In the past I have had a bad habit of neglecting to keep a good trail record of my hikes and
paddles but I made a real effort on this hike. The reward for my diligence is the opportunity to reproduce my notes here with interjections (which I'll show in green) where I feel it necessary and much less mental stress trying to remember what I saw and did.
I drove from Jasper to Moab Lake parking lot and started to walk from the parking lot at 11:45. After walking the first 800m I arrived at the trail that leads down to Moab Lake.
I decided to walk for an hour before stopping for a lunch break and at 12:43 I stopped at the same spot that I stopped at on my last hike to Whirlpool Campsite. It's a good spot because of the convenient fallen tree to sit on. I ate two granola bars then set off again and arrived at the campsite shortly after 14:00.
While I was stopped for lunch a couple came by on mountain bikes and we greeted each other briefly and they continued on their way. Later, after I had set up my camp they came into the campsite and we had a very enjoyable chat. It turned out they had been in Jasper for four years.
In my last post I talked about Whirlpool Campsite and my bivvy sack but I didn't include any pictures so I'll correct that omission now.
My bivvy sack is ideal for solo hikes because it is light and doesn't take up too much space in my pack. The next picture will give you a better idea of its size and how it is designed to keep the occupant comfortable and dry. I have a ThermoRest sleeping pad, a down sleeping bag and a self inflating pillow inside that keep me comfortable.
I woke up when my alarm went off at 06:00. It was still dark and the stars were still visible so I stayed in the sleeping bag until 07:45. when I finally got up it seemed quite cold. I made tea and oatmeal and had breakfast. Then I decided it was time to dry out my sleeping bag and the camp mattress. As I spread them out I was surprised to find that the top outside cover of the sleeping bag covered in a coating of frost. I thought I would wait until the sun rose above the mountain so that things would dry more effectively. I waited and waited and finally decided to pack everything away anyway. I packed the bed roll and sleeping bag and, last of all, the bivvy sack. Then, needless to say, at 10:45 the sun appeared over the mountain top. It was a welcome appearance. Why is it that you feel the cold so much more when you get older? I had been shivering from getting up until the sun was actually shining on me.
12:55 - stopped for lunch (?) break. One granola bar and a Gluco 5g.
I took an unclearly marked trail but doubted my decision. As you ca see from the picture below, the trail was clearly marked but did not indicate that it was for the Athabasca Pass trail. I continued along the trail for some distance before I decided to go back to check out the other possibility which seemed to be the continuation of the fire road. However, a short way down the road it disappeared into a wet, swampy flood plain.
Walked and checked the other possibility and I was correct in the first place. Wasted 15 minutes time and energy.
The trail I had to take had changed from a wide road to a narrow path with lots of roots and rocks. I'll take photos on my way back.
I arrived at Tie Camp at 14:15. I was very surprised to see the campsite because I was expecting to walk for another hour. The map of this trail shows 6.0km from Whirlpool to Tie Camp but the sign here shows it was 4.0km. The map was correct and showed the correct distances but my memory was not so good and I managed to remember the distances in reverse. Perhaps another function of age?
This is an old style campsite. There are two spots to pitch your tent, a fire box and a primitive pit toilet.
The method for removing food etc. from bears and other animals is a bear pole - a pole up high between two trees for you to hang up your food and equipment on a rope out of the reach of any animals.
After packing up the camp I started to hike back out at 11:03. I arrived at the trail divide where the fire road starts at 11:57. I took a break for a granola bar and a drink of water.
As promised, here is a picture of the narrow path that leads from the fire road to Tie Camp.
I started off again at 12:10 and arrived at Whirlpool campsite at 12:53. I sat at the table in the campsite and ate my usual lunch of two granola bars and a drink of water. I decided to walk out today instead of staying here for one more night. It was always an option to see if I could hike 10km with a full pack. Nothing much to report from here. Just my progress. I started off again at 13:30 and then stopped again for a break at 14:33 - the usual energy recharge; a granola bar and water. Started out again at 14:45. I wasn't sure how well I was progressing because I hadn't noticed the spot where I stopped last time I hiked this section of the trail. I started out again at 14:45 and continued until 15:35 when I stopped at the picnic table overlooking Moab Lake. Not far to go now.
Off again at 15:42 and I arrived at the van in the parking lot at 15:57.
The weather for the whole hike was sunny and warm in the daytime but decidedly cool at night. Normal conditions for September when you are in the mountains. The definite advantages to hiking at this time of year are the fall colours and the lack of mosquitos.
Here are the statistics for this day's hike courtesy of the Sportractive app:
Walking: 3hours 45mins
Total time: 4hours 54mins
Breaks: 1hour 9mins
I'm a grandfather who lost an infant granddaughter and who wants to help Gillian, her mother, provide support for other grieving parents through Hazel's Heroes.