Day 1 – Tuesday, July 4, 2017 – Waterton Townsite to Alderson Lake

Daily Distance: 11.6 km

Today is day 1 of our Great Divide Trail hiking trip. Our plan is to follow the trail, with a few alternate side adventures along the way, from Waterton to Kakwa Lake (north of Jasper) over 10 weeks. I hope to go slowly, planning an average of 20 km/day for on trail days for the first 6 weeks, with several rest days or “zero days” along the way. The distances will increase slightly after my friend Irene joins me in August, but the hope is to still go slowly and have plenty of time to take pictures, journal, read and just enjoy being in the wilderness.

img_7903-1Alecia & Kat

This first section, from Waterton to Coleman, I’ll be joined by some dear adventurous nursing friends, Alecia and Kat. They spent last summer cycle touring through the Yukon and Alaska, so are no strangers to some adversity! Kat’s partner Charlie was kind enough to help us shuttle Alecia’s car to Coleman yesterday, and then drive us down to Waterton. Thank you Charlie!!!

img_7883Taking our tents down in Waterton

Today starts with a lovely relaxed morning in Waterton. Our restful start is much appreciated! I’ve been short on sleep for over a week leading up to today, trying to fit in and organize all the logistics for the trip. I’ve also been putting a lot of time in at work, trying to get in as many hours as possible before our start date. My throat has been sore for several days – eating and talking were quite painful yesterday. I really don’t want to be getting sick just as we start our hike! Luckily I wake up this morning feeling much better. Just a mild sore throat and some sinus congestion, but nothing major. Maybe I’ve convinced my immune system to put up a good fight!

img_7884My ultralight 6 moon designs tent

After packing up our tents at the Waterton town campsite, we wander towards downtown where we enjoy a light and delicious waffle breakfast, and hit the trail by 10:30 am. We have a short day planned – only 7 km from the trailhead. Today is our easy shakedown start day so we have a bit more time to get our gear and packing systems dialled. I’ll be making a GPS track with Strava to share on this blog (my first time really using it, so I’m sure there will be a bit of a learning curve!).

img_7890-2Kat & Alecia

img_7888-1Creek crossing walking up to Alderson Lake

Southern Alberta and BC have heat wave warnings for this week (which I will gladly take over rainstorm warnings!) but it doesn’t feel too hot on the gradual shady climb up to Alderson Lake campground. Or at least it doesn’t feel too hot until the end, when the forest opens up into a beautiful meadow full of what we nickname “nipple flowers” (actually Common Beargrass).

img_7902-1Nipple flowers (common beargrass)

It’s beautiful, but it is WARM out! We welcome a quick swim in the frigid waters of Alderson Lake, followed by some tasteful nude photography with lots of laughter and a few strategically placed nipple flowers. Anyone who thinks hiking isn’t fun needs to come hike with us!

img_7907Alderson Lake

The bugs, particularly the horseflies, are rather difficult to contend with at Alderson Lake. We’re all adverse to using deet, so choose to wear pants and long sleeves instead while we put up the tents. We then hide in our tents for a relaxed afternoon break, and enjoy the bug-free tent door view.  This is the life!

img_7918-1Our Alderson Lake Campsite

Dinner is Kat’s rehydrated curry and rice. We are sharing dinners for this section – 8 dinners total. We’ve brought our own individual breakfasts, snacks and lunches. Kat and I have 3 dinners each, and Alecia brought 2 but treated us to supper in Waterton last night. I’m excited to try out each others’ meals! Alecia also brought along a surprise – a really amazing can of wine. So much better than boxed wine. I will definitely be bringing this along on future trips!

Alecia in her happy place after chocolate

Kat and Alecia

“And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

-Anaïs Nin

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