This post belongs to the first of a series of hikes, which is a 11-day backpacking trip from Kananaskis, along the Continental Divide to Yoho National Park. Today’s post covers the eighth day.
62.2 miles (99.5 km) — Floe Lake. Elevation: 6,700 feet (2.010 metres)
[1-Floe Lake campground]
Floe Lake to Tumbling Creek Trail – difficult – 17.4 km (11 mi) – 8 hours
Elevation loss - 150 m (490 ft).
[2- Floe Lake from trail]
Dawn at Floe Lake can be impressive, as the slowly increasing light gradually lit the distant snows far to the south and then crept under a pink sky along the length of the lake to turn the gray cliffs and dull dirty snow a warm gold and brilliant white. It is a blessing to have clear sun-filled weather for the walk beneath the Rockwall.
[3-Trail to Numa Pass]
From its shores the Rockwall Trail begins, running along the base of the 25 mile (40 km) long limestone wall, with the Great Divide running along its crest. The trail has several steep ascents and descents over three passes which are hard on anyone not fit or with knee problems. The hiker will pass forested canyons, several waterfalls, flower-filled meadows and magnificent alpine scenery.
Walking north, near a warden’s cabin is a creek that flows into Floe Lake, the trail rises steeply through alpine meadows. The trail passes under the pyramid of Foster Peak, at 7,725 feet (2,317.5m) the highest point on this section of the route which is above the treeline.
Gain: 315 m (1,033') to Numa Pass
63.8 miles (102.0 km) — Numa Pass. Elevation: 7,725 feet (2,317.5 metres)
The next 7km consists of steep switchbacks downward to 5,000 feet (1,500 m), passing some waterfalls to Numa Creek, where there is a bridge and a campground with 18 sites. This is a good place to stop for a lunch break as it has a pit toilet, food storage pole and a fire box. There are sites on both sides of the bridged creek that intersects the main trail.
[6- Numa Creek]
Continue on the trail for about 500 m below the campsite until you reach a signed junction, then turn left for Tumbling Pass. The elevation that was so quickly surrendered on the descent from Numa Pass will now be regained: almost 700 m in less than 5 km. The climb through the avalanche slopes can be exhausting on a hot afternoon. The forested section of the trail is not too long, and the upper part crosses a number of streams (easy fords) on open slopes that offer good views of the Ball Range. Finally, the reappearance of larch trees promises some relief from the endless switchbacks, and the trail emerges at the edge of a beautiful, level meadow. The summit of Tumbling Pass (2,210 m (7,249 ft.)) is approximately 1½ km further ahead after a short climb.
Here there are excellent views back to Foster Peak, a summit that dominates views south along the Rockwall throughout the walk.
[7– Tumbling Pass with first full view of Tumbling Glacier]
[8-Tumbling Pass further along next to Tumbling Glacier on Rockwall]
71.3 miles (114.0 km) — Tumbling Pass. Elevation: 7,250 feet (2,175 metres)
Gain: 685 m (2,247 ft) to Tumbling Pass
[9- Tumbling Glacier closeup]
[10-Tumbling Pass descending]
Descending again, the trail drops in a steep descent to 6,200 feet (1,860 m) at silt-laden Tumbling Creek where the hiker has to cross over a new aluminium bridge to the campground with 18 sites, pit toilet and a food storage pit. Here is a good place to stop to pitch a tent on the edge of a meadow.
[11-Tumbling Pass with Tumbling Glacier behind near campground]
Loss: 320 m (1,050') to Tumbling Creek
Research: Parks Canada
Photo Credits: -Danny Cox, CC=nc-nd, flickr commons; -nordique, CC=nc, flickr commons; -dbuc CC=nd flickr commons.
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