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Waterfalls — Poboktan

Waterfalls — Poboktan: Off-trail fashion.

There I was, at the horse gate just before Water­falls camp­ground. My plan was to ascend a steep slope along the creek (left side climber view). The pine forest was quite open with few dead­falls on the ground, I quick­ly got to the top.

Pobokton
Pobok­ton

Once there, trav­el­ling was easy. Keep­ing with­in earshot of the creek I nav­i­gat­ed effort­less­ly in the mixed forest. The moss cush­ion was a lit­tle thick­er yet pro­gress was fast as there were open lines all along. In time I came to a bot­tle­neck and got back to the creek, soon I was cross­ing in search of new­ly col­o­nized ground where the veg­e­ta­tion made walk­ing thru the low­er mead­ows much eas­ier. The mis­sion: escape the wil­lows if I could.

Pobokton
Pobok­ton

My goal was to get to the top of the val­ley. From there on I could ascend a shoul­der towards a sis­ter of Mt-Poboktan, and while I nev­er rushed any­thing I got there ear­ly, set­ting camp with plen­ty of time to spare. There was a great gold­en hour in the mak­ing and the light was per­fect.

Pobokton
Pobok­ton

The next day I went up a ramp, it took me about two and a half hours to get to the top. There where great views on the Water­fall Peaks and even bet­ter ones down towards the Swan Lakes (unof­fi­cial name). It would take me anoth­er day and a half to get to the lakes.

Pobokton
Pobok­ton

An easy tra­verse below the peak got me smack in front of Poboktan’s North face; and while I made my way down on a mod­er­ate­ly steep rib it seemed to grow taller and taller. I took a break by a tarn; and those who know the moun­tains won’t be sur­prised to learn that every­thing was still­ness.

Pobokton
Pobok­ton

Down the steep mead­ows and fol­low­ing the creek, I wait­ed until the bank got steep­er. I then cut into anoth­er easy pine forest. No point to stay high up as I knew I would soon face a nasty rock slide sev­er­al km long. So, once again I fol­lowed the col­o­niza­tion line and made my way near the Brazeau. Not being fond of silty water I pre­ferred stay­ing on the rock side where I found a creek emerg­ing from the under­ground. It’s water was per­fect. Camp­ing in the shad­ow of an errat­ic, I could hear the song of a river less than a hun­dred meters away.

Pobokton
Pobok­ton

The next day came a long chal­leng­ing angling up val­ley. Fol­low­ing the rock slide and hug­ging the forest I crossed numer­ous errat­ic fields, most of them filled with debris. Wise peo­ple would have fol­lowed the river instead, but since I am not one of them I went up the hard way. I gained ele­va­tion labo­ri­ous­ly and the views got spec­tac­u­lar. Grey lime­stone walls across the val­ley, silty blue waters, the deep green of the pines in between; and a cou­ple of tiny azure lakes dot­ting the land­scape. Once the rock slide sub­sid­ed, the forest took over once again. Not want­i­ng to get cliffed out I stayed on a bench, then there was this amaz­ing water­fall. I was mak­ing pro­gress, slow­ly.

Pobokton
Pobok­ton

I knew exact­ly the way to the lakes, the famil­iar sight of a gigan­tic errat­ic marked the way, but before I went up the drainage (left side climber view) I caught glimpses of the majes­tic NW Brazeau gorge. That’s a trip I did ear­lier in the sum­mer, com­ing in the oth­er way.

A glacial flat, and not so far in the dis­tance the low­er of the lakes. Near­ing the end of August the mead­ows where ripe, you could almost smell the fast approach­ing fall. A mag­ic gold­en hour lat­er I was more than like­ly snor­ing in my tent.
Up just before the sun­rise, guess what I did for the first hour? I had lots of time to spare so I packed up and went to one of the mid­dle lakes from where I tack­led a drainage up to about 2800 m. I want­ed to be on the oth­er side before the end of the day and at about four pm I strapped my pack on and crossed over the col. Anoth­er camp­site, with such a late start I near­ly missed per­fect light time.

