Since J and I didn’t finish the entire Rockwall trail last year, having cut out at Numa Falls for 44k, I had a strong desire to come back and do it again, in the same direction, from Marble Canyon to Floe Lake. But to completion, this time. B decided to join me, and I think he was glad that he did.
Most people would tend to start at Paint Pots now that the bridge is open, but, well, Marble Canyon to Paint Pots is such a pleasant little section along the river and it was made even more pleasant by the profusion of fireweed in joyful bloom.
The trail was in great condition despite recent rain, but it took us a bit longer than anticipated. That, with a late start, meant finishing up in the dark. We went over the last pass and came down to Floe Lake as the sun set, burning the rock in orange and backlighting the larches in a fresh green. I loved running my hands over the soft needles as we passed by.
The night was perfectly warm and we moved silently with our headlamps down through the last descent, with just the swishing sound of overgrowth as we brushed up against the foliage. (And perhaps some swearing as I turned my ankle and then braced myself on a rotting tree trunk and quickly withdrew my hand as I looked down and saw the masses of squirming writhing centipede-like insects all over the wood.) Back to being poetic. The massive waterfalls glistened silver in the moonlight, the remains of the pine trunks that had burnt in the fire were silhouetted tall and straight against the curve of the mountains, and the vast backdrop was a clear and starry sky… Pitch black. My headlamp spotted 14 speckled frogs along the 10km stretch back to the car.
Overall, a magical way to end the day.
A comprehensive description of the trail can be found here.
The next morning (or more accurately, the same morning) after a short sleep, B headed home to put some energy into outstanding errands, and I took advantage of the beautiful day by spending it in Lake Louise and along the Bow Valley Parkway for some recovery hiking. It goes without saying that a Laggan’s bakery hazelnut chocolate croissant is an absolutely necessary part of a recovery breakfast!