Valley of all lakes

Valley of all lakes

CampI only had 3 nights to com­plete what I had in mind this time out, so when fin­ish­ing work in Jasper it was off to the Pobok­tan Creek trail­head imme­di­ate­ly. I hope no one thinks I’m divulging infor­ma­tion on secret places here as the effort required to reach the place is quite sim­ply beyond that which the aver­age hik­er is will­ing to expend.I don’t expect crowds here any­time soon, or any­one for that mat­ter.

The stream feed­ing Pobok­tan Creek at the camp­ground was the jump­ing off place for the track­less adven­ture to begin, and the for­est was open and easy until a huge area of enor­mous boul­ders embed­ded in moss had to be tra­versed. The creek now lay in open flat­land, mean­der­ing its way to split at the base of a tow­er­ing head­wall. The NE fork was my route of choice, and hope­ful­ly I’d be return­ing by way of the NW fork. Heh-heh.

Valley of all lakesA wrestling match with scrag­gly dense clus­ters of conifers took up most of the morn­ing, but alas these gave way to talus fields, and the final ago­niz­ing­ly steep assault to gain Swan Pass. More a col than a pass, the wind tore through with such feroc­i­ty that I was on my way down the oth­er side in a mat­ter of min­utes, just enough time to snap off a few pho­tos. The ele­va­tion was 2650m. Sev­er­al of the lakes came into view right away, but many more lay fur­ther down, hid­den by the lay of the land.

Valley of all lakesA per­fect spot to camp was found a short time lat­er, and before long I was engrossed in watch­ing a weasel in its attempts to catch some ptarmi­gan chicks in a boul­der field, the chicks’ moth­er try­ing to dis­tract and divert the atten­tion of the weasel. I must have watched for over an hour, and I think the weasel gave up. The weath­er was pic­ture per­fect once again the next morn­ing as I made my way through the rest of the Val­ley and its hid­den won­ders. Mead­ows gave way to odd rock for­ma­tions and karst fea­tures such as sink­ing streams and sink­holes.

Valley of all lakesBrazeau

The hard­est part of the trip lay ahead main­ly due to its unknown nature, and that was to get to the head­wa­ters of the NW fork of the stream I had begun the hike at. Moun­tain­sides of moraine below the Brazeau Ice­field were ascend­ed along­side a creek which led to turquoise gems nes­tled here and there. Huge ridges of moraine led all the way to the bleak nev­er­land expanse of East Coro­net Pass(can you tell I made it up?).

Valley of all lakesThis was about the same ele­va­tion as Swan Col, but there was much more room up here. Now it was time for the return jour­ney, down there…below the pass. Extreme­ly steep scree slopes led all the way down to an odd sort of ridge, and below that.…cliffs. Yikes! The scree con­tin­ued down­stream towards my des­ti­na­tion, but there was very lit­tle give in it as it sat atop a hard­er sub­stance. Valley of all lakesStep­ping and slid­ing downs­lope a metre or so was com­mon­place. I didn’t want to slide much more because cliff bands now peeled away direct­ly below me. Hang­ing scree is what you’d call it I guess. Tak­ing my time was an under­state­ment to get­ting out of this place safe­ly, a metre of trav­el had to be care­ful­ly con­sid­ered before tak­ing a step. Some hours lat­er the way lev­elled out, the NW fork of the creek was crossed, and the end­less descent through shrubs and var­i­ous entan­gle­ments brought the loop to a close.

john Boehm
Sto­ry and Pho­tos sub­mit­ted by: John Boehm



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