Another night of rain, and we emerged from our tents to battle the mosquitos once more. Some hearty porridge, and some World Cup chatter with the Dutchies (who were hanging out at the lodge to watch the final) and we were off and hiking before 8am.
Mount Assiniboine had cloud hanging about it today, so we didn’t have a chance for a sunrise photograph – we were lucky to get clear skies the day before. After the prerequisite extra toilet break for me, we quickly covered the trails out past the lodge and then up to Assiniboine Pass.
There we crossed from BC into Alberta once more, and started heading downhill into the Bryant Creek valley. Dropping down and down into the trees, things started to get less interesting. Apart from the prospect of being eaten by Grizzly Bears.
Finally we were down into the valley, and the flat slog out began. My feet started to inflate, and I switched out of hiking boots to hiking in Chacos (sandals).
Eventually we were on double track, and could all walk side-by-side, instead of being on the thin hiking trail that we’d taken down from the Pass. It was around then that we started playing alphabet games – cycling through the alphabet one-by-one, naming countries, then capital cities, and then switching to notable people – from reality or fiction.
The game quickly degenerated, but by the time we hit the edge of the Goat Creek trail system I was starting to struggle to come up with anything relevant for any letter of the alphabet. The game didn’t last too much longer after all I could think of for the letter T was the Teletubbies. It was obvious by this stage that my brain was beginning to fail.
It was around this point that the trail started to go up and up and up and up, and my legs nearly fell off. Finally reaching Watridge Lake, the trail turned downhill again. We sat by the turnoff to the lake and tried to refuel, but I was having trouble convincing my body to get moving again. In the end I was rescued by a lovely mother out hiking with her family. She asked if I was ok, and then came back and offered me an apple juice… and then another… and another: “You look like you need them more than we do… I know what it’s like, I’ve had six.”
I thanked her profusely, and hiked most of the rest of the way out floating on a sugar high. The weather grew stormy and breezy which took an edge off the warm, and we hiked along surrounded by alternating patches of thunder cloud and blue sky, mixed together with a few spots of rain.
So with crisis averted, we made it back to the car with my legs still attached. Definitely not the most inspiring day of hiking, but we did see another moose as we drove out of Mount Shark – it was standing happily in a lagoon ignoring all passers-by. And then I ate a lot of food, and had a massage, and my feet finally deflated and so all was good once more.
Days total hiking distance: 25km or so