Fresh and with high spirits, a tripod was set up to capture the mandatory group shot in front of the information panel at the trailhead. The elevation profile for the trail is quite seductive. It draws you into the park with a gentle ascent, only to hammer you with the majority of its elevation gain concentrated at the Hump. Our goal was simple: take a break at Kinney Lake Campground, have lunch at Whitehorn Campground, a break at Emperor Falls Campground where we would make a go/no go decision and, hopefully, the final push to Berg Lake Campground. We soon arrived at the Kinney Lake outlet bridge after just over 4 kms, but only 100 ft in elevation gain.
Time for a morning snack, stretch, and nature break. Not too much later, time for a second stop at the Kinney Lake Campground shelter and an opportunity to soak in the mountains surrounding Kinney Lake, and make any adjustments to our packs. Leaving Kinney Lake, we crossed the alluvial flats, and tackled a series of three “false humps” that need to be overcome while continuing the gradual ascent to Whitehorn Campground.
This video shows a short section of the trail between Emperor Falls Campground and Kinney Lake on our return trip:
Lunch at Whitehorn was accompanied by the sound of the rushing waters of the Robson River, and the spectacle of the Valley of a Thousand Falls. It is at this point that we put on our brave faces – for we knew that the Hump was directly ahead of us. While the climb did take its toll, it was easier than how I last remembered it (the intestinal bug was in full swing by then the last time around, and I was literally dragging my butt up the hill).
Setting the right pace is half the battle, and as spent more time together on the trail as a group, it became clearer to me who should be setting the pace up front as we encountered different types of terrain. Jim was particularly suited to setting a steady and productive pace on the uphills, while Melissa happily led us through the stretches where we could make up time.
This slideshow provides highlights along the entire length of the trail:
The break at Emperor Falls was well deserved. The group’s silence, however, had me worried. Boots were quickly removed, and once I felt it was safe enough, I asked the group if they were willing to make the final push. I would not necessarily characterize the response as resounding, but at this stage, any kind of “yes” was good enough for me! And so on we went… We finally arrived at around 6 pm, about 10 hours after having left the trailhead. After setting up camp, we headed to the day use shelter for dinner, and happily closed out our first day on the trail.
This video was shot on our return trip near the bridge over the Robson River at the south end of Kinney Lake:
You can read more about this trip here.
– First bridge over Robson River
– Trailhead sign
– Kinney Lake Campground day use shelter
– Bridge to Whitehorn Campground
– Whitehorn Campground day use shelter
– Stream crossings
– Falls of the Pool
– Emperor Falls