Blog 26 My final trail in Canada: The Rockwall.
Saturday 27 August till tuesday 30th.
Leaving at 7 am from my Airbnb-adres in Radium Hot Springs.
No clue why I I booked this adres. Yesterday afternoon I left Banff and passed my trailhead where I had to be next morning… 100 km further on the road in an ugly place Radium Hotsprings I booked through Airbnb a place to sleep. I should have stayed in the Hostel in Banff, much better place to be around. Probably everything was occupied in Banff at the time. Stupid place to be, not interesting at all. Not everything was logically arranged by me in Holland, “My Bear, couldn’t you see that on the map, stupid You?”
I made the best out of it and had a real dinner “in style” at the Radium Golf Club..
what else before I was convicted to 4 days dehydrated food. So in the morning I drove the same 100 kms back.
I parked my car at the Paint Pot parking where I hopefully would walk out (return) in 4 days and went back to the highway with a paper “NEXT PARKING 10 MILES”…
First car stopped… yoehee…really… so easy to hitchhike! Two brothers in a truck..bit cowboyhillbillytattoostylish types but kindness all over their face. I had just a very very split second a thought “Is this safe?” when one of them threw my backpack in the back. They were visiting their grandpa. “You see! One and all kindness!”
The brother behind the wheel just had his licence back he said, after three years…”Oh, how comes?” (I have always a lot of questions, specially around interesting people) “Because of…” and he said something I couldn’t understand but he pointed at his can of beer (8 am) in the holder. He looked tremendously happy he could drive again. Their grandpa had called them. They hadn’t see him in 3 years. “He was crying on the phone”, the wheeler said. “But he was drunk” said the other brother in the back (he let me sit on the frontseat). “Yeah..true”…said wheeler. These boys were driving 600km to their grandpa….and they gave me a lift..and they told me a lot more stories..and we hugged goodbey. They were not véry intelligent but truly “my kind of people”! We waved exuberantly (uitbundig) and they drove away smiling from ear to ear, after lifting my rucksack from the pickup. I could start my hike with a happy heart.
In this past 5 weeks I met so many people and I can tell a few things about it.
I say hello/goodbye to almost everyone. You look people in the face and you meet eachother for a little moment. I love, really love these people who have an open face, friendly eyes, a welcoming smile and a sense of positivity. I met them, almost every day again. They give you an instant warm feeling. They can only say “Hey, how’re you” and walk on..or you end up in a nice conversation with them..ór in an exceptionel occasion you spend some wonderfull hours or days together. I learned that i prefer these kind of people. And what I learned also and is of such a great value for me: I do not have to spend time with the other ones and that is oké. Of course there are all kind of other persons who gave me no smile, no open face, maybe no hello even…but I can handle that much much better now. There are more then enough friendly open persons who I can give my openess as well. And that is enough. When they are not around for a while I will be happy with myself!
I started my Rockwalltrail 8.30am at Saturdaymorning from FloeLake trailhead. It was a strange environment…this first 4 hours…all burned trees… 10 years ago already took this fire place but still very desolate (troosteloos).
The first sight at Floe Lake was heartjumping (not English? Should be!).
Unfortunately it was still poaring rain …constantly. I left my rucksack at spot nr1 and went for a orientating walk around the campsite. Three man were sheltering from the rain under a porch from a closed wooden shelter which belongs to the ParkPatrol… They tried to make it the only dry 2 square meters. And that is where we stayed all afternoon and evening.
Three totally soaked girls arrived also and decided to join us in stead of walking out. It was too cold for me to really enjoy the time there, although the fire really saved me from freezing. The fire steamed your clothes at the frontside while the rain made them wet on the back. Turning around vica versa. It was nó fun!
9 pm I was in my tent…slept with my downjacket on. My HubbaHubba NX is a lovely tent but …wind is blowing underneath..that can be very cold…… and it was. It was raining só hard, that I couldn’t sleep for a while…thunder and lightning completed this mountain-weather-experience. I was worried rain would also come underneath.
But as usual, my worries were not big enough to keep me awake…So in the morning I woke up, looked around and it was dry. Well, there was no rain falling.
I packed as quick as possible the whole wet shit after shooting some pictures of this memorable lake. At 9 I left…. at 10 I left again… because forgot my poles by the outhouse (toilet, poephok, strondpot). This must réally be the last time, you moron!!
I reached my next planned campground Numa Creek at 2pm. Nobody there. Bit sober, dark, in the woods, wet of course…not a place I want to hang out for the next 7 hours. Without sun it is far more difficult to relax. I had already figured that out while walking that I could skip this Numa Creek CG and walk on to the next one Tumbling Creek and so enlarge my last trip to hike the whóle 60 km trail. Little risk maybe, you never know how my Humb is pushing me down after 15 km…
By the way, Humb is becoming my friend last hikes. Finally I understand how to use all the straps to make Hump less humpy. So we became friends finally, on the last trail! She is also not so mean anymore for my shoulders…. or my shoulders gave up complaining.
An extra argument that in fact already had made me decide to rush to Tumbling Creek was a grizzly. Guys who passed me on the trail had shown me a video he made this morning of a grizzly who was hanging around at Tumbling Creek. I prayed for an encounter all the way up there, more allert then normal, I only do not want to startle him so I have to look forward. I arrived at 6pm without seeing him. Pitched, eat, wrote and definitely packed all my food in the foodstorage haha. I didnot want him to ruin my tent.
Day 3 was a dry hikeday following the Rockwall. My feet are giving me slightly signals of tiredness…still wet socks in wet shoes. Again I met people on the trail who saw a grizzly in the Helmet Falls area…my next campground. Another chance! This time I specially went on my own after pitching my tent towards the Falls. It was exiting I must say, you know he is there somewhere, the bushes are thick and the path very narrow…and you are sneaking through it…I really did my best to meet him but he didn’t show himself.
Now I remember a story Bill Bryson tells in his book “A walk in the Woods” about how dum and stupid human beings are acting amongst bears sometimes. At a picknickspot somewhere in the US a woman wanted to attrack the nice big black bear who was hanging around there for a cute picture by dipping the hand of her baby in honey so he would lick her lovely little darling and her husband could make the ultimate picture. Unfortunately the bear took the whole babyhand.
Day4…my last hikingday.
Of course this was a special day. I already didn’t have contact for a few days, it was just me and the trail, going on..focussing on nature..
I didn’t want to leave. I decided to unpack my very very dirty muddy wet tent and washed every single part of it in the river. For a moment I felt myself an Indian tribewife. I stayed there for 2 hours till everything was dry and I could hike on with a perfect clean tent ready for my Samsonite.
I passed Ochre Creek towards the parking Paint Pots where my car was waiting. Now I saw the ochre colour and read the information there “valt het kwartje pas” I understand the link ochre-paint-name Paint Pot.
And that was it.
I am a bit ashamed to tell that my next booked bed for the last two nights was again in the same ugly direction as Radium Hot Springs and even worse: 1,5 hour drive and even uglier, in Spillmacheen! At Airbnb it was given as in the neighbourhood of Banff. Well, 2 hours driving is “closeby” here maybe.
My last summarizing blog will follow…I need some more time for that.