Saturday, August 26, 2017

THREE GENERATION HIKING IN THE WEST KOOTENAY

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The day after the Culture Tour I mentioned in my last post was officially over I ploughed some things into my backpack so I could spend a couple of nights at Kokanee Glacier Cabin with thirteen family members and six friends of my cousin who last year said something like wouldn't it be neat to have a family reunion up there for Canada's 150th. 

Sure, I said. I'll get fit with tons of practice walks before August. Well, then there was getting ready for the studio tour and before that there was a trip to the Coast and oh yes, the smoke. BC is still in the throes of its worst fire season ever and there are days when you can almost taste it. Believe me, you don't want to exert yourself in it. 

We hiked in, just over nine km (about five and a half miles), mostly up with switchbacks. Keeners and younger, fitter folk can get to the cabin in two and a half hours, apparently; the website suggests three hours for the "approach". Took me four hours, which shaved about an hour and a half off the last time I did it which was five years ago. What a difference being twenty pounds lighter and having the right equipment makes. I invested in poles, good boots (I'd been using the ones my dad got me when I was fourteen!), and have a much better pack now. I'm one of those people who gets out of breath just climbing a flight of stairs, always have, so I puffed and panted my way up through the switchbacks, past the marmot that came sniffing at my heels, over the sketchy bit above Kokanee Lake where Michel Trudeau died in a November avalanche accident in 1998. It's impossible not to think of him being there, when you're there, and if one has to die long before their time (he was just twenty-three) it's a pretty spectacular last resting place (his body couldn't be recovered).

So here goes with a whole bunch of photos from a challenging, fun and deeply satisfying adventure.

A last-minute planning dinner the night before we left
Morning dawns and the group congregates 
At the parking lot by Gibson Lake, about to start off. Note the chicken wire fencing around the vehicles. Otherwise porcupines may eat your tires.

That's Lyra. Just turned six this month. She and older sister, Enid, ran back and forth on the trail which is basically up with switchbacks and talked while I lumbered, out of breath after the first thirty yards. 
Looking down on Gibson Lake. Not there yet.

The fireweed was gorgeous

At last we arrived at the cabin

Lizz and Jesse, related in one of those cousin ways I can never remember. Second? First, once removed, or twice? 
It's a very nice cabin. The kitchen is a joy to work in. 
Loading up. All food has to be brought in and all garbage relating to it taken out. 
Perhaps influenced by the ones he saw hiking in, Gareth Gaudin drew trees

Two little girls and their auntie 
The weather was just perfect

The views were spectacular 
Me and the troopers, Enid and Lyra
(photo by Lizz Moore)
Getting ready for the hike to Sapphire Lakes

Jesse Lee

Cousins and kids 
The other thing I have now is a good water delivery system. I can hike and drink at the same time. Don't try this at home!(photo by Lizz Moore)

An example of the boulder-scrambling part of the hike

Even found some snow(photo by Lizz Moore)

It's beautiful up there(photo by Lizz Moore)

Everybody was smiling a lot



We even had time for a brief rest (they were likely waiting for me to catch up!) 
We went down this!


One of the more interesting rock formations 
My boy the minstrel 
Cousins on dinner duty

Figuring out either where they were going or where they'd been
Thoughtful (or plotting something)
At least one of us is doing the recommended stretch. Go, Enid!

Gareth and Bronwyn 
Kyran, Cher and Jesse

Father and son

Lyra

Enid and Lyra

Keep in mind this lake still had ice on it at the beginning of July and no, I didn't.

I have to say, the lack of Internet was wonderful

Jesse and Cher, with the peak they climbed up to earlier in the day  lit by the last rays of the sun

Beautiful meadow with Kokanee Lake in the background




Can you see the path?

On the trail above Kokanee Lake
 Jesse brought his guitalele along and on the way back out some of our group (that comprised folk from six to seventy-nine) sang Edelweiss and The Happy Wanderer in the meadow by the lake.

And almost before it began it was over. We all made it back with minimal damage to feet, etc. I was stiff for a day but that was it. It was a fabulous time out of time and I'd love to think we'll figure out a way to do it again someday!

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