This trip lasted seven days (six nights). In
Edmonton, we hopped on a Greyhound bus at midnight. We arrived in
Banff the next morning around 9am, not having slept a wink on the
bus. We grabbed some coffee and caught a cab to the Mt. Norquay
Ski Area, and began our 100km journey.
The first day was a brutal 20km day to Stony Creek. We hiked hard and fast with packs that weighed at least 50lbs, but we managed to keep pace with a group of people on horseback. We reached the camp around 8pm, ate and went straight to bed, exhausted.
The next day we could barely move and the 17km trip along the cascade fire road took most of the day, stopping at Flint's Park. These first two days were long and the scenery was fairly uninteresting (compared to what was to come).
Day three was a breeze. It took us only two hours to reach Block Lakes Junction. The map had said it was 7km, but it turned out to be only 5km. We frolicked in the stream (it was a very hot day) and played poker in the tent that night.
Day four had us on an excruciating climb to Badger Pass, which was cold, rocky, and beautiful in a barren sort of way. For the first time, we met two hikers at the top of the pass, going the other way. This 12km day took us to Badger Pass Junction which was so full of mousquitoes, we hid in our tents most of the night. We held our food and ate while jogging, to keep them off of us. We had thought the bugs were bad on the previous days, but these were incredible. I could hear a loud humming outside my tent from the swarm of them buzzing around the door.
Day five took us 10km to Wildflower Creek, where the bugs were equally bad. On the way, we went over Pulsatilla Pass, one of my favorite spots on earth. At the top, we met hikers for the second time, going the other way. They took turns carrying one large pack.
On day six we hiked 15 km up through the small Cotton Grass Pass, to Red Deer Lakes, then to the Skoki Lodge were we failed to get a room, and finally to camp at Merlin Meadows.
The last day, we hiked out to Lake Louise, totaling about 16km. This lengthy trip was physically challenging (I lost a few pounds to say the least!), and the bugs were horrible in mid-July. The scenery, especially the North-West half, is amazing. Luckily, we had awesome sunny weather, and very little rain.
The view from atop Badger Pass (looking North West)
Click thumbnails for full size photos.
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