[1-Ramparts and Amethyst Lakes]
This is a continuation of the post from last week where the hike stopped at the Amethyst Lakes campground.
While taking in the beauty of the pristine wilderness of the Tonquin Valley it is important to remember this is home to grizzly bears. Grizzlies tend to be grumpy and will bluff charge hikers if they get too close. Hikers should be in groups and make lots of noise on the trail to avoid surprise encounters. It is recommended to maintain a distance of 100 metres from bears and a minimum of 30 metres from other wildlife species.
[2-Grizzly bear track in Tonquin Valley]
The Tonquin Valley is used by woodland caribou in early June for calving (in side valleys), for feeding all summer and for the rut in October. There is controlled access for hikers to avoid confrontations with the caribou and the bears.
[3-Grizzly sow with cub - click to enlarge]
Other nasty residents to be wary of are the biting insects. To avoid the bears and the blood suckers is to visit later in the season in autumn. During the summer insect repellant and a mesh bug hat and jacket are necessary items to keep comfortable.
[4- Woodland Caribou in Tonquin Valley - click to enlarge]
The Woodland Caribou are considered an endangered species in Canada.
[5- Cotton Grass in Tonquin Valley]
Amethyst Lakes have Rainbow and Brook Trout for fishing enthusiasts.
[6- Lower end of Amethyst Lake with fish fins - click to enlarge]
There is winter access for skiers; however, it is strongly advised to have maps and good route finding skills to follow Portal Creek and the open areas of the valley floor. There are no signs advising the route. Avalanche training is required. Please visit here for information.
[7- Amethyst Lake and Ramparts]
[8-Outlet of Amethyst Lake forming Astoria River - click to enlarge]
At the outlet of the Amethyst Lakes follow the trail to the 1.5km mark downstream on the Astoria River where there is a bridge. This is a good place to refill the water bottles before going on to the Surprise Point Campground.
[9-Crossing Astoria River near Amethyst Lake]
[10-Astoria River in Tonquin Valley]
[11-South end of Tonquin Valley toward Surprise Point campground - click to enlarge]
[12-West over marshy area in Tonquin Valley]
After crossing a very wet meadow, probably teeming with mosquitos...
[13-Hiker in Tonquin Valley]
...at the 2 km point is the Surprise Point campground. This is considered the most popular campground in the Tonquin Valley, but it is in an exposed location. Surprise Point has four tenting sites with tent pads, bear poles with cables and a privy.
[14-Unnamed lake at Surprise Point campground - click to enlarge]
Photo Credits: -brilang CC=nc-sa-flickr, -drpritch CC=nc-sa-flickr, -kiwehowin CC=nc-sa-flickr, -Feffef CC=nc-sa-flickr. -priya biswas CC-nc-flickr.