This weekend I decided to go an area that I had not been to. I checked with my buddy, Hope, whom his story will be mostly be told later, and he was not ready to join so I saddled up and left early for Kootenay National Park in eastern British Columbia. The park borders with Banff National Park so it's not very far but at least you have to drive around a little more than 150 to get there. My aim was Floe Lake, a moderate hike which found very beautiful. Although I had it in my direction guide, which I had extracted from Google Maps, the sign I was looking for did not exist(!) and I was about to miss my turn! At the last moment I turn my head back and saw a sign at the other side of the rode indicating Floe Lake! Thanks that the road was not very busy in that time. I turned back and pulled into the parking lot. To my surprise there were as many as 10 vehicles, at least were parked! I am always the first one at a trail-head. That was why I was very surprised. My surprise diminished quickly when I learnt there was a campground at the lake. People had come the previous morning and spent the night. I will have to write about these campgrounds later but since I have not stayed in any, I might have to wait until I sleep one night, at least, at one.
Nevertheless I started my hike at almost 07:35. The trail is a completely different one from everything I have hiked or scrambled so far. It starts in between rows of evergreens and crosses over Kootenay River after 10 minutes, taking you to the other side of the river and you're walking parallel to the river and Highway # 93 for about half an hour or maybe a little more. The first things that catch your eye rather than the beauty of Kootenay River and the trail are hundreds of burnt trees standing leaf-less beside each other. The area suffered a wildfire back in 2003, I read and although wildflowers and other vegetation give a unmatched beauty to the area, you can't close your eyes to this sadness. This would be seen for more than 3/4 of the trail, I would say. In fact after you reach a small waterfall and before you start a major ascend toward the lake, the burnt trees are seen. There was no one on the trail, the way I was going and after an hour or so the upcoming traffic started to come. There were not many of them but they were people who had spent the previous night at the campground.
|Carpets of Firewood flowers and hundreds of burnt trees alongside the trail|
I was fine until the major ascent started and I guess I should not have had a quick start. The temperature was going up and I felt a little tired in a way that I had to stay for a drink of water. After I went up a hill and the trail became flat again I knew I had passed the hard part. It was just the matter of how long I should walk to reach the lake. I took my last picture (the one is seen on the top as the major photo of the post) shortly before seeing the lake and then in less than 5 min. I saw the lake. It was around 10:30 or so and I was 30 min. ahead of schedule. The first thing I noticed after seeing the nice colour of the lake and rocks of Floe Peak was a tent. I realized that I have arrived at the campground as well and I took my camera out to take as many picture as I could from all different possible angles. Not so fast buddy! The damn camera didn't turn on! I tried a few more times and simply turning the selector from Off position to On didn't do anything! Disappointed with Canon and its Rebel T5 which has served very well in the past 13 months, I walked down and sat at the shore of Floe Lake. It's a small lake, even smaller than Bourgeau Lake, Rockbound Lake and Crypt Lake, that I have been to so far but it is beautiful. I drank some water and just waited there to see what I can get from the camera! I few more tries didn't do anything until I walked around a little and decided to go back. That was almost 10:55. I tried one more time and I got the date setting on the screen but before doing anything the message faded out and was replaced with Change the Battery Pack message! I didn't understand why and still don't! If there was a problem with the battery why there was no warning message?!
I had no choice but leaving the camera in its bag and start going down the trail. I normally take my small camera with me as well but not this time. So it left a taste of dissatisfaction in my mouth. I didn't get any shot from the lake, there are many objects and scenes that you don't notice them on the way up and you get them on the way back. The light is different because the sun is higher in the sky and the angle is different so I lost at least 20 to 30 good photography opportunity on my descent which, I must insist, was very frustrating. For that reason and heat as well I pushed so hard that I caught up with all of the people that I had seen coming towards me or the ones who had started shortly after my arrival to the lake. It was almost 13: 30 when I reached the parking lot, making my total hike time an equivalent of almost 06:00 hours including a total break of half an hour.
Overall Floe Lake is a very nice hike which is definitely recommended. I said that before that I'm not a fan of sleeping outside but if you are the campground is available. Will I go there again? Most probably I will just to take the photos I wanted to take and couldn't but next time I will mix it with another hike in the area.
(Photo, top: This is shortly before reaching the lake and the last shot I took with my camera. I contacted Canon Canada via e-mail. Hopefully I can get the camera fixed quickly and make it ready for the next trip)