Sunday, August 8, 2010

People don't taste good (Roger's first backpacking trip!)

Roger and I went on a long overdue adventure a few weekends ago.  We did a 4 day, 3 night backpacking trip into Berg Lake, Mount Robson Provincial Park.  Here's a summary of our trip in photos.

 We headed down to Jasper on Thursday night and spent the night there at the JPL.  It was a hot night and they don't have air conditioning at the Lodge however it got cool enough in the evening that we were able to sleep comfortably with all the doors open.  One thing about the Lodge is that it's CRAWLING with elk. Quite scary actually... here's one of the staff members trying to scare the elk away so that tourists can get to their rooms safely.

He's the guy with the orange broom like thing that he waves around--apparently that scares the elk.  He kind of looks like he belongs in a parade--he even has the spectators taking photos, but unfortunately no parade.

On Friday morning we drove about an hour west of jasper to the Mount Robson Visitor's Centre to meet up with the rest of our group.  Here's our group...

It's actually a good thing that I got a photo of them here.  I might not recognize them otherwise--they were much faster hikers than us and although I became very well acquainted with what their packs looked like from the back, I did not become quite so well acquainted with what they looked like from the front.  That's Jonathan, Jennifer, Brie and Roger.

Here's one of the few other photos I have of our group being still and not disappearing into the distance.

This is Jen.  Roger and I think she's as tough as nails.  Although she had bad BAD BAD blisters all over her feet she never complained once and not only did she not give in and hike out early (even though Roger and I may have given her the option), she also hiked WAY faster than Roger and I even with maimed feet.  

Here's the bridge that leads you to Whitehorn Campground.  It's about 10km from the trailhead and is mostly flat with some undulations.  Roger and I were dying that day--I figured it was because we were out of shape, and while that may be true--I now think we were also suffering from heat exhaustion.  It was +29'C that day!

Here's Roger getting his bearings at Whitehorn:

Whitehorn is nestled in the Valley of One Thousand Waterfalls...I didn't quite count one thousand, but I counted 11--nonetheless it was beautiful.

You can see the ranger cabin in the foreground.
Here's a photo that was taken by mistake, but I think it's kind of cool anyway-

The next day Roger and I woke up super early.  We were planning to hike to the Berg Lake Campground which is around 11km from Whitehorn.  We were told this was the tough day and based on our horrible hike the day before, we decided we needed all the help we could get to haul our butts into Berg Lake.  Fortunately for us it was overcast that day, and much MUCH more comfortable in terms of temperature.  The difference in hiking was like night and day, and I actually found the supposedly tougher second day to be much easier than the first.  There certainly is more elevation gain on the second day, and there's no water for about 4 km, but nothing too difficult and I found the hike nice and interesting.  Here's one of the main stops en route to Berg Lake.  
This is Emperor Falls.  It's big and loud and misty and if you stand really close and look up you'll get vertigo.  It's pretty cool--yes, pretty and cool.  Lots of water.  You can definately do it as a day hike from the parking lot (about 15km) and it would be even easier and faster if you biked the first part of the trail from the parking lot to Kinney Lake.  Locked your bike at Kinney Lake (they have a bike rack) and hiked the rest of the way in.  We met one lady who did this. 
This is Roger at the Emperor Falls Campground.   I fell in love with the campsites here.  They are right beside the river.  One day we will come back and stay here.

Here's me hiking to Berg Lake and here's some rocks that Roger thought looked delicious?  Yup, I guess they reminded him of ice cream cake for some reason:

This is Roger at the Berg Lake Campground.  We Made It!

We spent two nights at the Berg Lake Campground, and every evening this was our routine...
Cook supper and filter water:

Grab a book and read by the lake while I skip stones:
Watch and listen while the Glacier shifted, thundered, cracked and broke:

And then we would brush our teeth and go to bed.  

Anyways, the second day at Berg Lake we decided to do the Mumm Basin Hike.  It's a shorter and somewhat easier hike than Snowbird Pass which is what most hikers do from Berg Lake.  I'm sure Snowbird Pass is incredible, but I liked Mumm Basin (except for a near death experience with a Wolverine).  It's a steep hike up along Toboggan Falls but at the top, it's beautiful even though it looks like prime bear habitat.  Seriously, it looked like Grizzly bears should be running and jumping and twirling all over Mumm Basin.  It's about 8 km and if you're looking for solitude, you'll likely get it there as it's not the popular choice.  
Here's Toboggan Falls:

and a view of Mount Robson/Berg Lake/Berg Glacier and Rearguard Mountain:

Here's a cave that you can visit on the way up to Mumm Basin.  Roger and I were too chicken to actually go in.  It looks small in the photo, but it's actually quite large and goes back quite a ways.  

Here's Roger on a patch of snow.  If you look really carefully you'll see a ball of blazing fur in the distance hurtling itself toward Roger unbeknownst to him.  

Here's a closer but blurry photo of the Wolverine.  This Wolverine was out to get us.  I don't know what we did to tick it off besides take a few photos around the snow, but it didn't like us at all and chased us across the boulder field.  Luckily, at the time I just thought it was a badger and was somewhat confused as to why Roger was so afraid. Otherwise, I may have panicked and cracked my head and camera open on a rock.  I know it doesn't look too scary, but these guys have been known to take down moose and confront bears!  

I know it's a bad photo, but the only reason we actually have a photo of it is because I thought it was a cute marmot at first and was trying to get a nice photo of it for Roger.  

Here's me near the end of our trip, we hiked out from Berg Lake to the parking lot on the last day.

And, of course.... the only way to finish off a backpacking trip!

All in all, I liked this trip.  I didn't know it at the time, but it's a perfect trip to introduce someone to backpacking for the first time.  The distances between campgrounds aren't too long, there's interesting sites along the trail, the trail is very VERY well maintained, and it's busy enough that you don't necessarily feel the need to bang on a pot lid to keep away bears.  Also, at the main campsites (Berg Lake and Whitehorn) there's covered cooking shelters which is nice if it's pouring rain, and the Ranger cabins are accessible in cases of emergency.  Most importantly, Roger enjoyed himself and is looking forward to more trips!

*I'll post more photos on Picassa soon, and I'll include the web address shortly!*

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