Pobokton
Pobok­ton

Every­thing from there on is casu­al. It took me about two hours to pick my way down in a some­what nasty Engel­mann spruce forest (down the creek right side climber view), and then the river flat to the faint Swan pass trail, and fresh griz­zly drop­pings. Once back on the Pobok­tan trail there was only eight km to go. I got back to the car on the ear­ly side of a beau­ti­ful August day. I had been away for six days.

My boots nev­er got wet.

Gaston Synnott
Gas­ton Syn­nott — Author

This sto­ry is brought you by Gas­ton Syn­nott, thank you for shar­ing your expe­ri­ence with us and hope it will moti­vate some oth­ers to get out and enjoy the back coun­try of #myjasper #jaspernp #explore­jasper.  We wel­come more of the­se sto­ries, so feel free to con­tact us and sub­mit your adven­tures!


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Ski Tour Rink Lake

Ven­ture Beyond” is the mot­to for Jasper, so explor­ing is where we will go. With all the delayed access to some pristine ski­ing in the park, cou­ple of the locals Dana Rud­dy and Sean Elliott decid­ed to explore some alter­na­tive routes to fill our days of ski­ing. One of those routes is Rink Lake via the Yel­low­head Pass and or the Miet­te River. This route took us (Reg, Art & Eddie) a good 10 hours with poor snow con­di­tions. The snow was non exis­tence for the first 2km or about 300 metre ele­va­tion, so that hike up with skis on our packs and slip­pery icy trail with our ski boots did not help. Our goal was 1,800 metres where Rink Lake resides.

Start­ing ele­va­tion 1120 metre.
high­est ele­va­tion 1857 metre. Dis­tance 22 kilo­me­tre.
Dura­tion 10 hrs includ­ing breaks.

BTW, the high­way sec­tion was not done with skis. 😉 (8km)

After reach­ing the pass the 100 metre decent on crusty nar­row pas­sage though the trees was a ven­ture in itself. Reach­ing the creek we found out that we had to climb back up towards Rink Lake about 80 metres of ele­va­tion and anoth­er cou­ple of kilo­me­tres. The frozen lake was such a pret­ty sight and it seems all the sweat was worth the explorato­ry trip.

We did not have much time stick­ing around due to day­light and the decent on unex­plored ter­rain we had to embark as we decid­ed to com­plete the loop exit­ing on the Miet­te river. Again with the crusty un-turnable ski con­di­tions, arrrg! We reached a drop on the creek where the sun­light was get­ting dim, lucky for me Reg was a lit­tle bit ahead and called out “DROP”, I stopped in my tracks and found a ten foot drop just inch­es in front of my ski tips.

Sun has well set now and lucky for Art and me, Reg packed a cou­ple of head­lamps for some of the tricky parts of the river.  The last hun­dred metre decent is fair­ly flat so it was quick mov­ing under the moon­light.

Stay tuned to this sto­ry for any updates on the new ski club and a pro­pos­al for a back coun­try ski cab­in.

Rocky River

Coronet Creek to Rocky River Headwaters and Beyond

Rocky River Headwaters
Rocky River Head­wa­ters

I have been hik­ing cross coun­try in the Cana­di­an Rock­ies for quite some time, going places and see­ing things which I think rel­a­tive­ly few peo­ple do. This par­tic­u­lar out­ing was cho­sen for its remote­ness and well .… it looked like it could be done after plot­ting out the route on the topo maps. Of course the maps don’t show every­thing, it would be guess­work until I was actu­al­ly out in the field. So after the near­ly ill fat­ed cross­ing of a name­less pass con­nect­ing Maligne Pass with the Coro­net Creek Head­wa­ters (the pack had to be low­ered with some stur­dy cord through a small water­fall near the bot­tom of the descent), it was all down­hill on a very good trail to Coro­net Creek Camp­ground. I couldn’t believe all the peo­ple who came here by boat.heee heee.

