three trips, 300 km.

I thought I better get something in soonest about my summer trips before the snow flies. I squeezed in three trips this summer.

The first trip (in early July) was to Pinto Lake, just NE of the Saskatchewan River Crossing on Hwy 93. My initial plan was to hike first to Lake of the Falls and then to Landslide Lake and then out via a high col to Hwy. 11.  But hikers on the trail thought the bridges to Lake of the Falls were washed out and so I thought I should re-route to Pinto Lake.

You have to keep your eyes peeled for trail info out here.
The worst bridge en route to Pinto Lake. The far end is actaully floating in the Cline River. It won’t last long.

I didn’t have maps and hadn’t  looked very seriously at the route description, but I did have the GPS and I knew the trail stuck on the south shore of the Cline River. So I thought I’d be OK. Pinto Lake, I thought, was a popular destination so the trail should be  well-maintained and easy to navigate. So in fact I made the 35 km to Pinto Lake handily in one day (my first big push since the accident) but the trail wasn’t great. many bridges were missing or had simply rotted away and in places the trail was overgrown, swampy or simply deadended at the shores of the raging Cline, forcing a bushwhack until the trail could be relocated.

This was also the first time I had taken the advice of the ultra-light backpacking movement seriously. Normally, backpackers on a three day outing  hump a 20 or 25 kg pack. I think mine weighed less than 10 kg, and I really didn’t scrimp on either necessities or luxuries.

My 35 litre Cierzo summit pack, pressed into service for backpacking. And perfectly comfortable.

Anyway, once you shed weight by careful selection of the big three – pack, sleeping bag, and shelter – and by packing energy-dense food, you find you don’t need a sophisticated suspension system on your pack. Toss the hiking boots for runners and now you can really make the  distance fly by.

Pinto Lake campsite. But first you have to ford the Cline River.

I made the trip back over two days, and suffered a little due to blisters, since I was too casual about  keeping my feet dry. Unlike hiking boots, mesh runners offer no protection at all if the water’s deeper than a centimetre. And so I learned to navigate around marshy sections, ti change into dry socks, and to tape my feet more diligently.

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