I just came back from an interesting day-hiking trip near Radium Hot Springs, BC. We had a great time in the beautiful sunshine. Here are the details of the trip.
August 20-21, 2005
Accomodations: Misty River Lodge aka Radium Hot Springs International Hostel
Phil, Mahiri, Maureen D., Celeste, Maureen M., Dolores, Ravi, Donald, Madeleine, and me.
Lake of the Hanging Glacier 2005 Photoset on flickr.com | Stanley Glacier 2005 Photoset on flickr.com | [piclens-lite-link]
Saturday, August 20 – Lake of the Hanging Glacier
Saturday dawned clear and cloudless and the forecast was calling for +30C as we set off from the Hostel. The day’s adventures had begun! First off was the drive to the trailhead. We headed downhill towards the mill in Radium and turned off at the entrance to the mill onto the Horsethief Forestry Service Road. The first stretch of the road was a reasonably good gravel road. After driving for a while, and crossing several one-lane bridges, the road got quite rough. It looked like some of it had been recently reconstructed. The going was quite slow as the “gravel” got bigger and bigger. Eventually we came to a shallow stream washing over the road about 44 km in. We all piled out of the cars to see if this obstacle was navigable. After piling some more rocks into the steepest part of the drop to the creek, Phil and Maureen D. ventured their cars across the stream and we all got back in. A short distance later, we repeated the process as we crossed a dry stream bed. Then again as we passed a large puddle in the road. Finally we reached the trailhead, 49.4 km and almost two hours from Radium. Now we could start hiking! The first part of the trail was actually a detour from the parking lot up and around a washed out section of the old forestry road and then back down to the same road. As we hiked along the flatish old road through open (logged) terrain we caught a couple of glimpses of a waterfall on Horsethief creek. After climbing up and over a low ridge (the same one the waterfall cut through) we reached a bridge over Horsethief creek. From there, the climb began in earnest. We hiked uphill alongside a raging torrent for quite a while. Eventually we reached Lake of the Hanging Glacier after 8 km and 3 hours of hiking. In a word, Spectacular! We rested on the shore while we ate our lunches and watched the mini-tsunami come washing in. These waves looked like the were going to wash over the rocks right to our feet, but as the trickled in amongst the stones of the shore, the waves just dispersed. Ravi decided to brave the icy water as he tried to retrieve an iceberg that had run aground on the lake bottom. Along the hike out, we encountered a bunch of angry wasps and three of us were stung five times. That hurt like a [censored]. After applying After Bite [insert product endorsement here] we continued uneventfully back to the trailhead. Then came the reverse of the morning drive and a 8:30PM return to the hostel. The only difference was that the morning’s puddle had turned into a much larger puddle as a small creek was washing over the road. A few splashy minutes later, we resumed our drive home. After a leisurly supper at the hostel, we adjourned to the Radium Hot Springs pool to restore our aching muscles.
Recommendation: Take a high-clearance vehicle like a SUV or pickup.
Stats: Distance: 16 km; Elevation Gain/Loss: 670 m; Hiking time: 7 hours round trip
Sunday, August 21 – Stanley Glacier:
Our original plan for Sunday was to hike to Jumbo Pass in the mountains southwest of Invermere. We decided to change to a different trail because of the long drive over Forest Service roads given the condition of the road the previous day. Unfortunately this meant cancelling the Environmental aspect of the trip. We looked at various trails between Radium Hot Springs and Banff and settled on the Stanley Glacier trail. The trail is in an area that has been burned by forest fires three times in the last 37 years (1967, 2001 and 2003). Some areas were missed by each fire, so the area is a patchwork of snags, deadfall and still living forest. The burned areas were carpeted with wildflowers (fireweed and a purple daisy-like flower predominated). The trail climbs steadily from the highway up the Stanley creek valley. We stopped at the end of the official trail to have lunch before heading back to our cars and the drive home to Edmonton. The valley was very beautiful and quite busy.
Stats: Distance: 10 km; Elevation Gain/Loss: 300 m.
Total Stats: Distance: 26 km; Elevation Gain/Loss: 970 m.
Environmental Notes: The original environmental aspect of this trip was to visit Jumbo Pass to try and see where the proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort will be built if approved. The Jumbo Creek Conservation Society (JCCS) is the group fighting the proposed resort. Here are some pieces of information that I wanted to sort through on the proposed site:
- The resort is named after the Jumbo Glacier (part of which is the Hanging Glacier at Lake of the Hanging Glacier) and Jumbo Pass.
- JCCS claims it is pristine wilderness. The developer wants to build his community on an old sawmill site in a valley that has been logged and mined.
- JCCS claims the resort will be be built in Jumbo Pass. The developer says that the resort community will not be visible from the pass.
Edited: 2006-06-25 – Updated photo album links.
Edited: 2008-02-27 – Updated photo links to Flickr and updated the story.