Monday, 27 September 2010


Ladies and Gentlemen, I have returned from the wilderness unscathed!  Well, semi-scathed, but a few bumps and bruises are to be expected.

The weatherman had been varying his predictions throughout the week leading up to our voyage, so we really had to idea what to expect.  The weather when we got in was looking a tad grim:

That's a shot from the balcony of our room at the Sportsman on Friday night.  Now let us never speak of it again.

The forecast was calling for a little rain on Saturday and then clearing Sunday and downright beautiful on Monday.  This was a welcome prediction as the plan was for us to hike Silverpeak on Sunday and we were really hoping for some clear skies to aid in our photographic expedition.

We started out on Saturday morning with a breakfast at a little bakery called The Gateway.  It was a great place to have a meal, and a good breakfast we very welcome.  Dad had been fairly sick the previous evening since the Sportsman attempted to poison him with the "steak" they offered up.  Fortunately a proper meal got Dad on the proper footing for a voyage and we set out for the park.  We started our trip on Johnnie Lake under cover of cloud and expecting a bit of rain.

We had a brisk wind coming out of the North, and a substantial cloud cover, but no rain as we set out.  Continuing on the weather held for us, and we even got a few breaks in the clouds:

The paddle through Johnnie Lake was spectacular.  The wind didn't get strong enough to pose a serious issue, and while the cloud cover muted the colours a bit, the views were still stunning:

There had been significant rain before we got into the park, and it was causing impromptu streams and waterfalls to crop up.  As we got close to the portage into Clearsilver Lake we came across on of these little waterfalls running into Johnnie that stirred up this really interesting pattern in the water:

The portage was a fairly straightforward affair.  It had a slight rise at the beginning and end, but was largely flat and ran uninterrupted for about 830 meters.  That's half a mile for my American pals.  Even the portage was pretty, with the damp weather causing all manner of mushroom species to show themselves along the trail.  I was snapping macro shots all over the place, but I won't burden you with the reams of fungi photos I took.  Still, lots of mushrooms:

Also, the little streams and waterfalls flanked the portage trail almost the whole way:

It was still cloudy when we got our first view of Clearsilver Lake, but at least it wasn't raining.

There's only one campsite on Clearsilver Lake, and it's a great one.  There were a couple of really flat spots clearly marked off where we could set up our tents, and plenty of trees to suspend our tarp from.  It didn't take us long to establish a really comfortable camp:

The weather forecast wasn't calling for rain past the afternoon, but we're big believers of the old adage about not believing everything you hear on TV, so we got the new tarp setup early.  This proved to be the course of wisdom as the rains started fairly substantially after the sun set.  Dad had put some fresh waterproofing on both of our tents before we came up here, and it held up beautifully!  The rains came down but we stayed dry the whole evening.

Unfortunately, while I did stay dry, I didn't stay warm.  It was a VERY cold night, with high, cold winds.  I've never had problems with my gear before, but I think the big issue was that I'm used to sharing my tent with Gray, which adds a lot of extra body heat to the tent.  Alone in my tent with my old (very old) sleeping bag I just didn't have the heat or the insulation to keep warm and I FROZE.  Oh well, it's a learning experience.  Now I understand the limitations of the gear that I have.

In the morning we made a quick breakfast of oatmeal and then got out on the lake.  It was a very quick paddle to the trailhead to Silverpeak.  The trail was very we after all of the rain they've been having, so it ended up being a bit treacherous.  Lots of standing water and mud made for a slippery walk, and there were times when we just had to walk through to bush to avoid the sections of the trail that had become small streams:

A lot of mud and one wrong turn later we found our way up to Silverpeak.  At 539 meters it doesn't quite compare to the mighty peaks of the Rocky Mountains, but it's still the highest point in the entire La Cloche Range and offers an incredibly impressive view out over the park:

I may have maligned the La Cloche Range a bit there.  They're only shorter than the Rockies because they're much, much older.  Wind and erosion have taken their toll, and given us a view of what the Rockies may look like in half a billion years... give or take.

Despite the clairvoyant assurances of that wretched liar The Weatherman, there was a persistent cloud cover the entire time we climbed.  It made for some slightly muted colours in our photos, but I still think that the end results turned out to be beautiful:

Surprisingly there were actually A LOT of people up on the peak!  I think that there may have been a tour group up there because there were huge numbers of howling chimpanz teenagers cavorting amongst the rocks.  It's sad that the tour guides couldn't properly explain that certain proprieties are expected in a park setting, and as such we had to listen to the frequent inarticulate screams of the adolescent humans.

Fearing that we would end up stuck behind a slow-moving caravan of larva we took our photos and made a hasty retreat back down the mountain.

We got back to camp with a few hours left of daylight, and the weather was kind enough to actually provide us with day LIGHT.  Just as we were preparing dinner the clouds began to break up and we had our first view of blue sky:

Fearing that the sunlight would become a thing of purely oral tradition I decided to photograph it:

I think it may have been the sudden addition of warmth from the sun that caused it, but just as the last rays of sunlight were disappearing over the horizon we got treated to a real treat as the mist started to swirl and dance on the surface of the water.  It was hard to photograph accurately, but it was an incredible display:

While it was frustrating to see the sunlight so soon after we got back from Silverpeak, it was still a welcome sight and we ended the day in high spirits.  The winds had died down, and the air had warmed, and we spent a pleasant night sitting by the campfire.  With a little extra warmth, and some slightly heavier socks I had a much better night's sleep and woke up feeling refreshed.

We had a good breakfast broke camp quickly and easily this morning and were on the water by 10:45.  Despite earlier predictions the sky was still full of clouds this morning.  However there was no trace of a breeze as we set out and the water was like a sheet of glass.  This made for some spectacular photographic opportunities:

I love catching the reflection of the trees on the water.

With no rain or wind to impede us we had a quick paddle back to the Johnnie Lake access point.  In the end while the weather threatened a bit, we got really lucky with how everything turned out.  It was a great trip, we had a lot of fun, and took a ton of photos.  Still, it was really nice getting to the Lodge and having a hot shower.

We had a really nice dinner tonight and now I'm in the bar where I can a Wi-Fi signal so that I can update all of you good people on my progress.  It's just about time for me to call it a night, and tomorrow we'll head back home.  Since I'll be on the road I may have to forgo the usual Tuesday blog posting, I sincerely hope that you'll forgive me for the injustice.  I'll be back to my usual routine next week.  Until then, be well my friends.


Debbie said...

Very beautiful =)

Jabbles said...

Looks like another great trip. Glad you had fun.

Aunt J. said...

Fabulous pics as usual. And I realize just how much I miss those fall colours. You certainly don't see much of it out here.

Debbie said...

I'm so amazed at some of the pictures you take. Just think what you could do with a different camera =)

Colin Young said...

Oh Debbie brought up the camera! You know I want to go out there and buy an amazing camera so I can take even better photos. :) I love it when you inspire me to quit my job and become a full-time photographer. :)