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The group on day 10 Leckie Lakes from ridge laundry day

Ashley Kroecher & Sarah Anderson

Trudel & Andre Kroecher
Nick Anderson
Ashley & Sarah Nick peak over Leckie Lakes Andre
Day 1
The adventure began with the group meeting in Gold Bridge - a tiny town of 43 residents, a hotel / cafe, burger shack and "gas station". Andre and I had driven from North Vancouver and Ashley, Sarah & her brother Nick were arriving in from Kelowna. Nick is currently working in Austin, Texas, but jumped ship for 2 weeks to join us on this little BC wilderness adventure.

2:30PM - Packs and people squeeze into the Westy as its off to the trailhead!

3:45PM - All saddled up and ready with about 300 pounds of gear and food between us, we cross Gun Creek at the Jewel trailhead and set off on the well-used trail.

(Hover over the thumbnail photos to display the larger images...)
At the trailhead
Ashley, Sarah, Nick & Andre with Gun Creek behind
Ashley researching mushrooms in his field guide
As we hiked along Gun Creek, armies upon armies of flies and squadrons of mosquitoes descended upon us, giving us not a moment of peace. Fast paced hiking was our only salvation, and just barely.

7:00 PM Set up camp in an open meadow area below the trail next to the river, approx. 8 km from trialhead. A thorough wash in the creek, then dinner and food-hanging adventures. (Adventures as in Andre climbing a tree in the dark to saw down a dead branch that had tangled the rope 30 feet in the air...)

Day 2
9:15AM - Began hiking. Wide, smooth trail, pretty scenery ascending very gradually through open forest and grasslands. Views of Mt. Sheeba and the upper Gun Valley.

Noon - Met 2 fellows on horses coming out before the Spruce Lake junction, shortly after 2 older men out on a dayhike to Trigger Lake from Spruce lake, then1/2 hour later met a group of mtn. bikers who'd been flown into Warner Lake; Andre and I knew one of the guys from our old neighbourhood!

1:00PM - A quick swim, then lunch and relaxation at Hummingbird Lake.

2:45PM - Continued hiking. Hot & muggy, flies started becoming active. Filtered water at some creeks when our lake water ran out. Climbed some minor elevation, met the 2 older men returning from their day hike. Minutes later we arrived at Trigger Lake. Though it was early, about 4:00PM, we decided this great a camp spot couldn't be passed up, so we settled in for a relaxing afternoon and evening with (of course) some swimming and more food-hanging adventures (something about a tree giving way that Mr. Engineer Nick had or had not "certified").

Hiking through the open forest; midmorning
Hummingbird Lake
Curious bug on backpack
Our Camp
CLICK on this thumbnail
Day 3
6:00AM - Rise and shine! Well, some of us anyways... (I think Ashley would like it known that this includes him)

--- Morning campfire compliments of Ashley, hot porridge for all and tea for Sarah.

9:10AM - Hit the trail for another day of hiking. Walked alongh the shore of Trigger Lake and just past the end of the lake came to the Warner Pass / Deer Pass junction.

Confusion Abounds as we follow the left fork signed for Upper Gun Creek - our destination. The trail led to a packers cabin, shortly after which it seemed to dissapear in a multitude of possibile directions in the wide grassy valley. After a few wrong leads, we went back to the cabin where Ashley, Sarah & I waited while Andre & Nick scouted for about a half hour. Returning to us with news of a decent trail, we continued. After a few minor creek crossings we found ourselves in a thickly wooded forest, the trail much smaller and less used than what we'd been on, but easy enough - for now...

Blowdowns and Bugs became the challenge in the early afternoon heat. All signs of trail clearing by "BM" (who??) ended along with recent signs of use. No horse has come through here in a good long year, and likely not any hikers. The going was slow and hard; the packs only a few pounds lighter grinding into our shoulders and hips, the black flies enjoying an extensive feast, the trail difficult to follow, and sharp, akward blowdowns to negotiate under, over and through.

Trigger Lake
Packer's Cabin
Andre & Nick; trail scouters
Blowdowns on the trail
Playtime! The first crossing of Gun Creek greeted us as we almost stumbled from the bushy trail into the water. Boots off, clothes off and into the water we plunged! What sheer bliss, despite the glacial chill, to soak off sweat and dirt!

3:00PM - After the crossing the trail became a little easier to follow. We came upon a perfect caming area just above the creek - a dry & spacious open area with - but we had far to go and many good hiking hours left in the day.

Shortly after we came upon the second crossing of Gun Creek. The trail on the opposite side became fainter and fainter as we hiked through dry, open fields, then gradually began a consistent ascent through mostly denser forest. Trodden paths and flagged routes conflicted with each other, so we just took our own lines through the bush in the direction of Taylor Pass.

5:00PM - We stepped from the forest into a vast open meadow with a large structure near the creek. A huge barrel stood elevated under a tin roof, and another large elevated box stood with its door ripped off by very likely a curious grizzly. We puzzled over what these structures might be for, but found out 2 days later they were supply shelters for heli-ski operators who frequent the surrounding alpine.

