Heinz's Report - October 11, 2003

Lake to Lake Trail (aka. Heiko�s Trail

This report is the last third part of Heiko�s famous trail from Hartley Lake Road to Island Lake. Our summer hiking gang had taken the first two sections in earlier reports: Hartley Lake to the Meadow and up to the Top of Three Sisters. This report is from Mike and the pictures are from Aussie Dave. It took place on September 27.

It was a perfect day for a hike: sunny, frost on the ground in the morning, and mid twenties in the afternoon. The hike was Heiko�s Trail or The Lake to Lake Trail or the route up the Three Sisters with a detour, a long detour. Our group met at the Chamber of Commerce and set up shuttles. At the end of the day we reformed for dinner at Island Lake Lodge, about seventeen shuttlers and shuttlees. The hikers included three Dave�s, one Dave got lost, one fell asleep at lunch, and one took the pictures. Three of us had done the trip before and eight had not. Some people were in their twenties and others were grandparents.

When you talk to people from the Canadian East about autumn, they always say, � You don�t have our fall colours?� It�s true most of our conifers stay green but the bushes and the plants in the alpine meadows are anything but monochromatic, deep reds, soft mauvy pinks and lots of yellows. It was almost enough to make one forget that the hike was eight and a half hours long. The trail crossed two significant passes going into and out of the Fairy Creek Meadows behind Three Sisters. As soon as your knees ached from climbing up, they got to creak while climbing down, and the pattern was repeated. The magnificent vistas at every turn and ridge were the rewards of that cycle.

Route finding was still a bit of an issue. At the Hartley end, some scenic detours were being created and they looked better than the main trail. (Keep left and going up.) In the middle the colourful plants obscured some of the stone markers and in one place there was an open meadow with no visible trail exit into the trees (If you enter the clock at six you would exit it at two o�clock and there are small markers on the trees) When we reached the power lines we followed the road even though it seemed to be going the wrong way.

The longest part of the trip was the last two hours. After skirting the upper reaches of the Iron Creek Bowl the trail went along the western ridge of Mount Fernie. On the ridge you looked straight down into Island Lake Lodge. The hot tubs beckoned, the trail was easy but dinner was still hours away. Small agonies were contained in the last walk along the Iron Pass gravel road to the lodge. There was no soft cedar bark under foot or interesting rocks to clamber around, just a road, with gravel.

In the end, a shower, a hot tub, a change of clothes and the wonderful food of the lodge completed a great hike.

-----------------------------------

With Bernie�s last report on the goings on at the ski hill and the sprinkling of snow on the peaks, attention in the valley is now turning to upcoming ski season. Hence, this will be the last report for the summer of our trial �Elk Valley Amazing Summer Adventures� that we started in May. It�s been quite an active summer, even considering the crimp in our activities forced by the intense smoke in the valley and back country closures due to the record forest fires this year. There are even some reports that didn�t make it to this web site because of lack of time � believe it or not, there are deadlines and commitments in paradise!

Thanks should be given to your reporters � Anita, Aussie Dave, Bernie, Kathy and Mike. As usual, I was the only one to get injured this summer, so I guess the moniker �Crash� will have to remain. Also, a special thanks to our tour guides and organizers, Steve and Mike who got us off our couches this spring and showed us these amazing treasures. Your feedback/comments/suggestions on this experiment this summer would be appreciated.

One of the comments I received this summer was to have a special index to all of the adventures by location, instead of by date. Below is an index for all of the reports this summer. Clicking on the underlined titles will bring up the specific report:

Mt. Broadwood

Castle Mountain: Heinz�s report; Bernie�s report

Elk River: Sparwood to Fernie; Fernie to Tunnel; Elk River Canyon

Lake to Lake (Heiko�s Trail: Hartley Lake to Meadow; Meadow to Island Lake

Mt. Hosmer: June; August

Matheson Falls

Polar Peak

Mt. Proctor

Ridge Walk

Three Sisters

Wigwam Flats

Heinz - heinzr@far.redtree.com



Eastern colours, western scenery.

Assembling near the lunch site of the June 8, 2003 posted hike.

Marching up to the Three Sister Saddle prior to the descent into Fairy Creek Meadows.

Philo gazing back.We've come a long way but only a quarter of the distance.

A view into Fernie from Fairy Creek Meadows. Civilization only appeared to be nearby.

Over the pass into the Iron Creek drainage basin. Mount Baldy is the little forested bump with the scar, in the far upper left.

The impressive troupe for today�s adventure