Day 3 – Sept 3: Numa Creek to Floe Lake parking lot (20.7 km; 910 m ⇑, 1090 m ⇓)
We knew we were in for another big climb right out of camp at Numa, so we got started around 9:00 again. Seven kilometers of climbing and switchbacks, but who’s counting? My hips were complaining a bit, but luckily the shoulder chafing from my pack wasn’t as bad, so there’s that.
Up, up, up, we climbed. Back up to the larches and the “lorax” flowers. The day seemed a bit smoky at first, but not so bad once the wind started blowing. We passed more people hiking the opposite direction that day, and seven trail runners.
Did you know that it takes about 10-12 hours to run 55 km? Seeing the trail runners makes you feel like they are sleek, fast race horses, and we are oxen loaded for the Oregon trail.
We saw unbelievable views that day, and coming over the Pass was so rewarding.
The relatively quick descent into Floe Lake campground went by quickly and we snagged a great campsite with awesome views.
You see, we had reservations for Floe Lake and Dana had been looking forward to our stay there the entire hike. Due to some unfortunate planning/timing, while we were out backpacking, my parents and auntie Dianna had come down to Calgary for a visit, and my sister was also in town. So you can understand that I was experiencing some guilt/FOMO (fear of missing out) about my family being in Calgary while I was out in the mountains, seemingly ignoring them. The guilt had weighed on me the weeks prior to our trip, and continued to bother me while we were backpacking. Finally I suggested to Dana that we hike out on the third, in order to get home and see my family briefly.
He wasn’t pleased, and it took a lot of discussion, but after a long packs-off break and visit with some other hikers at Floe, we decided to continue hiking and head back to the car. Some hikers needed a shuttle back to the Painted Pots parking lot, so we offered to help them out.
We began the descent down to the 2003 forest-fire burn area, eating wild raspberries as we went. The switchbacks were endless! Finally after crossing a messy avalanche area, the path leveled off and we hiked for what seemed like forever through kilometers of tall fireweed and burned trees.
The last few kilometers seem extra harsh because by that point, your body is exhausted, and you can see the highway from the trail. Dana coaxed me along with Haribo candies and finally when I thought I couldn’t walk another step, we saw the parking lot and the hikers we’d offered a shuttle to.
You can imagine we inhaled our well-earned post-hike dinner at Una Pizza that night!
The Rockwall hike was amazing and also super exhausting. We were happy to be in home in Calgary a day before work so we could relax and have a nap. I bet it won’t be our last Rockwall hike!