot at combining days 2 and 3. The original plan for days 3 and 4 were:
- Day 3: Palliser Pass (HOTR) over Palliser Pass to Birdwood Camp (Banff National Park, AB) – 11km, 100m ascent, 150m descent
- Day 4: Birdwood to Marvel Lake Camp (Banff) – 14km, 50m descent, 50m ascent
But since we finished Day 2 at Burstall Camp (3km south of Birdwood), we had almost accomplished the combining of the two days and were ahead of schedule!
This opened up a few options.
- Option 1: extend our time in Banff (night 6) between legs and give ourselves a true zero day instead of a nearo (and pulling 20km to get to Banff isn’t exactly restful), or
- Option 2: take an extra day in Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park. I had planned ahead and booked a spot at Magog Lake (I had been efforting Og Lake to skip Porcupine, but no sites at Og ever came open) just in case we did combine the two days.
In order to extend the Banff stay to a true zero, we would have had to camp at all subsequent campsites a day early, and risk the wrath of angry rangers, and fines for not having campsites booked. Granted, we had already done that once with Burstall, but the empty campground meant we didn’t feel guilty in the least. I had tried to book, they told us there was none, and that was a lie so…(more…)