Total Distance: 40.5 km
Having considered this backpack for a few years now, we decided to put this trip out to the Wednesday North Group and found 2 club members willing to accompany us on this adventure. The weather was warm, clear and sunny during the day, crisp at night and the moon was on the cusp of being full. Conditions could not have been better. While this backpack can be done as an overnighter, we chose to do it over 2 nights to enjoy the lovely meadows and mountains around us.
Blackwall parking lot (1980 m) to Kicking Horse
Camp: 13.5 km (4.5 hours)
plus a side trip up 4th Brother (2153m)
The hike in to the camp is pretty straight forward. You pass Buckhorn campground at 5 km and carry on to the base of the popular 1st Brother trail at 10 km. The 1st Brother is the tallest of the group at 2272m and is the only peak with an official trail leading to it. From here it is another 3.5 km to the campsite. There are wooden tent pads, an outhouse and a metal bear cache. A small water source is located nearby.
After setting up camp and enjoying a rest, we ventured off to the summit of 4th Brother (2153m). There is no obvious route to the peak, so we picked our way up the slopes until we found the top along a rocky ridge. There is a small lake below, so you know that you are in the correct spot. This was a first ascent for the group. Returning to camp, we enjoyed a pleasant evening together.
Kicking Horse to Nicomen Lake Camp: 9.5 km (3.5 hours)
plus side trip to Fido Camp (2 hours round trip)
There was a dusting of frost on the ground when we woke up but the tents were dry. After a leisurely breaking of camp and watching Karl deal with the chipmunks that kept running in and out of his tent, we made our way to Nicomen Ridge which is 7.5 km from Kicking Horse. This was another pleasant walk along the meadows with great views.
The colours on the meadows were a pretty mix of reds and yellows. From the ridge the trail drops down 2 km to Nicomen Lake. The 4 tent pads here are situated along the lake making it a very nice place to stay. There is a shelter similar to the one at Frosty Camp, as well as a bear cache and outhouse.
After a break, we headed up the Nicomen Lake Trail to Fido Camp which is located outside of the park boundary in an open meadow. There was not much here other than a few posts nailed to a group of trees to tie up a few horses, so we headed back unimpressed. The almost full moon came up that night and shone on the rock face across the lake producing a very nice light show!
Once we settled down for the night we heard Karl beating his tent as a few mice scurried up the wall of the tent between the fly. What is it with Karl and little rodents!
Nicomen Lake to Cayuse Flats parking area: 17.5 km (5.5 hours)
No frost this morning and another day of nice weather. The walk out involved a 800m descent to Cayuse Flats on the Granger Creek Trail but the trail is gently graded and many blowdown had recently been cleared. A moderate pace through the shaded forest made this a nice walk out.
At 11 km you come to the junction with the Hope Pass Trail. The Granger Creek horse camp is located here and makes for a good rest stop. It was another 3.5 km to the trailhead and then the drive to Hope for some real food. Great backpack trip -- thanks John and Karl for joining us!
Until the next adventure..happy trails!