Monday, August 6, 2012

Seven Summits Trail

Sabra and co-host Scott on the trail
Hooray, it's summer vacation time in the O'Neill household! Our previous hike into the Washington's Goat Rocks was the opening salvo. Migrating north like Canada geese in spring, but with considerably less honking, we found ourselves in Rossland, British Columbia and yes, we were in Canada.

Sabra, our host, suggested we hike on the Seven Summits Trail and all I needed to hear was "Seven Summits" and I was in. The Seven Summits Trail is primarily renown as an epic 22-mile mountain biking trail and we shared the trail with many bikers who were mostly walking their bikes up the trail, a steep trail being the apparent equalizer between hikers and bikers.

Indian paintbrush along the trail

Sabra, Dollie, Moose,
John, and me
Joined by new found Canadian friends Sabra, Scott, John, and Moose (you know you are in Canada when you have a friend named Moose), we set out on the trail which initially was fairly level through a wooded forest. But that would change and change it did as we started to climb through the wooded trail. At nearly two miles, Dollie and I found ourselves well ahead of the Canadian contingent and we had to backtrack to rejoin the group at the Sun Spot, a viewless backwoods shelter.

Mount Crowe
Continuing on, Dollie and I hiked to Lepsoe Basin, a relatively nondescript open spot on the slopes of Mount Lepsoe. We enjoyed  a nice view of Mount Crowe (no relation to Russell) as we lunched on a rocky bench. After lunch, the trail went uphill in earnest, contouring relentlessly upwards through the woods.
The reason we hike
After several miles, we encountered a hiking group coming downhill and they advised us to keep going as there were good views near the Lepsoe summit. We were wondering at the time whether to keep going or not and we were glad we heeded their advice.

Old Glory, in all its glory
The forest did thin out, spitting us out into wildflowered meadows under a blue sky while the trail grade eased up a couple of percentage points. We could see some stuff, too, Old Glory being the nearest mountain with a deep river valley below. In the distance were some very large mountains, begging another visit to this beautiful corner of British Columbia.

Orange agoseris
We turned around where the trail began to descend to a saddle between Mounts Lepsoe and Plewman, bikers literally whooped with joy at the descent. We enjoyed the scenery all over again on the way back while picturesque thunderheads formed over Mount Crowe. I wasn't even disappointed we bagged only one out of seven mountains.

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