We had a cooler, cloudy day for this hike, which is always ideal for me – I don’t do well in the heat. Today’s plan was to hike another section of the High Rockies Trail, which is part of The Great Trail (otherwise known as the Trans-Canada Trail). The three of us had the trail mostly to ourselves, other than a group of mountain bikers going the other way, so we spent the day practicing our “bear calls”, amusing ourselves by trying to come up with new and interesting shout-outs to alert the bears and other critters to our presence. While we didn’t see any wildlife on the trail, we did see signs of their presence – moose prints and droppings, coyote and bear scat.
Much of this section of High Rockies is in the trees, cool and shady and mossy, but when it breaks out of the trees, oh, my! Our first views came when we went through the Engadine burn area, where there are still burned trees standing, looking down into the Spray Valley to the lake and across to the peaks that confine the valley (Nestor, Fortune, Cone, Turner, Morrison and others). There are plenty of wildflowers growing here as well, fireweed (not yet blooming), heart-leaf arnica, kinnikinnick, common yarrow, yellow violets, and many more.
There are bridges to get across Engadine Creek, Rummel Creek and another, unnamed creek – all three are very pretty creeks, though there is still plenty of flood debris from the 2013 floods.
The best viewpoint has a log bench. While the folks at Kananaskistrails called it Lookout Point on their maps, the dedication on the bench called it Makeout Point, which made us wonder what the story was behind that name. I’ll bet it was a doozy. After the bench, you cross a creek and get yet another view, looking back across at the bench and the mountain peak behind it.
Soon after, we reached the Rummel cutblock, which also offers some fantastic views across the valley. Mounts Shark, Smuts, Birdwood are visible, as is Commonwealth Peak and The Fist.
After enjoying our lunch here, we headed back along the same route to Buller Pond. Just as we got to the parking area, we got a last look at Mount Nestor, framed by Goat Mountain behind it, towering above the Smith-Dorrien road. A fabulous end to a really great hike.
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