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Thread: AB Nor = Alberta Rockies North (Jasper & Willmore) Swarming Bugs and Wildfire Haze: Enter Tonquin
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-25-2021, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
zeljkok
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Default Moat Lake and Maccarib Meadows Dayhike

After sleeping better than expected I made my way through swarms of mosquitoes to food lockers, and after making breakfast discovered nice little bench just below picnic tables; it has good view of Ramparts, but alas haze obscured most of it & I knew it was not likely to get clear anytime soon
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Still, after crossing back Maccarib Creek and hiking few minutes along main artery bugs somewhat eased; they never disappeared but it was tolerable. Made it to signed junction and took right towards Tonquin Lodge / Moat Lake - Tonquin Pass. This is very enjoyable walk across open meadows with boardwalks and Amethyst Lakes with towering Ramparts behind could be seen
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After stopping for early lunch by some very photogenic ponds I came to Tonquin Lodge. Horseflies were horrible here & I watched poor horses trying to fend swarms attacking them; poor things couldn't stand still and constantly walked in clear distress. Owners had two barrels with smoke but it didn't seem to help much. At lodge had chat with housekeeper, learning they are just starting to get guests after Covid lockdowns. Package includes full board; cabin and meals. Price? 330 cad/night (and you still have to walk - or horse ride - but no magic carpet will get you there).

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Below lodge was very neat boat dock; on a clear day it would be great joy to go for a paddle in Amethyst Lakes. I was also told there is plenty of fish
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Back on trail, I dropped towards some uneven terrain then crossed rather vast meadow heading towards Moat Lake. Trail is flagged and cairned, but periodically disappears. Direction is obvious though. Takes ~40min from Tonquin Lodge. Moat Lake is very nice, but again haze ruined the views. I made my way halfway around north side of the lake and discovered couple of canoes stashed there; bugs were not bad so I made me a nest there and even fell asleep for half an hour. There didn't seem to be any trail beyond so if you are bound for Tonquin Pass, you are likely to step through much of swamp and bog. I was intrigued by Tonquin Hill rising above & I'd be willing to bet there is acceptable trail leading to the top, but simply had no energy - or will - considering heat and haze.
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Back at Maccarib camp I made early dinner. Camp swarmed up and was full, so looking for some solitude I decided to hike up Maccarib Meadows behind the camp; posted sign says 2.2 km, but I think there is more. Nearby is memorial to Percy Goodair, park warden that perished here from grizzly bear attack sometime in last century
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Trail ends in rather superb viewpoint gaining ~200m vertical above camp, but views were totally obscured. I still bundled to cover from mozzies and sat in grass for 30min imagining the views that might be. There is much room for further exploration here; one could simply head further up exploring vast ridge system above and I bet views get better the higher you go
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Tomorrow morning I moved camp from Maccarib to Clitheroe, then went dayhiking to Surprise Point/Chrome and Outpost Lakes. This will be next post

Last edited by zeljkok; 07-25-2021 at 05:27 PM.
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