The Rockwall
A leisurely 5-day trip through a Rockies classic in Kootenay National Park

I've had my eye on this trail since I saw a photo of Floe Lake in my first year of hiking. This year, I finally made it happen.
Day 5 on this page. See also pre-trip, day 1, day 2, day 3, and day 4.


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Distance - 10.7km
Elevation change - 700m loss
3 hours

This final day is all downhill. 700m downhill. You start with some steep switchbacks, then cruise the rest of the way.
I failed to count switchbacks - it was just a long day of down.

I didn't get up for the sunrise, but went right to the lake upon waking for some early morning shots.
The lake and background are really beautiful, and I'm highly annoyed that I screwed up the reflection pano.

Morning light on Floe Lake.

Crystal clear reflection of the glaciers.

Laurier collects some water.

We made our way up and out of the campground, and started the day of descent.
There are some steep switchbacks at first, to get below the Floe headwall, after which it evens out.
Most of the day is a steady cruise downhilll along the north slope of the Floe valley.
This was apparently once thick, lush, and green, but the fires of 2003 tore right up to the headwall.
It is now a quite pretty scorched forest, with huge fireweed, and no shade. You don't want to do this mid-day.
It's really nice for the first while, but the lack of any variety removed some of the thrill by the third hour of pink and black.

Hiking up and out of the campground.

The last bit of uphill for the trip.

Erin and Scott hit the switchbacks.

Last view of the Floe basin.

Hillside of fireweed.

Fireweed and blackened trees.

Laurier, Erin, and Scott descend.

This is the view for most of the day.

For the last kilometre or two, we hike along Floe Creek, and then the Vermillion River.
The Vermillion is in a bit of a canyon through here, and flowing quickly with some neat rock formations.
The blue colour of this river is really awesome, and makes for neat photos.
After a catch-up break by the river bridge, we finished the last half kilometre to the parking lot.
I wasn't looking forward to leaving, but when I remembered that civilisation has popsicles, it added some incentive.

Bridge across Floe Creek.

Looking ahead to the Vermillion bridge.

Floe Creek.

Vermillion River means we're back.

The group stops for a break at the Vermillion River before hiking out to the parking lot.

Ice-blue Vermillion River.

Picturesque Rapids.

Success!

The leftover calf-carnage. Bloody wasps.*

Photos taken by Rachel, except where marked (*) by Scott.

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