Crossing Gun Creek
Nipple Nick gives us a peek
Open meadows after the second crossing
A break at the equipment shelters
Our crowded "make-shift" camp
7:00PM - Having kept our eyes open for suitable tenting ground since leaving the equipment shelters we'd not found anything other than boggy, wet ground in the open areas and dense bush everywhere else. Once again Ashley, Sarah & I set ourselves down while the two energizer bunnies went scouting. Sure enough, Andre came upon an adequate spot on a small, flat shelf high above the river on the edge of an embankment where we managed to squeeze in our tents, with doors and flys partially overlapping. Hungry and tired we fell into our now routine camp prep's before crawling into the tents for a deep sleep.
Day 4
7:00AM - Sleeping in didn't end up working out for all of us; when I got out of the tent there was Ashley already working on a small morning fire to ward off the mountain chill.

10:30AM - We may not all have slept in long, but we had a fairly leisurly morning eating breakfast and packing up before slinging on our packs and beginning on the fourth days journey.

After less than an hour of hiking we came to a viewpoint from where we could see both Wolverine Pass and Taylor Pass. We decided to cross Gun Creek once more and ascend Wolverine Pass to spend some days exploring the alpine from a basecamp.

Morning view
Hiking through bushes & flowers
View from Wolverine Pass down Gun Valley
A swim in the pass!
An easy ascent into the pass brought us to a crystal blue tarn - perfect for a swim and to enjoy lunch by. After we'd eaten, Andre & Nick climbed into the pass to "scope things out", Sarah hiked to the base of a nearby glacier to meditate, and Ashley & I hung out by the lake - he swam for a looong time and I lay crashed on a rock until the others returned an hour later.
Ashley & Sarah climing; Talyor Pass lies just out of sight at left, Gun Valley to the right. On Day 9 we'd find ourselves hiking the dry ridges in the distance. View towards Leckie Lakes from W. Pass. The lake in the photo would be where we'd base camp for the next 3 nights
Cresting the rocky pass we found ourselves looking down wide, barren slopes of rock, dotted with small tarns between two prominent, high ridges. As we made our way down to the larger of the tarns we gained a stunning view of Leckie Lakes about 2km in the distance. We decided to remain at the larger tarn near the pass and make our base there.

The moment we stopped moving swarms of horseflies zeroed in on us; more than any of us could ward off. Landing on our hats, packs, poles, boots and of course bare skin, there was no warding off the sheer numbers surrounding us.

Fresh Grizzly Tracks in the mud next to a small tarn had us wondering if our approach up the pass had been noted by a large, local inhabitant, or if it was just passing through..

Our base camp at a small lake (you can see some of our group at center)
Grizzly Tracks
How many horseflies can you count??
The Boys...
Andre, Sarah, Nick
Must - concentrate -on - food
Day 5
8:00AM - The first rays of sun hit our tent, immediately turning the interior into a human oven. We slowly stumbled out of the tents, relaxed over a leisurly breakfast in the morning sunshine when out of the blue five people emerged walking towards us over the rock. It seemed almost like something out of a movie - here we thought we were the only souls for miles and miles. Turns out these folks had come up the Slim Creek Valley and were doing numerous day hikes from their base at Leckie Lakes.

10:20AM - Andre and I departed on our chosen route for the day; up the steep ridge separating us from Gun Creek, along it all the way to above the far end of Leckie Lakes, then down to the far end of the lakes where we had lunch and a quick dip in the water. From there we hiked up to a round tarn below and behind the prominent peak above the Leckie Lakes, up to the peak, then down to the other peoples' base. We enjoyed a long swim in a small lake, then hiked 45 minutes back up to our camp.

The rest of our crew also hiked up the same ridge, but came down a little sooner, then also enjoyed a long swim in the small lake just before the Leckie Lakes.

The peak at center was one of our destinations of the day (see photos below)
The traverse atop the ridge. To photo left lies the Gun Valley, to photo right Leckie & Slim Valleys
Alpine flowers on our descent from the ridge to the far (east) shore of Leckie Lakes
From the ridge looking into Gun Valley. Taseko Lakes lie far beyond in the distance behind Taylor Pass. On Day 6 we would be hiking back to our base camp via the pass at far left. Spectacular Leckie Lakes from the ridge. The peak we hiked to from the photo-left end of the lakes is at center, the lake we all swam in at photo right.
Mountain tarn on a shelf above Leckie Lakes; headwaters of the Leckie Valley visible at center. Andre and I took a very brief swim / plunge in this lake on our ascent of the prominent peak above the lakes (photos below)
View from peak Leckie Lakes & the ridge we'd hiked above. W. Pass at photo left. The prominent peak above Leckie Lakes we hiked
The prominent peak above Leckie Lakes. We all swam at length in this lake.
Some interesting patterns in the dry ground...
Andre & Ashley built a tiny, portable fire on a flat rock with some sticks Ashley hauled back from the lakes.
This page is getting a little long, so for days 6 - 10 you'll have to ....