Mount Assiniboine Redux: Day One

Many moons ago I was 34 weeks pregnant and hiked from Sunshine Meadows through to Mount Assiniboine and out to Mount Shark in three days. It was wonderful, although getting in and out of a tent was challenging, and on the last day my feet were so swollen I had to hike in sandals instead of hiking boots.

This time around we decided to see if we could make it more challenging by taking a 3¾ year old boy with us, and try and convince him to walk the whole way under his own steam. Because he really is getting too heavy to carry.

Fifteen kilometres per day over four days… what could possibly go wrong?

The forecast was for gorgeously sunny warm weather for the next four days. As we started out around 8.30am, it was already terribly pleasant out.

We climbed up the enormous hill from Sunshine Village up to the Meadows (disclaimer – hill not actually enormous, just tends to feel that way). And then spent some time loitering by Rock Isle Lake and waiting for the rest of the group to catch up. Which they did! Before we had been eaten by mosquitos. But that kind of set the tone for the rest of the trip. There are some very well fed mosquitos out along that trail.

Soon after we hit our only patches of snow, just before Lake Howard Douglas. It was the cause for much joy and throwing of snowballs.

And then the descent to the Lake. And look, we’re nearly at Citadel Pass aren’t we?

Getting from Lake Howard Douglas to Citadel Pass at small child pace takes a bit longer than one would expect though. This was another theme for the trip – readjusting expectations so that 2km/hour seemed like a pretty good pace.

Thankfully a dinosaur turned up to chase the small child most of the way to Citadel Pass. It took to hiding behind trees, and in dinosaur holes, and then leaping out at the small child. Yes, this is a valid motivational tactic. Shhh.

Above is a photo of small child hiding from incoming dinosaur, and below a fearful child running for his life as a slightly apathetic dinosaur pursues him.

Finally we made it to the Pass for a late lunch, only arriving a little later than the rest of the group. And there was much lazing around and swigging of champagne to forestall the effects of mountain lassitude. Meanwhile Mount Assiniboine hovered pointily in the background.

The descent to Porcupine Campground starts off beautifully, but then seems to keep going forever and ever until you’re sure you must be dropping into the very bowels of the earth itself in some kind of Verneian nightmare. But then you end up in a nice little busy valley with a freezing cold stream, and quite a few other campers.

It was much quieter last time we stayed here, but that may have been because camping fees were still charged then, these days it’s officially free to camp at Porcupine, which is a pretty nice deal.

So the small child spent time throwing rocks in a stream, and then frolicking in a mesh tent with the even smaller child, while the large people made food, erected tents, collected water and killed tigers.

And eventually they all went to bed, and were mightily relieved that mosquitos are kept at bay by tents.

Hiking distance: 14km
Distance covered by small child: 14km plus additional running to and fro and general gallivanting metres
The 2010 version: Here

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