Well Folks – we made it. We are finally staring across the border at the the USA. After three month (gulp!), we are 1/6 of the way to Mexico…With some luck and a lot of pain (Our.Feet.Hurt), we just may make it to the land of sunshine and lollipops around Christmas time. Here are some pictures of the stretch between Banff and Waterton.
Our first night out from Banff. We may have left civilisation, but that doesn’t mean we have to live like savages. 🙂
Summit of Mt. Allenby. Due to poor trail conditions, we never got to hike through Assiniboine. And due to weather, we never even got a view of the park…Drat it!
Bryant Creek Warden Station. As already mentioned, our feet hurt. Sssttrrrreeettttccchhhhh it out!
We met Liam’s dad at Spray Lakes. He came along with us for another section – from Spray Lakes to Kananaskis Lakes. He brought a strawberry rhubarb pie! Yum!
A little sit down. Photo by Laurens Put
Photo by Laurens Put
I see you! Going up Mt. Stark, with Spray Lakes in the background. Photo by Laurens Put.
Still going up Mt. Stark. Photo Laurens Put.
All of us on the summit of Mt. Shark, with Mt. Sir Douglas in the background.
Liam and Jake knitting at camp. No judging! Someone has to be mother…
We had a German hiker, named Franz, join us for a portion. His dressing habits were slightly peculiar…
Palliser Pass – The border of Banff.
Cooking Stinging Nettles. We had them with coconut oil, salt and pepper. They were superb!
We hired a camp cook named Grinny. However, after the trial period, we had to let him go. His eggs were dry, the pancakes mush, and everything came with carrots. He even refused to cook meat. He’s lucky we didn’t put him in a stew.
However, there were no hard feelings after getting fired. After all , Grinny and his wife, Gwvera, are world famous climbing rabbits.
A time vortex?
A night under the stars.
Going up North Kananaskis Pass in Height of the Rockies Provincial Park, surrounded by Glacier Lillies. Simply fantastic!
North Kananaskis Pass – Going into Peter Lougheed Provincial Park.
Cooking some Dosa’s. Mmmmmm. Life is Good!
Dosa’s and Curry in the Sun.
Liams Dad on the summit ridge of Mt. Jellicoe in Peter Lougheed.
Liam and his Dad on the Ridge
We have another Birthday – Liams! For breaky, Jake prepared garlic toast fried in bacon fat (drool), with beans, fried egg, and béarnaise sauce (made also with bacon fat). Talk about a heart stopper!
Purple Scorpion Weed
Birthday Lunch on the Summit of Mt. Indefatigable: Bread, hummus, olives, and very ripe blue cheese.
Group picture on Indefatigable
More Norwegian Candy from a Mr. Andreas!
Jake starting the main feast for the Birthday – Poutine! He is actually making fries from whole potatoes on a camping stove…Epic!
A poutine with a twist – cheddar curds and miso gravy. It was fantastic! Thank You Jake!
The dessert: Caramel cake with bananas, melted white and milk chocolate, and condensed milk. It was teeth shattering!
Time for Liam’s Dad to go. He hitched a ride back to his car, while carrying three ice axes. You just never know when you might need three…
Now there were just two. The trail we wanted to take through Elk Lakes Provincial Park was closed due to the flooding last year…resulting in more road walking….Sigh.
The route was still fantastic!
Jake making scones. Liam and Jake are still following the philosophy of “bring the kitchen sink”, resulting in their backpacks being massively obese and having enough food to survive a war. Due to the flooding last year, many access roads between Banff and Coleman are closed. Therefore we couldn’t make a food cache…so we just carried over 15 days of food (Sob).
Along the road beside Elk River
The last of the Norwegian Candy on the Summit of Riverside. Thank You Mr. Andreas!
Summit of Mt. Riverside.
Jake caught fish!
A tasty Bar-B-Q!
The day we went over the mountain by accident. We zigged, when we should have zagged. Instead of going up the gentle slope to Fording River Pass, we went up Mt. Shankland with over 10 days of food. And so we discovered something quite interesting – heavy backpacks make mountain ascents harder and very unpleasant. Who would have thought!
Knitting at camp.
Summit of MacLaren.
Jake collecting Wild Onion and Oxyria digyna to add to the soup!
Summit of Mt. Bolton, with the pass-we-never-went-to below (Fording River).
