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June 7th – Babine Mountains hike – Lyon Creek and McCabe trails
I left Smithers around 9:30am to go to the trailhead in Babine Mountains Provincial Park. I had planned to hike for two days and find a place to pitch my tent in the park at the end of the first day. The road to the park is pretty good, there is just a small part of gravel. Around 10:30 I was ready to start hiking with my new backpack loaded for 2 days.
It hasn’t been long before I start to feel pain in my hips … the good news is that it confirms the improvement of my new backpack – my former one put all the weight on my shoulders. But no way I’ll stop here, we must make do, and there are only 10 kms before camping.
Soon I came to realize my first mistake: my outdated mosquito repellent is not effective (2 years out of date …). Impossible to stop to rest my hips without being eaten by the mosquitoes. Fortunately, after 2 hours of walking I got enough altitude so that there is more mosquitoes … what a relief!
Somehow, being focused to chase mosquitoes kept me from thinking too much about my hips 😉
And it is when passing an old couple that I realized my second mistake: to have forgotten my walking stick!
This first part was also the steepest, so as it was easier to walk on these gentle slopes, I decided to continue before a break. I stopped for lunch for about 15 minutes, just before half of the hike (4h – 5 kms). The break helped for the pain as well as the 2 Advil I took.
Barely 5 minutes after starting hiking again, it started raining, so I’ve had to stop again to put my waterproof clothes on. This is where the hardest part of the walk began, and I do not talk about elevation! The trail had faded in places or was replaced by a small rivers or ponds and there was still a lot of snow at this altitude. The more I approached the summit the more it was raining, there was also strong winds and snow-patches to cross. I sometimes had snow up to my knee.
The morale was not great, but I was not physically exhausted and the will to finish was the strongest.
Finally at 15:30 I reached the top. The summit is the junction between three hiking trails: the one by which I arrived, Lyon Creek, McCabe and Little Joe. I had planned to find a place to pitch my tent at the beginning of Little Joe path and to return by McCabe path the next day. But given the weather, and that it was not late, I decided to go back by McCabe on the same day.
McCabe path is a little bit easier and shorter path, but I felt better only when the rain stopped and there was no more snow-patches to cross, which took a few hours. And towards the end I even had some sunshine!
After the end of McCabe path, I still had about 3 kms on a dirt road to reach my car. I arrived around 7pm, so I was back in the Safeway parking lot to sleep around 8pm, exhausted but happy!
The landscapes, despite the weather, were beautiful, I let you enjoy the pictures and the video:
Photos / Video
- Track length: 22 kms (11 + 8 + 3)
- Duration: 8h00
- Vertical ascent: 900 m
- Departure altitude: 910 m
- Max Altitude: 1765 m
Here is my GPS track (gpx files) for Lyon Creek and McCabe trails.
Note that my GPS stopped tracking for short time periods on the Lyon Creek trail.
Here are the GPS tracks (gpx files) for all Babine Mountains provided by BC Park (http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/babine_mtn/). I have converted there KMZ file containing all trails in individual GPX files for each trail.
Note that you might need multiple GPX files for a single hike, for example for McCabe trail, you need to start on Silver King trail from the parking.