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Thread: AB Cen = Alberta Rockies Central (Banff & David Thompson) Sawback Explorer, Pt 1: Pulsatilla to Badger
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 09-02-2021, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: May 2009
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Default In Times to Come

Last day was simple hike out via Johnston Creek, with side trip to Luellen Lake. For several yrs I planed to backpack to Luellen Lake in late Spring, for pure photography purposes. Optimal light is in early to mid-morning, and with lake still half frozen if you can hit it right it can provide stunning landscape. Hiking out on this trip I made it to Luellen ~1pm it was way too late. I still enjoyed lunch at the shore (after putting out fire previous night campers just left burning in firepit). Rest was uneventful and I admit I was tired by the time I stumbled to Ink Pots; last ~6km bit to Moose Meadows and the car was quite painful

I will finish the post with bit of discussion in reference to "Part 1" in title of this thread. Obviously I plan to return and explore various other areas, some on and some off trail. Here are some ideas/plans.

1. Mystic Junction Basecamp

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Idea is to hike in from Norquay via Forty Mile Trail and set basecamp at Fm19 (Mystic Junction). Then with light pack half-day trip to Mystic Lake and Mystic Pass is obvious choice; this is also on Sawback Trail. In particular in respect to Mystic Lake that, like Luellen, must be visited in mid-morning for optimal photos.

Second option is to continue along Forty Mile, then trash (off trail) to alpine valley east below Mt. Sira that apparently has some lovely alpine tarns ("Sira Tarns"). Even more interesting is drainage on west side to unnamed lake I dubbed "Noetic Tarn". I can find no reference whatsoever anyone went here, so it would be interesting from explorer perspective.

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Perhaps just following drainage would not be too bad, and according to contour maps there is only ~200m vertical to this secluded valley below south outlier of Noetic Peak

2. Block Lakes Junction Basecamp

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This is well-known camp on Sawback Trail. Obvious approachwould be via Norquay / Forty Mile Summit, with side trips to Sawback and Rainbow Lakes (established trails). Then from Block Lakes Junction route that intrigues me for quite some time is breaking into alpine cirque below Block Mountain and visiting Block Lakes. I composed separate thread on this route as knowledge repository, but nobody contributed any additional info so far. Second off-trail option would be to trash up drainage SE of Mt. Bonnet to alpine cirque with what I dubbed "Badger Lake".

Main problem with this is remote location; 2 days are needed just to get in, with a LOT of forest / valley floor walking, then 2 days to get out - even if taking some of alternate routes. But once in, it is wilderness where chance of running into others are slim and you get to see parts of BNP very few others do

3. Flint Park Basecamp

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Similar to Block Lakes basecamp, approach and exit are long, but there are some very intriguing possibilities from there. First is Cuthead Lake that would likely yield beautiful Front Ranges scenery and probably would be just an easy half-day trip from Flint Park. Second, of which I can find no reference anywhere and that might even not be visited ever, is what is labelled as "Goat Lake" on maps. From Flint Park initial approach would be via established North Fork trail, but then one would have to trash up drainage leading to headwall below high cirque containing the lake. Would this headwall go as scramble only? I don't know and the only way to find out is to actually get there.


I will post separate reports as / when these plans materialize
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