Any­way it was a gor­geous place right near the very end of Maligne Lake. The­se were the last bits of civ­i­liza­tion I’d be see­ing for sev­er­al days, then it was off into the total unknown, War­ren Creek Valley.(I do believe that’s what its called). The way was open, wild and glo­ri­ous, a light breeze blow­ing from the upper val­ley, the tell­tale scent of the Rock­ies’ pristine forests filled the air. The open creek­side flats soon gave way to rolling forest­ed bush­whack­ing along its banks, the odd bit of game trail here and there mak­ing the task a lit­tle eas­ier. I’d clap my hands loud­ly from time to time or just yell, in case some wildlife up ahead might be unaware of my pres­ence.

The going became instant­ly more rugged as the slope steep­ened and became filled with gigan­tic boul­ders, secure­ly? embed­ded into some low moss like growth. I wound my way through a maze of the­se, and it was seem­ing­ly end­less until into view up ahead came a glimpse of what was the come. A tree­less moon­scape spread in all direc­tions, bleak rub­ble filled glac­i­ers spilling down from the Brazeau Ice­field to the south. After spend­ing sev­er­al hours of scram­bling aim­less­ly amid­st the moon­scape I descend­ed to find a nice lit­tle camp­site pro­tect­ed by the last of the trees sit­u­at­ed atop some old moraine and rock­slide debris. Much bet­ter than it sounds. The creek roared through a nar­row chasm about 10 metres down a steep scree slope below.

Rocky River Headwaters
Rocky River Head­wa­ters

Sor­ry, did I for­get to men­tion that I was absolute­ly on my own. Most of my trips are solo ones, either out of choice, or I can’t find any­body to come along once I men­tion that there won’t be any trail. The route I had planned would involve tra­vers­ing the enor­mous moon­scape ahead and hope­ful­ly gain­ing access to anoth­er water­shed via a high col, which I affec­tion­ate­ly call Moon­scape Col. Its ele­va­tion was about 2700 m. I hiked 3 hours one way to get to the col, and … it went. Now all I had to do was go back to camp and get my stuff.

You didn’t think I would drag all that up there and then pos­si­bly find that there was an impos­si­ble cliff did you? The main dif­fi­cul­ties were the rows of slop­ing ridges of moraine pour­ing forth from the cen­tral heaps of rocky waste­land. So it was basi­cal­ly up and down and at a fair­ly steep angle. Good exer­cise for the ankles. Yeah. A cou­ple of glacial creek cross­ings were also nec­es­sary but the­se were easy. After much effort I was up at Moon­scape Col with my gear, try­ing to remain erect with­out being blown through the gap by the ter­ri­fic winds present there. An obvi­ous glacial­ly carved val­ley lay ahead and in it .… noth­ing but rub­ble. Far far ahead and below lay an aqua gem of a lake, my turn­ing off point to gain access to Rocky River Pass. Actu­al­ly, I don’t know if it has an offi­cial name. Sev­er­al hours of mind­less trudg­ing brought me next to the lake and the won­drous descent of its creek through majes­tic lit­tle lake filled amphithe­atres, each mead­ow rimmed and fairy­tale like. I thought… nobody comes here and I was glad.

Rocky River Headwaters
War­ren Creek — Camp­ing Spot

The descent to mead­ow­lands and tree line was a breeze, and after ford­ing the creek took shel­ter under some trees to wait out a sud­den, cold down­pour. The sun returned and a rain­bow spread its glo­ry upon the low­er val­ley. After much clam­ber­ing about, the sim­ply enor­mous pass was reached, a herd of bighorn sheep eye­ing me sus­pi­cious­ly before bolt­ing to some safer van­tage point. To the east, a small por­tion of South­east Lake was vis­i­ble. The pass was very windy and cold, and a good trail came into use after sev­er­al hours of hik­ing. It led me past more glo­ri­ous mead­ows and lakes to final­ly descend the Rocky River to its main val­ley, past the con­flu­ence with the Med­i­cine Tent. Sev­er­al more days of trail hik­ing along the South Bound­ary Trail even­tu­al­ly end­ed at Jacques Lake. Whew.

Rocky River Headwaters
Sto­ry and Pho­tos sub­mit­ted by: John Boehm

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