We are finally on the Official Great Divide Trail! The trail is 95 km, stretching from North Fork Pass to Fording River Pass. The idea for the Great Divide Trail was first proposed by the Girl Guides of Canada in the 1960’s. It was constructed in the 1970’s by volunteers, with the hope that the trail would eventually stretch from Waterton to beyond Jasper. However, the dream sadly died. While the Great Divide Trail had provincial support, it never received support from Parks Canada. So the route was never completed and the trail never finished. Now, the 95 km is little more than a faint game trail, going over ridges and along crests. Nevertheless, from time to time volunteers do trail work and keep the dream alive. Hopefully one day, Parks Canada will recognise the Great Divide Trail, and it will be signed/built from Waterton to Jasper and beyond. Liam and Jake would like to thank the awesome volunteers that have maintained the trail over the years!
Interestingly the GDT goes along logging cuts. The logging companies “generously” used the GDT as a boundary.
Thank you MEC!
An old GDT sign. This sign pretty much sums up the GDT – old, faded, but still there.
Following the GDT along the edge of the mountains. Fantastic!
Entering the Beehive Natural Area.
Going up Beehive Mountain.
Summit of Beehive Mountain.
“I don’t believe we’re in the parks anymore, Toto”…
Still on the Summit of Beehive…No wonder it took us 3 months to get to Waterton! Yikes!
Camping below Beehive.
It got a tad muddy in sections…
Going up Tornado Shoulder. We had no idea where the fires were…we just hoped the road ahead wasn’t burning!
Summit of Mt. Tornado.
Descending Mt. Tornado.
Some trash left by ATV’ers. At least they got the “ocean-wise” seafood.
Making bread and gluten free tea biscuits (Damn you flashylabels! They tasted almost like sand!)
The Seven Sisters and Crowsnest Mountain.
Messing around in the town – Coleman. This picture was taken before we silently slipped into a TV coma in our cheap motel room. We watched re-runs on the food network. It. Was. AWESOME!
The knitting products. Not bad, eh?
Walking along Willoughby Ridge. The area burnt in 2003. It was really neat and the first time this trip that we went through a burn. Since we were in Coleman during the weekend, the post office was closed. So we kept carrying the 14 maps all the way from Banff…What’s another 150 km?
Crossing the Castle River. Brrrrr!
Summit of Southforks Mountain.
A Mr. Liam with Castle Peak in the background.
Camping on Barnaby Ridge. Brilliant!
The route ahead along the ridge.
Bear Grass. Waterton is covered in it.
Summit of La Coulotte Peak.
And the summit of La Coulotte Ridge.
More Ridge Walking. We are heading towards the “castley” looking mountain on the left.
Summit of Font Mountain.
Approaching Waterton National Park. The storm in the picture outlines the park boundary. Great. Just Great…
Summit of Mt. Carthew. Liam went up here, while he waited for Jake. Even though Jake was right behind Liam, he got confused and went right, when he should have gone left. Thinking it would waste too much time looking at the map (Smart guy, eh?), Jake boldly pushed on, going the wrong way. It wasn’t until he ran into the Parks trail crew, he learned of his mistake. How embarrassing…(for him, Liam was having a grand ol’time).
Barbed Wire to collect bear hair samples. They are everywhere! We would be completely in the middle of no-where, following little more then a faint trail, when we would stumble across one of these.
Huzzah! Waterton!! And the USA border within sight!
Jake’s mom and a friend met us in Waterton. They brought some goodies!! 🙂 Even though Liam looks fat, he has actually lost almost 10 pounds…(its the beard and the backpack hunch).
You too look more hobo-y than I could have ever imagined! Dannica just told me she might have to hose you off before she lets you in her tub. 🙂 Not long now, Liam – see you in 11 days!!
Wow! I’m totally impressed. You guys are HardCore. 🙂
Grinny… hahaha. Love it. Enjoy the trip!
This is a fantastic trip!! Wow, would love to do this – hard with work and family, though 🙂 I’m hoping to go up to the GDT and Beehive Natural Area this summer (I’m in Lethbridge). Cheers!
Thanks Dwayne! We hope you make it up there as well! Best of Luck! 🙂
Great writing and trip photos!
I believe GDT is being pushed north but might be awhile. Maybe K country via Spray Lakes??
There is a GDT volunteer group too, big challenges to keep the ATV’s at bay I’ve heard.