double digits

This past weekend was spent hiking and camping on the western edge of the Stein Valley with Team Fred. The plan was to camp at the Van Horlick Creek headwaters and then hike into Stein Park from there.

Sara, Megan, Miki, Tess, and I set out early Saturday and drove out to Duffy Lake. The 10 km long drive up the old logging road at less than 10 km/h felt like it takes at least an hour to do. I hung my head out the window a lot.

Stein Valley 003_cropped

The reconnaissance for this trip occurred last year in midsummer when loads of stinging nettles and tangled webs of slide alder were first endured and then conquered. Those prior adventures were in the months of July and August – apparently near the peak of tenacious flora season. With this trip being mid-October, the nettles, thistles, and docks had all died back. The leaves had fallen from the slide alder allowing the branches to glide apart when pressed. The route in was surprisingly clear.

Stein Valley 008

We reached our camp spot shortly before sunset.

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The night was beautiful and the moonlight cast beautiful shadows. And sunrise in the mountains was as glorious as can be.

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My usual approach to hanging food out of the reaches of bears involves a long thick tree branch or a snag with a good lean but none of these were available. Miki and I got crafty and managed to rig up this dealy without even climbing any trees.

Stein Valley 083

We hiked up a gorgeous spine of moraine with plenty of opportunity to push some comfort zones and folks splitting up a bit to explore wherever their hearts steered them. Tess, Miki, and I found a spot that had beautiful all over it so we did a victory pose.

Stein Valley 131

Below is a panorama composite of what we were looking at during the victory pose. Just left-of-centre you can see Elf Peak, where Dave and I hiked last year.

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This place never ceases to energize me. Uber thanks to Miki for taking all these photos!

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