5h, 9km, 600m elevation change
We debated which hike to do in the Strathcona Provincial Park. There is a 9-hour and 1200m-uphill hike, a 7-hour hike to alpine lakes with only 600m up or a 9-hour stroll along Elk River and an alpine lake, just to name a few… all the hikes are rather strenuous, long and steep. I’m in love with hiking and used to long tours but nevertheless, 7 to 9 hours is rather long and make Philippe, well, let’s say, hesitant.
Comparing the length, time, topography and early return option, we opted for the Bedwell hike which is supposed to be 7 hrs but only 600m up. Two of the Lodge personnel cited it as one of their favorite hikes. So off we went…
To get to the trailhead, we had to drive along a 5 km logging road from the main road. It is an active logging road, but it was Sunday so luckily we did not encounter any heavy-duty trucks on the gravel road. It is a possibility, that a undersized car (ours) meets a logging truck and has to back-track a few minutes. A logging truck on a logging road always has a priority.
It is interesting to witness co-existence between nature parks, logging and mining here in Canada. Nature parks often have an excellent road network due to the logging or mining activities in that same area.
The trailhead led us to the dense rainforest. It was late morning when we started, but several groups of campers already came down. Several sturdy-looking women with big backpacks went by and must have camped somewhere overnight. Two of them said they saw a bear eating berries at Baby Bedwell this morning! In less than a moment, I had my bear bell out for use.
We steadily hiked up in the forest and went around some large boulders. The path was well-maintained, with many wooden or metal steps, occasional ladders and some chains. In two hours we arrived at Baby Bedwell. It was beautiful with a view of Mt. Tom Taylor (1787m).
Baby Bedwell Lake has a great campground with elevated wooden camp sites right at the lakeside. We had a simple picnic on one of these sites, admiring a fantastic view and and enjoying the sun. We were alone for some time and enjoyed the peaceful quietness in remote nature.
We could have stayed longer but I could convince Philippe to shoulder the backpack for another, promising lookout spot a bit higher up. Again we walked around huge boulders and came out on top of it. The views over Lake Bedwell to the alpine formations beyond the lake, Mt. Tom Taylor and Big Interior (1862m), with still some snow left on the north face. It was breathtaking, calming and imposing. So we sat there for a while in admiration.
Afterwards we walked down to Bedwell Lake and had a brief stop at the shore. As for almost all of our stay in Canada, the weather was dry and warm. And to our surprise, the water of Lake Bedwell was relatively warm as well.
In the end we did not encounter any bear and I am not sure if I should be happy or sad….