Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We were going for a hike today so I put a lunch together to take with us and we headed out just after 9:30 a.m. Our plan was to take the Great Glacier hike which is described as a 3.5 hour, 9.6 km hike with an elevation gain of 320 metres. However, we missed the turnoff for it so continued the short distance to the Rogers Pass Information centre which is at the summit of Rogers Pass. We spoke to one of the parks people about the trail we were planning to hike and she suggested the Balu Pass trail which starts right behind their building. She described it as having wonderful views of the glaciers, mountains and valleys and after the first km of very steep terrain; it levels off to a moderate incline. Okay, we’ll do that one.

She was right about the start...holy cats, it was steep with switch-backs but we persevered and were soon through the tree line where it opened up to a beautiful view of the valley, but I don’t know if I would describe the trail as a moderate incline...this poor body thought it was pretty darn steep still...not as steep as the first km of the hike but “moderate” just doesn’t fit either. We walked down into the valley (the only “down” part of the trail) then up the other side of the mountain crossing streams with either large boulders as a bridge or a wooden boardwalk. The views were incredible!
We were told that there had been a bear sighting so to make lots of noise as you walk. We did not see any bears but lots of marmots were sunning themselves out on the rocks and were very curious. One particular one was not afraid of us at all but was actually approaching us as Steve took pictures. He then carried on up the trail ahead of us as if he was leading the way for us.

It took us just over 3 hours to get to the very end of the trail which was at the top of the mountain. A couple of times we said “we’ll just go a little further” but the reality of it is that we had gone so far, it would be a shame not to go to the end...the problem was, we never knew how much further that was! But after much whining and complaining on my part, we persevered to the very end...gee, at one point, I felt like a mountain goat! In the end, I’m glad we did it. What stunning views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers! I will describe more of the trail with the pictures below.

Down one side of the valley...

And up the other...
And up.......

There was a stairway made of rock must have taken then ages to build...

Okay...we’re up here, sitting on a rock, enjoying the vista and pretty darned proud that we made it...but, guess what starts to creep into your thoughts? We have to walk all the way back!!

But it’s problem. Well, in some respects, downhill is harder. Going up is slow going and you get winded...going down, your legs get so sore...particularly my knees. By the time we were down, I could hardly walk. On the last portion of the steep trail down to the parking lot, my left knee was so sore that I had to walk sideways which seemed to relieve it somewhat. It took us just over 2 hours to get in total we hiked for 5 ½ hours, mind you, we did stop to take pictures along the way and eat lunch. Once back, I checked the description of this trail in the brochure...4 hours, 10 kms with an elevation of 788 metres.

Note to time don’t forget suntan lotion and bug repellent!

Needless to say, once back at our campsite, we relaxed in our recliners, had a gourmet dinner (KD and hot dogs), a shower and were relaxing in bed by about 8:30 watching TV (downloaded programs from the laptop).
Hmmm....after our hike today, I think we will have an RnR day tomorrow. Since wifi service is only available up at the office (oh no, another uphill) I’d like to take the laptop and get these last few days posted on the blog.

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