Today, Sheila, Ann, Simon and I hiked (walked, trudged) up Enterprise Creek. This is an access road to Kokanee Glacier Park (a wonderful place!), which is, of course, not useable at this time of the year. From the highway, it’s 19 K to the trailhead. We trudged up 7.5 K until we hit the turnaround point at about 12.30 p.m.
This is one of those places you never ever want to go back to unless it’s in a truck, heading for the trails. Unfortunately, the forestry companies “own” the road, like they do almost everything else in BC and have chosen not to make the park accessible if they don’t feel like it. Washout? Too bad – they’ll only fix it when they need to get there and then they’ll keep the gates closed during the week.
When we woke up this morning, we had snow the size of cotton balls (I am NOT exaggerating!) coming down. And then – rain. We had low expectations for weather and got really lucky. Shortly after starting out, the mist rose and the sun broke out. We were in shirtsleeves in no time. The snow underfoot was thick, a bit slushy and very heavy. But snowmobiles had been up the road all winter, meaning we had a pretty broken trail.
Now then – let’s talk about this word, “trail.” This can in no way be termed that. This is a wide road, made for two logging trucks to pass each other comfortably. The grade is relentless, which means it’s sheer torture for hiking. Over 7.5K we gained about 450 metres in elevation. I looked for beauty – mist in the trees, water beads lit by sunlight, the odd mountain poking through. But there was nothing here that made my heart sing.
Sometimes I fear that if I have to walk on one more road, snow or no, I will fall out of love with my dearest love. If I lose my passion for hiking, a part of me will be lost.
But for a part of the year, this is the reality of the Kootenays. Sadly, opportunities for hiking, at least in the parts of the world I know best, are dwindling. On Vancouver Island, beautiful trails are being logged, sold off or closed. Here, access is difficult to say the least.
I feel starved for alpine – or at least, really pretty trails. All I am left with from today is, “Well, I got some exercise.” That simply isn’t good enough.
And yet I know I’m going to have to suck it up and keep going. The alternative isn’t acceptable. At least I know that next on the agenda is Evans Creek Trail which is long and along the lake but at least it’s in Valhalla. And there are a few others I have found labelled “shoulder season.” Most of these require time to get to – but dammitall, I will make the time to get there.