Floe Lake Trip ( aka: If it were easy, it’s wouldn’t be an Adventure) February 14 2019, 0 Comments

Getting farther away from yourself is like drifting out to sea. It can be calming gentle, and the easiest thing in the world. There is a growing sense of disquiet, but floating along without bothering to choose a course seems so harmless. By the time you realize you are a looooong way from the shore the real You belongs on. It’s rocky and difficult, but all your progress is made there. Calming might be another word for demotivating. My twin devils Discipline and Action have been wringing their hands up on the shore while I've been floating along with a box of wine on a leaky pool flamingo. 

October 20th might not sound like the perfect night to sleep outside at roughly 2060 metres, but I was slogging through things in my everyday life that made a solo slog into the wintery, desolate back country seem like the perfect distraction. Running away can my favourite way to confront troubles. More so when you know that *you* are your troubles. My attitude on the way to the trailhead was just shy of cocky. "I know what I'm doing", I reminded myself. By the time Zoe and I arrived at the trailhead and realized that we were the only car, the attitude had adjusted slightly. "What the fuck am I doing?". Discipline got me out the door, Action, that over achiever, had me taking my camera and tripod along. What could possibly go wrong?

Kootenay national park Plenty of standing deadfall in this old forest fire area Sunny autumn day on the Rockwall trail

The elevation gain, as stated in The Canadian Rockies Trail Guide is 715m over 10.7 km. A little more than that when you count a couple of small detours upon arrival. 

I had been looking for a bit of solitude, and I found it. I met exactly one day hiker on the way in, and four on my way out the following day. The entire rest of the time was a solitary experience. 

The first several kilometres were the kind of autumn day we dream about on shitty autumn days. Sunny, warm, dry, golden. Elevation gain is mostly steady, and I spent the first three hours in the lightest of layers hollering like a pro. If there was a bear in the area, it was thoroughly disinterested by my singing and whooping.  When the buckle for my waist belt broke, I was roughly 6km along. Awesome. Duct tape got me about 100 meters farther. Luckily, in my haste to pack the most weight possible, I had, as an afterthought, tossed in a couple of bandanas. Score! I was able to tie the belt buckle pieces together tightly enough to carry on. Bandanas can save your life, and mine later strained out some swimmy critters and a weensie little worm from the lake water before boiling. Naturally, I also carry enough cord to tie the pack, act as a clothesline, etc. 

The sun eventually disappeared, but I didn't want to stop and deal with the *heaviest tightly tied on pack ever* just because of a little snow and chill. I went on like that as the temperature dropped, not really concerned about the increasing chill, but finally stopped to layer up, get my Yaktrax on, and once again marvel at how stupidly heavy my pack was. What was I thinking? What followed was an incline so excruciatingly steep and snowy, I became very uncertain about reaching the campsite before it was completely dark. I scouted for likely spots to camp just in case. There were none. My mind ran through the various likely contingency plans for all possible misfortunes as my dog Zoe plodded steadily behind me.  

Big, dead tree. A fire victim Here comes the snow on the way to Rockwall The snow is all the way now

Eventually, the ground leveled out, the snow deepened, and a Parks Canada sign let me know I'd arrived. Relief! My first kitchen area was gorgeous, and right next to the lake. Naturally, the wind was too ferocious for me to get my stove lit, and after some totally calm looking deliberation, I went in search of the other cooking / picnic table area. After getting my water on the tiny stove I brought, it was time to haul all my other stuff over, pick a bear proof locker, and set up the tent. All the while, I made sure to make noise, and take in the ABSOLUTELY gorgeous views around me. Wow. 

 A good sign!  My little kitchen at Floe Lake 

I had my dinner and wine, which greatly lightened my pack. I finished up around 7:30 pm by headlamp. Singing to myself and my confused dog seemed to be the right thing to do, as well as taking the camera and tripod to the lake for a few night photos. 

Moonrise over Floe Lake Also moonrise at Floe Lake October 20, 2018 A beautiful deep blue evening at Floe Lake October 20, 2018 

In the morning, Orien was just setting. When I came out of my tent, which was higher up, it was fully visible. Here, we just see his belt. 

The morning at Floe Lake October 2018

 Before breakfast, Zoe and I headed up to Numa Pass. The larches were WAY beyond anything I'd ever seen.

Larches everywhere October 2018 Numa Pass

Larchy McLarchFace October 2018 Numa Pass

Oh that sky! and even more larches October 2018 Numa Pass

The sky morphed with every passing moment. Surreal.

Golden larches October 2018 Floe Lake / Numa Pass


After my photo stroll to Numa Pass, I make breakfast, fed Zoe, packed up, and headed back down to the rest of the world.

Winter camping it is! Floe Lake Larches up larches: Floe Lake, Numa Pass

It was a great little getaway. I'd do it again!