With summery temperatures pushing +30, the snow-line is finally receding higher into the mountains and more shoulder-season hikes are opening up.
The wildflowers on the Flagpole trail above Nelson are absolutely fantastic right now. Red paintbrush, blue delphinium, and huge clusters of yellow balsamroot, as well as many more are blanketing the open sections of the trail!
Looking down along the Kootenay River
Hiking back towards Nelson
The snow is going fast at lake-level with the mild spring temperatures, and that has opened up a couple of great shoreline hikes! These two trails are now snow-free and ready for exploring:
View along Pilot Peninsula Trail from March 17, 2018
It was a beautiful day to hike up to the flagpole above Pulpit Rock. The fall leaves are at their peak right now and Nelson is full of colour!
The flagpole trail has had a number of improvements this season, including the development of new switchbacks to ease the moderate route. I took the difficult route up just to change things up. The grade is much steeper, and there are sections that involve scrambling up rocky bluffs! Nevertheless, the views up the difficult trail are very good with a constant panorama of Nelson below.
Looking down the Kootenay River Valley towards the Playmor Junction
It was a good plan. We were going to hike Jumbo Pass and Monica Meadows over the Thanksgiving long weekend, ending the hiking season in a blaze of glorious, golden larches. Sadly, Air Canada had other ideas.
I spent a summery September day hiking Gimli Ridge! We hiked this trail last year under ominous active weather, but today the Valhallas were sunny and warm and cheerful.
Some other improvements over last year’s excursion:
- More goats! We met a large, male mountain goat gallomping down the trail to Mulvey Basin.
- Bannock Road is freshly graded, accessible by 2WD low clearance, thanks to a new logging operation near the trailhead. The car-sized boulder has been removed from the road.
- BC Parks has installed a new and exciting toilet at the campsite on the saddle. Nice to see some upgrades, worrisome to see a conveyor-belt used in such a manner.
We spent a magical weekend backpacking into Gwillim Lakes. This is truly my favourite West Kootenay hike and an overnighter was the only way to do it justice!
Smoke from the wildfires has settled around the Kootenays, pushing the mountains back into a blue haze. It’s not great conditions for hiking, but we trekked up towards Kokanee Lake anyways.
Returned to Toad Mountain today with the goal of avoiding further sunburn. It was a hot hike in the full sun and we moved slowly along the ridge, packing snow into our hats.
A hot sunny day of hiking on Cornice Ridge! Bear Grass was in full bloom up and down the slopes, along with patches of Beardtongue and Asters.