Monday, July 16, 2018

Wild Howse

Wow, the rest of today was wild. After the ford that wasn't so bad, I bushwhacked more up to Howse Pass, and there were two big monuments to the explorer who crossed it two hundred years ago. The pass is on the national historical register, but the signs feel way out of place since there's basically no trail so only GDT crazies go there.

Anyway, the descent started along Conway Creek and then spilled into Howse River, and I spent the entire day splish splash shchwacking my way down the Howse River flood plain. The official trail is above the river in the woods but it is wildly overgrown, and walking in the river is incredible, as are the views. But you can't just cross the river (it's huge) and occasionally it bends such that you're cliffed out and you have to climb j to the woods, and you schwack your way around the cliff.
Yeh, this is how all river hiking is, you say. It was just the scale of it. So immense. This would make an awesome packraft descent, the river was very chill.

I finished the river, came out at Mistaya canyon (Google it), walked some road, including a bridge over the North Seskatchewan, and am camping near the resort that is holding my box. I should've gone and asked for a room, but all the hiker notes complain about how expensive everything is. (Please give dollar amounts, people! Coming from the Bay Area, I feel like I'm stealing at some of these places you call expensive.) Anyway, I found some moss that is seriously mattress-level comfortable. Bummed they don't appear to have cell service, but I should be able to get WiFi (and an AYCE buffet!) in the morning when I pick up my package.

Saw two bears, one black, one possible griz. The griz could not have cared less about me. I yelled that I was not interested in what he was selling and he slowly walked off. The black one was just running across the highway.


Hiker friends, how do you hook your gaiters to your shoes? I use Dirty Girl gaiters, which have obvious Velcro tabs on the back, but come on, on a long hike you can't buy Velcro hooks and super glue for every new pair of shoes. (Don't tell me that a little Velcro sticker patch sticks to dirty shoes for longer than a day; you're lying.) So, safety pins? Annoying to hook and unhook every time you want to take your shoes off. Or is there a brand of gaiters that doesn't require Velcro? Maybe something by Salomon--I feel like I've seen something. (Also, non-runners, big bulky knee-high gaiters are not what I'm talking about, or even half high ones made of canvas. Minimalist stretchy ones that don't need a strap under your foot or go home.

F*@# Cold Water

Well, that actually wasn't that bad. Only because there was the broken remnants of a washed out bridge plus a tiny tree, so I barely got my feet wet, but holy cow that water was cold. My feet were in pain so I put on two layers of dry wool socks then put my feet in baggies (stuff sacks, actually) before putting on my shoes. What am I going to do in Alaska, where this will happen every twelve minutes? I have tried both neoprene socks and "waterproof" Seal Skinz socks before without much success. I was never convinced the SS were actually waterproof, as I could dump buckets of water out of them. Feet sweat a lot, but that much? Of court both of those are packed in storage so I'll have to order new ones. (And my sleeping bag, and trekking poles since a rat ate half the cork grip to one of my poles one night. And a PFD; still need a PFD to go with the raft.)

Also, does any hiker friend have a SPOT (gen3+), InReach, PLB, or satphone they're not using for August to mid September? I have a friend's SPOT gen 2 with me right now, but this thing is *definitely* not working anymore. It transmitted fine the first week or two, but quit. It's not the batteries, I changed them and still nothing.

Ok well I'm off to the Seskatchewan Crossing (on a bridge, I assume) there will certainly be some nasty schwacking and maybe Ford's between here and there.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

David Somebody Heritage Trail

Late day trying to get as close as possible to the next river crossing. It's glacial, and it's big. I'm just under 5K so hopefully I can hit it early in the morning when it's lower. 

Did Amitskwi pass, walked a lot of road, memorized some poems, the usual. More tomorrow after I knock off this ford!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Amwiski River

I think I'm spelling that right.

Fun morning in Field. Ate four entrees, pooped indoors three times, drank two beers. It almost feels like I'm cheating, I was suffering so little. On my way out of town I stopped in a park to dry out my tent and saw some litter containing a half used thing of wet wipes. Cool, free shower, I thought, and had a sponge bath while my tent dried.

This section started with a nice natural bridge over the powerful Kicking Horse river. Now I'm ascending the Amwiski on an old overgrown road. It's not the worst. Tomorrow is more of the same. Most of this section is not well maintained, plus there are a couple glacial fords to worry about.

One thing I've not been on this trip is warm at night. I have to wear my fleece jacket most nights, which I never did on the triple crown. I am using my Enlightened Equipment synthetic quilt, I think rates to thirty degrees, but I think I may splurge and get the Western Mountaineering down bag I've been coveting for so long. I like the EE quilt, and after Iceland thought that maybe synthentics (material: Apex) had finally caught up to down: magically not overheat on hot days, warm on cold days, and never clammy, all in the same bag. But now I recant that. Down is still better. You just have to keep it dry or you're dead.

