We were on the road from Vancouver at 7:30 Saturday morning and after a brief stop in Whistler we were at the Downton Creek trailhead at noon. The directions are as listed in Matt Gunn's book. There was an update that said to go left, not right at the 5.7km mark but that correction is false. The road is in good shape, the washout at 4.4km has been repaired. The last 4k on Branch 2 were rougher with some shallow waterbars, but no 4wd necessary, only high clearance.
The trail has recently been trimmed and there was plenty of flagging. One fast flowing creek to jump in the meadows just before the lake but if you go downstream about 20m there is a narrower gap. Made for easy jumping with a backpack and a baby. Yes! A baby! It was my first trip with my daughter who just turned 1. I never had the confidence to take my son backpacking when he was that small, but this time I had a friend visiting from Europe and she was needing a serious alpine fix before heading home so I jumped at the chance. In all, we had 3 experienced hikers, 2 brand new backpackers and 1 baby. We made it to the campsite by the lake in just over 2 hours. It was HOT.
We got to the lake and passed by the first clearing with at least 8 tents... that was surprising. We set up just beyond them and soon enough about a dozen guys came back from their adventure. They told us they were part of a stag party and would likely be quite noisy. They even had a keg of beer flown in!!
After we set up we set out to explore. Followed the trail up past the treeline and did some rambling around. SO MUCH WATER! Barely any snow. Some wildflowers. All in all a really stunning place with so many possibilities for exploring.
Headed back to camp, dinner and bed. The stag party was quiet all night. The baby was not...
We were packed up and back on the trail at noon on Monday - Happy Canada Day! No better way to celebrate our beautiful wilderness! It took us less than an hour to get back to the car. It was so hot. Again stopped in Whistler on the way home for refreshments. The thermometer read 39C.
I had been anxious about several things while preparing for this first trip with a baby. 1)The drive. Not much you can do about that but take lots of breaks. 2)The Downton Creek FSR. Turned out to be pretty straight forward and in good shape. I drive a Delica and we had no problems. 3)Snow. There was none! Partially why we went so far from the city. I figured that side of the Duffey would be hotter and drier and we'd be ok. This was true, however I hadn't anticipated the heatwave and it was scorching. 4)Bugs. No bugs! Hurrah! 5)Tenting with a baby who only sleeps well in her crib. She was up a few times and she hollered, but overall it wasn't so bad. It's only one night, being tired is ok.
So yes! We did it! Thinking about where to go next...
More photos here: http://flickr.com/photos/jebusthecat...th/9192353373/
Here are our SPOT updates from our campsite by the lake and from when we went exploring.