The views are amazing! Hiking to the alpine with its pristine lakes, jagged rocky peaks and wide open meadows is nothing but rewarding.
Round two with the Monashee Lake hike. We attempted this hike earlier in the week but were forced to turn around due to road maintenance. You can read more about that here. But as for today, there was no excuse. On the road shortly after 7:00 am, we drove west past Lumby and Cherryville before veering north up South Fork Forest Service Road. A recently graded and updated road made this drive fairly smooth. The well signed route turned a bit rough for the final kilometres before parking in a wide open grassy field with one lone picnic table and fire pit.
It was 6 degrees out to start, but with clear skies we knew we were going to be in for a beauty of a day. We let the girls walk the first 20 minutes or so before the ground got a bit to technical for their little legs and dramatically slowed down he pace. With them in the Deuter carriers we were now trucking along at our usual pace. The first 2 kms or so had us wandering through some old growth cedar forests with its massive heights and minimal undergrowth. Then proceeding out into the sunlight as we were introduced into a large slide area with low vegetation. We could see the remanence of the summer seasons stinging nettle, but luckily being October they had all wilted up so it was free and easy to proceed though the area. Mother natures canvas was really starting to be on display by this point. A 250m elevation gain from the parking lot and another 1 km we reached the bottom of the waterfall.
As breathtaking as waterfalls are, to a hiker they are a clear indication as to what you have in store for the next leg of your journey, steep up. We crossed over the creek to the west then proceeded to climb the 400 meters required to reach the lake. Now the path had turned into following a steep spring runoff shoot that had long but dried up.
The loose and insecure footing made things challenging for the next 2 kms, not to mention portering precious cargo on our backs that never seem to sit still. The higher we climbed the more astounding the views got and the more exhausted we felt. We had brought minimal water as we planned to refill our bottles in the creeks on the way up. The start of the hike however, and continuing well into the bush indicated a high presence of livestock (cows) at large so refreshments were put on hold for a short while. Within 5 minutes of the assent flattening out we ventured out of a thin climb of trees to gaze upon what all that effort was for. The greater the sacrifice the greater the rewards. We had now reached 2000m and meandered counter clockwise around to the back side of the lake. Temperatures were in the low 20’s. There were grass fields that had been bleached yellow, snow patches from last seasons buildup, and staggering rocky peeks towering over a kaleidoscope lake of blues and greens.
We found a perfect spot in the grass along side the creek to relaxed over lunch. The girls were out climbing over rocks, racing around and eating all the snacks. The odd thing I realized about kids is that beautiful things don’t really come natural to them. I don’t believe they truly understood where they were and just how breathtaking of a place it really was. We had to tell them just how spectacular it was and still they would rather eat rocks, put their arms down the marmot holes and play with the last of the wildflowers.
Now being fully rehydrated and fed, it was time to backtrack our way down. The trailed seemed to move much faster in this direction but the insecure footing sure kept us on edge over the steep section. Back down to the creek, and onto the slide area. We even managed to find a little red and white pair of sunglasses that Bexley seemed to misplace on the assent. The cedar forest was starting to really get dark and the temperatures were lowering. Back to the truck for a quick change of clothes and to let the girls race around some more before the drive home. A lone hiker was setting up camp for the night to prepare for the next day’s hike so we sat around and chatted with him for awhile. As dusk really started to set in we decided it was time to jump in the truck and make the 2 hour drive back home.
It took us approximately 3 hours up to the lake and 2 hours down to reach the truck, but keep in mind we did have about 40 lbs on our backs. If you are looking for a great day hike or even overnight backpacking trip then this would be the one where you could get away from the crowds and enjoy the beauty of nature.