My “baby” brother Adam (he’s 26) saved me from some expensive life insurance after I posted “His Next Great Adventure.” The four of them were not, in fact, climbing Mount Robson, but instead were hiking Berg Lake Trail. They are all back safe & sound now, and thrilled with their adventure-filled time together. Even though Adam is supposed to be sweating it out on some kind of graduate computer-y thesis-y thing, I badgered him into sharing his trip with us. He also takes amazing photos. Enjoy this guest post! Here goes …
Well Julie’s hubbie, our brother and father and I recently returned from an epic 6 day camping trip on the Berg Lake trail. The last time we were able to do this all together was years ago in Frontenac Park in Ontario. This was back when Dad and I were total backcountry newbies, believing that sporting ridiculous 6 inch hunting knives was obligatory (Dad still does by the way), that it was always necessary to hang a tarp rain or shine, and that a different t-shirt for every day on the trail is a suitable use of backpack space and weight.
Approach to Hargraeves Glacier
I like to think we’re leaner and meaner now. For instance, on this trip I only brought one t-shirt! However, I don’t think the weight saved from this innovative thinking exactly offset the 30 pounds of salami, 4 litres of wine, and 1 decanter of whiskey we decided to hump up. Our brother and I estimated that we were each carrying 65 pounds. If that didn’t clue us in that we were perhaps carrying too much, the occasional query and incredulous looks from other backpackers certainly did.
But Veni, Vidi, Vici, as some backpacker from the ancient times liked to say. And what a trip it was! Starting on the Southern side of Mount Robson, the Berg Lake trail takes its travellers on a 20km route around the mountain, gaining 1650m along the way, and deposits them facing the Northern side of the mount, replete with the stunning Berg glacier and its frigid lake. Along the way, travellers are treated to the breathtaking scenery of the Valley of a Thousand Falls (some amazing falls, but less than a thousand in my opinion).
A Marmot in Alpine Meadow
And that’s not all! Once reaching Berg Lake, the traveller is offered the choice of some incredible day trips. I think for all of us, the highlight was a jaunt up Snowbird pass. What’s to see?? Well for one you walk along the Robson glacier moraine (whose core is actually ice itself!!), and drink in the glorious site of Robson glacier and the torrential melt water gushing away from its toe. After that, you climb out of those harsh environs into an almost fantastical alpine meadow, complete with frolicking marmots, who I must assume have built up some form of utopian society. Finally, you lug yourself up yet another climb, get to the top, and stop. Stop because you’re confronted with an unforgettable site below you – The Reef Icefields. Ice and snow and desolation stretching away as far as you can see. Nothing moves out there, except the ice, in its achingly slow trek across the earth.
Oh oh, I’m beginning to wax poetic, never a good sign from someone who’s literary inspiration lately draws directly from computer science papers. But for me, the scenery was only partner to the main draw of the trip – meeting a challenge with those closest to you, laughing on the way, eating together, and laughing again afterwards about all of our follies. Despite walking close to 90km, I ended the trip completely recharged and refreshed. Or maybe it was the 10 inch pizza, New York steak dinner, and ice cream I ate immediately afterwards?
Robson Glacier (isn't my baby bro cute?)