Cet article est également disponible en : French
“Charcoal Ridge” in Tombstone
When I went to get some info at the park interpretive center, I learned that many of the “official” trails were closed. Some were not yet open for the season, still too much snow, another one because of the presence of a grizzly feeding on caribou nearby.
So the options were rather limited regarding the marked trails. Luckily the park ranger informed me of others non-marked trails, Charcoal Ridge is one of them (meaning peak or ridge edge), a walk of 3-4 hours maximum.
So I prepared for that first backcountry hike, the first of my life off trail. My only indication being a drawing on a piece of paper and a map that I had purchased at the Interpretive Center. Add to that, a strong presence of grizzly bears in the area, and many park ranger warnings because I was leaving alone, and it gives you a good boost of confidence … no?
The goal also was to train myself, so I packed my bag as if I was leaving for 2-3 days.
The beginning of the hike is about 100 m from the campsite. You have to walk along the road to a gravel area on the road side, after which there was a small pile of stones indicating the “trail”. From there you have to enter the bushes, a small forest of shrubs (approx. 2 m height) relatively dense. You must then follow a path initially created by animals (moose / caribou). When the trail starts to scatter, walk towards the river on your right and try to cross where you see a tall dead tree. After crossing, walk “straight” to the summit on the tussock and through small shrubs (up to the knees). Once up, it is possible to walk along the ridge from a peak to another.
Well, that’s pretty simple! And in the end it went well 🙂
The small river crossing has been a little longer for me … it is too large to jump over, and I wanted to cross without removing my shoes without getting wet, so I searched a location with enough rocks to walk on. Once on the other side, it was very easy at the beginning but it’s been a little more complicated when I found myself on a steeper slope, covered with shrubs. Shrubs cling to everything: clothing, backpack, walking sticks, making the progress much slower (on my way back I have avoided this part). After that, no problem till the end.
After reaching the top, I put my bag down and I explored a bit further the other peaks, the scenery was beautiful, with a view of the two valleys. Unfortunately, this supposedly sunny day was found to be wet. There were already a lot of wind at the top when I got there, and it started to rain a few drops soon after. When I went go back down a mini-storm that swept over the valley. Strong winds whipped the rain on my face, and in a few minutes I was soaked (pants and shoes), but only the right side :). It lasted 10-15min, and it disappeared as fast as it had come. The end was more enjoyable even without any sun. The bushes took care of soaking my left side that the rain had forgotten.
Unfortunately I have no pictures, my battery was empty and I forgot to take another one. So this time I only have a video to show you.
- Track length: 3 kms
- Duration: 2h00
- Vertical ascent: 300 m
- Departure altitude: 1040 m
- Max Altitude: 1340 m
- Maximum slope: 18°
- GPS Data (GPX track log) to download : Charcoal_Ridge.gpx