Saturday, 20 August 2016

Back Pack Trip In The Monashee Mountains. Aug/2016

We set out early for the long drive to the Sol Mountain lodge. This is a summer hiking/ mountain bike and winter ski touring destination in the Monashee Mt's. I had been here before but not Pat. We drive from Coldstream to Revelstoke and turn right on  #23 to just before the Shelter Bay ferry. From here, it's a 2.5 hour drive on rough logging roads until we park in the sub alpine near the Sol Mtn. Lodge. We will not stay here but base camp the first night out of Sol Lake about a 1.5 hour backpack from the truck.

 Pat starting the fairly east hike to Sol Lake, a small tarn in the sub alpine Monashee mountains.

About 1.5 hours from the trail head, we come to our destination, Sol lake which is just out of the Monashee PP.
This area is not rugged terrain although close by, the mountains can get pretty craggy. Haven't had our packs on for awhile. Feels good, the heat, but this has brought out the horse and deer flies and when it cools down, out come the mosquito's.
We have the place to ourselves. We were told that a sow Grizzly and cubs were seen on the ridge in the background the week before. Later, across the valley the next day, we will be able to try out our bear bangers when encountering a big male grizzly.

Camp all set up, in the late afternoon sun. Time to start the prep for supper.

 The backpack in was fairly short so this is the time we can bring in fresh stuff which we usually eat the first day. Dave cooking up a stir fry.
Wood can be scarce near treeline but there is enough close by for a cosy fire. In August, at this elevation, the temperatures always drop as soon as the sun goes down. No frost but close to it.
These alpine firs are pretty small to hang your food on so 2 ropes are always used to make sure that the bags are kept away from black bears who can climb trees. These are fairly safe as there are no blacks around here, only grizzlies.
Gotta have that morning coffee. The small lightweight french press works great. Just picked up another set of backpacking cook wear pots from GSI, probably the 6th or 7th set over the 45 years of backpacking, wilderness canoeing, cycle touring, wilderness off road travelling.
 This morning we hike up Mt. Fosthall, highest peak in the Monashee PP. We tried to hike up last year from Peters lake but Dave went through the snow just below Caribou Pass and gashed his leg for 22 stitches. Lucky it was in the front and not the back where all of the arteries are. After getting taped up, it was still a 6 3/4 hour trip to make it to the hospital after a 3/4 hour hike down to our camp, a 4 hour backpack hike to trail head and a 2 hour truck ride. Yes, that is a real horsefly.
Peters Lake is in the valley below. This is Pat's first hike up the mountain.

Looking north in the direction of Revelstoke and the Selkirk mountains.
Mountains as far as the eye can see.
Hike back down to our campsite on Sol Lake, pack up the tent and backpacks and head back down into the valley. Destination will be Bill Fraser lake.
Hike down to the lake is fairly easy. No one else around except for a gazillion deer and horseflies. That is Mt. Fosthall in the background where we have just hiked to earlier on  today.
Pat going for a splash to get off the sweat from the Fosthall hike and the backpack down to the lake. Water is cool to say the least. Great weather to be out in the mountains.
Who said tenting/backpacking is hard work or inconvenient. Canoeing on Bill Fraser lake.
Another gorgeous day. Because it is so cool out this morning, the mosquito's are terrible. We decide not to have breakfast but beat a hasty retreat up to the ridge where we will set up base camp for the exploration of the peaks in the area.
The bugs are not as bad here so clothing is shoved in the packs and we are on the way for the steep hike up to the ridge. This area is a popular back country ski destination in the winter.
Once up on the ridge, we drop our packs and head out for a short walk to find water. Hike up a small hill to our left to see if there are any creeks or tarns(tiny mountain ponds) nearby. Yes there is but very close by is a huge grizzly who is headed our way. As we have left our spray and bear bangers back at the packs, we hightailed it back down and with our packs, find a few scrawny alpine trees in which we might be able to climb if there was an emergency. Ate some lunch and kept our eyes open for the grizz. Pat did not want to camp the next night by the only water source where there was a resident grizzly so after trying out one of the bear bangers, the decision to hike back down was made.
We are a bit disappointed that we will miss exploring the mountains across from Sol lake but sometimes when it concerns grizzly bears, it is better to avoid where they are feeding/habitating. Back at Sol Lake.
As usual, when backpacking/hiking, food becomes an obsession. 

Pat shaking the debris out of the tent as we pack up and get ready for the days hike.
Today's hike will take us up the ridge towards Caribou Pass, down a steep slope to the pass, bear right and hike past 5 tarns and finally up a narrow steep pass above Sol lake and then back down to the campsite.
View from Caribou Pass. It was just above this picture where Dave went through the rotten snow and slashed his leg on a jagged piece of scree. Peters Lake with its campsite very near the light green area in the middle of the photo.

One of the many tarns we pass as our hike takes us on a parallel hike below the ridge which is above Sol lake.The alpine flowers are showing off their bloom in the warm late August sunshine as we make our way back down towards the truck.
Pat making her way back down to the trail head through a brilliant display of alpine flowers. In the background is one of the many areas used by the back country ski touring types.

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