James Walker Creek

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Distance - 8.84km Elevation gain - 292m
1 hour, 40 min (moving) ascent / 1 hour descent

Started at 1110, lunch 1340-1405, finished 1515

James Walker Creek is a valley in the Smith-Dorrien, one south of Headwall.
In winter, it makes a great snowshoe trip, reached by continuing beyond the designated Sawmill Trails.
We started off on the direct track between the two sides of the old Sawmill Snowshoe Loop.
The day was spectacularly blue and sunny, and there was about 4' of new snow on the trails. We were the first group out.

The start of the trail, covered in fresh snow.

Erin, Laurier, and Neil hiking up the Sawmill trail.

Neil, Laurier, and Erin hiking up to the trail junction.

Mount Murray shining above to the west.

We left the official Sawmill trails just before the top of the loop on another logging road.
The road gains elevation slowly but steadily in relatively open forest.
Once off the Sawmill Trails, the fresh snow got deeper, with some spectacular surface hoar in places.

Erin heads up the logging road.

Surface hoar on a small tree.

Feathery crystals overtake a branch.

Beautiful fragile ice formations.

Looking back down the James Walker trail.

The road ahead into the valley.

The trail wanders through old cut areas.

Laurier and Erin break out of the trees.

Near the top of the trail, the road ends and the trail narrows significantly, with a few areas requiring a duck and squeeze.
After that, we break out of the trees to one short ascent to the edge of a large rockpile.
James Walker Lake lies across a rise just beyond the rockpile, but we stopped at the edge for lunch.
A few of us needed to be back in town for evening plans, so we turned around from that point rather than continuing to the lake.

The slope up to the rockpile.

Looking up the creek valley.

Mount Murray and the view to the west.

The James Walker rockpile.

It would be possible to form one of many possible loops, but we returned the same way.
The good weather continued for the rest of the day, and we had a great snowshoe back.
Once back on the Sawmill Trail, we brought out the crazy carpets for the steeper sections of the descent.

Neil starts down the rockpile slope.

Laurier runs after Erin down the slope.

Laurier goes for a flight on the way down.

The aftermath.

Deep trail on the road back.

The sunny trail leading back.

Erin takes the crazy carpet down the trail.

Erin, Neil, and Laurier on the last of the trail.

Photos taken by Rachel

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