5 July 2012

Floe Lake hike

Posted by Callan Bentley

Last summer, my wife and I spent some time in the Canadian Rockies. One of the things we did was to take a three-day backpacking trip to Floe Lake, in Kootenay National Park, British Columbia.

We picked a rough couple of days for hiking – We got a lot of Canadian Rockies precipitation out there: we got rained on, hailed on, and snowed on during those three days. Here’s our tent on the shore of Floe Lake, looking downright soaked and chilly:

We ended up spending a lot of time in the tent, reading and playing Yahtzee:

But when the rain / hail let up for a bit, we got out and explored around. You can’t complain about the scenery:

Here’s a hand-shot (and Photoshop-stitched) GigaPan of the other side of Floe Lake:

Namesake floe, floating in the lake:

The opposite side of the lake is a tough, persistent cliff of limestone called The Rockwall.

The Rockwall is made of a thinly-laminated (and highly cleaved, as I will show in another post) limestone called the Ottertail Formation. Here’s an outcrop on the east shore of Floe Lake:

A loose cobble illustrating the thin laminations in the rock:

The morning of our second day on the trip, we woke to more rain. We stayed in bed for a while, but eventually we had to pull on wet socks and boots and pack up our gear to head out. Here’s a shot of Lily looking back at Floe Lake as we climbed up to Numa Pass.

Stradding Numa Pass:

Is that a spot of sunshine down below?

Indeed, the sun began to emerge as we descended the far side of the pass…

The sky cleared, and we could even make out the tops of peaks that had previously been wreathed in cloud:

We set up our second campsite, and set out our damp clothes and boots to dry out. We again elected to pass the time with a few rounds of Yahtzee (the best backpacking game ever):

That night, Lily woke me up because she heard an animal in camp. As soon as I had sat up in the groggy dark, it stuck its head under the rainfly of the tent and gave us a terrible fright — we thought it was the snout of a grizzly bear — but thankfully, it was only a porcupine. I chased it out of camp, but discovered that it had been driven to our damp gear by a craving for salt. Here’s a look at my boots and hiking pole handle after the porcupine had a good gnaw on them:

The little bugger left his mark on our trip! I had to go buy a new pair of books (Expensive, high-topped Akus from the Sports Lure in Buffalo, Wyoming) before I could climb Darton Peak a couple weeks later.