Things I'd like to do later:
Learn the banjo
Learn Spanish
Run fast again (sub 3 hr marathon)

Song stuck in my head today:
Hello I Love You, The Doors

Friday, July 13, 2018

Field, BC

I'm camped in a van down by the river, figuratively, outside Field, BC. There is a nice hostel (full) and expensive guesthouses, and a post office, but it closed at 1:30 today. So tomorrow I will eat as much as I can at the cafe, then buy as much as I can from the gas station, and get out of town. Maybe I'll call or leave a note and see if my box can be forwarded.

First half of today finishing the Rockwall was great. Wolverine Pass made me think of Red Dawn. Goodsir Pass was pretty too. The rest was just an old road, then a bit of scary highway shoulder to get to Field and another trailhead. 

Not looking forward to this next section. It's very brushy, so I'll get wet like a carwash, because it is about to *dump* some rain, methinks. Maybe I'll see if there's a cool alternate, even if it involves disconnected sections.

Thursday, July 12, 2018


Finished Banff this morning: Egypt Lake, Ball Pass, and Hawk Creek down to the highway. Then it was a huge climb up to Flow Lake and Kootenay's Rockwall. My expectations were way out of fline with reality. I expected to be hiking along a level trail blasted into a cliff face, like Glacier's Garden Wall or Highline or whatever. There is indeed a steep rock face here, but mostly I would describe the hike as three huge forested and overgrown climbs. Flow Lake is gorgeous, and the last descent paralleled the wall and also a terminal moraine. So there used to be huge glaciers on this wall? There are still bits of them (Tumbling Glacier), and they're pretty cool.

Did a solid 48km today, in to camp before 10. I have 50 km to get to Field, the last 10km of which is garbage highway or train tracks. Still, there's no way I'll make it before the post office closes at 1:30. If there's even just a gas station I'll be fine to resupply and keep moving...

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Google the Field, BC Post Office hours. Oh well. Such is life. I'll hit the cafe for a meal, bust ass, and make it work.


Hello from Sunshine Ski Resort outside Banff. I had a lot of errands to run in town but I managed to get in and out of B in an afternoon. Headed back to trail after this beer. (Future GDT hikers--dont bother with Banff, just mail food to Sunshine.) As I mentioned, crummy weather yesterday, but OK this morning and it's clear now. 

Should be in Field in a couple days. Have to check Post Office hours because there's no stores there, just a package to pick up. Hope they're open Saturday! If not...maybe I can make it through to the next stop (another couple days) or... don't really want to just hang out until Monday.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Marvel, Wonder, Og, Magog

Big day in the rain today. Pulled out all the stops (in the sense that I didn't stop to rest a single time--only to pee or once to make cold instant mashed potatoes) because it was raining all day. If I'd stopped to rest I would have gotten too cold. So I just put all my food bars in outer pack pockets, shoved the rest of my gear in the trash bag inside my pack, and walked. I saw the sun for about ten minutes at 8pm but it's raining again now. Apparently Marvel Lake and Wonder Pass are really pretty but I could barely tell. Also Assiniboine Mountain is tall and cool looking? And there's lakes name Og and Magog. Aren't the apocalyptic biblical ones Gog and Magog? I'll have to check all the views out online someday. I ended up with about 60km for the day and actually enjoyed myself quite a bit. I thought of the wittiest comebacks to years old arguments about zoning. 

Guess you had to be there.

I'm at Porcupine Campsite in Assiniboine Provincial Park and there are two huge moose antlers lying around the site. C'mon Canadians, you're too nice! It's apparently illegal to gather rocks or antlers or stuff in the parks and y'all just obey the rules? And every single dog I've seen has been on leash, and everyone who's dog even thought about maybe perhaps kind of sniffing in my direction was profusely apologetic. You're making me feel bad--I'd love to take those antlers with me to Banff tomorrow and eventually get them to George, who would howl with delight, but the look of disappointment on the Canadian Park Ranger's, or postal worker's, or ski lift operator's face as I carried them out would be too much. I'll leave them there.

That leads me to why I didn't bring George. He's allowed in most Canadian National Parks, except one part of Jasper. So I'm sad I didn't bring him, especially since he's  not  allowed  in most US National Parks so this was sort of my chance. But he doesn't like scrambling on scree, or deep water crossings, and there has been a lot of that. And on a rainy day like today, he'd be freezing, and I'd let him come in my tiny tent and we'd both be freezing; it wouldn't be good. Also, I initially thought I was going to hike in Glacier NP in the US where he isn't allowed, and anyway the logistics would have been a nightmare--I would have had to drive him to Montana or Canada, and then sell or leave my truck there, then get him home from Edmonton. (Because I'm going to Alaska from Edmonton, remember?) No thanks. See you in September, buddy!