Devlin and I went out to Strathcona Park for a BC-Day-long-weekend hike/ski/climb adventure on Mt. Tom Taylor. My pack had some heft to it: two pairs of ski boots, two pairs of skins, two pairs of skis, two sleeping bags, two mats, two harnesses with glacier rescue stuff, one rope, one alpine rack, a stove, food and clothing for two.
The creek water had a hint of glacial flour in it.
The standard route onto Tom Taylor goes up from Baby Bedwell Lake. The hike up there was pretty, and also fairly instructive from a trail-building perspective. At lower elevations wooden stairs seemed to be in good shape, at intermediate elevations they were busted up by the snow, and as we got level with the lake they’d given up on wood and moved to fairly beefy welded stairs. When we got up to the lake we discovered that there was only one legal tent patch left, and there was a family of five behind us that really couldn’t deal with hiking much further, so we left the spot for them and continued to Bedwell Lake, where there were more spots.
The walk to Bedwell had more of those fairly beefy welded staircases, but they weren’t enough to withstand the huge snow loading up there, so all of the staircases were in various stages of being flattened.
Squished railing and semi-squished stairs.
When we got to Bedwell we discovered more people than spots and a BC Parks warden describing the situation with saucy language. He advised that we get past the lake into the wilderness where you’re allowed to camp anywhere, so we did.
The combination of having a bad sleep the night before, there being a lot of deer flies and horseflies, and having to wait for me with bugs around got to Devlin, and we ended up camping not too far past the fiasco. I used the rope for a bear hang, and we set up camp on maybe the most non-flat location I’ve ever camped. It turned out to be not bad at all, kind of like how you can get a decent sleep in an armchair.
The view from where we camped was great.
The next morning we started towards Tom Taylor. Rather than going back to Baby Bedwell to rejoin the standard route, we just went direct. After following a rough route past some unnamed lake we got to Oinmintus Lake and saw some good views of Big Interior Mountain and Tom Taylor. The bad thing about Oinmintus Lake is that it’s bordered by a fly-infested marsh. Then my pack broke, so we turned around.
Approaching the marsh with a bit of Taylor Glacier in view.
Big Interior Mountain from the marsh bordering Oinmintus Lake.
The metal stays punched out through the bottom of my pack. Without the stays doing their job, the hip belt would just ride up higher and bend the pack into more of a maggot-shape than a traditional pack shape. Every time I tightened the waist belt it just crunched the pack and my kidneys a bit more but failed to take any load off of my shoulders.
Since walking sucked, we swam around Bedwell Lake for a while, which was clear, warm and all-round awesome. It’s not so often that you get to swim in a nice, clear, deep alpine lake with glaciers in view while being warm.
I dumped the rope into Devlin’s pack, which helped a bit, but the combination of having most of the load on the shoulders, the maggot-pack attacking my lower back, the waist belt being over my belly button and the protruding stays stabbing my bum made the walk back highly sub-optimal.
Heading back to Bedwell Lake.
Look at that. Time for a swim.
When we got back to the car, I asked Devlin how he was feeling, and he said that it felt like he was trying to balance on goose legs.
When I took the pack off the bum-stabbing horns nearly retracted, but as soon as I tried to use the waist belt they’d come out again.
I had intended on being back home that night, but there was no chance. We just got the last ferry to Quadra Island and crashed on my parents’ floor.
Stupendous sunset over the ferry docks.