Exploring Strathcona Provincial Park
Full-blown summertime adventure season is here!
Guest Blogger: @ginaoutdoors
Gina is an avid local adventurer who is passionate about backpacking and backcountry adventures. We’ve partnered with her this summer to showcase Strathcona Provincial Park through a locals eyes. Along the way, Gina will be sharing her hikes from this summer as well as tips for those looking to get into backpacking or just wanting to brush up on their knowledge.
Back in the Strathcona Park I am greeted with the familiar sights, sounds, and smells that accompany the alpine.
The snow line has finally receded to the point of non-existence, the bugs and wildflowers are now at their peak; summer is here.
Warm, bluebird days mean easy hiking. It is a great time to cross off some of those summer goals, visit some new spots and those closest to your heart. So I have been doing just that.
Last week I hit the road with my pup Olive and we summited Kings peak. To solo hike this gruelling trail in a day was, to say the least, one of the highlights of my summer. There are few things that make me as happy as I was sitting alone at the summit with several photogenic peaks for company.
Along the way, I have been finding lots of little blue lakes to swim in! The only problem is that the bugs seem to have found them as well… Even with the strongest mosquito repellent available I still find myself escaping to a bug-free tent every few hours for some sanity. I’d recommend a strong IPA to soothe the itch.
Read up on available water sources before hiking, if water is readily available you can just carry a litre or so at a time to keep your pack light!
Heading up the extremely well-trodden Bedwell trail (a favourite in Strathcona Park), one may find many picturesque bodies of water in which to take a dip or spend the night beside. Cooling off in any of these is well-appreciated by day hikers and multi-day adventurers alike. All the water features on the trail also serve as a reminder to hydrate and make it easy to refill.
And besides all the fantastic swims, there’s another reason August is an ideal time to get into the backcountry. After a solid day of hot mid-summer hiking, if you manage to stay up past dark, campers are treated to an extra special summer phenomenon. The Perseid meteor showers (weather permitting) are kinda the icing on the cake to the season. I’ve spent a couple of nights this season watching the shooting stars until my eyelids just can’t anymore. Yeah, you wake up a little dewey, but man is it ever worth it.
This summer has been all about the beta. Know before you go is so important, not just for safety! I have been putting quite a bit of thought into what I pack to keep it light, which means doing the research ahead of time to know what I need. If I know it’ll be buggy I bring a full-body mosquito suit (quite an attractive look I will say), a very light addition to my pack that has saved me a lot of scratching. If its going to be rainy, then its super important to put all your items you want dry (aka all of them) in dry bags. When it gets drizzly in the alpine every single leaf, tree or rock you touch will make you wetter and wetter, so its a really good thing you put all your things in nice dry bags isn’t it?
I wish I had done that on my last trip. I don’t know why I decided not to, I had the dry bags handy and knew it would be rainy! I guess there was a part of me that just wanted the forecast to be wrong. Don’t make the same mistake as me, crawling into a wet sleeping bag is not a joyful experience. But when the sun did manage to burn off the fog the next morning the warm drying rays couldn’t have been more appreciated.
And even when these well-intentioned adventures evolve into “type two” fun for a little bit, the hard or gritty parts always seem to fade away in memory. But the high points stick.
Backcountry users follow a “Leave No Trace” policy at all times. This means packing out everything you pack in, being bear-aware, never having a campfire, and minimizing impacts off-trail. We follow these rules to ensure sensitive, slow-growing alpine environments are pristine for future generations.
I have a few more high points to hit yet before the summer is over. Now I have a baseline amount of bug bites and trail endurance to do so.
The days may be getting shorter, but there are still a few more meteor showers to catch and many more lakes to jump in.
Adventures await in Strathcona Park, See you out there!