The gravel road to the parking lot is a bit rougher compared to last year. There are cross ditches appearing on the road above the main rough section which switchbacks uphill. An AWD vehicle can make it provided there is enough clearance. I was a bit surprised to find the parking area empty as I thought there might be a vehicle or two. The temperature was only 3*C so I was a bit anxious to start hiking and warm up.
The trail is clear with no new fallen debris but there was fallen trees from last year however Park's staff must have taken a chainsaw and cut a nice path.
Hiking through some fallen trees in the forest
and it wasn't long before I reached the metal bridge across the broad creek. This creek dries up during summer but it is currently running full. Cables help stabilize the bridge but it still bounced up and down during my walk across as I was taking a video.
Approaching the metal bridge
There are quite a few nice footbridges which span various creeks that I remember from my previous hike here and the water is running fast.
I took my time on the steep trail and didn't tire myself out but after an hour of hiking I stopped at the base of a huge boulder to peel off some clothing. There was a nice seat from part of a tree trunk to sit on. This area marks about the half way point to Bedwell Lake.
Cooling down after warming up from the uphill hike
My stay was brief and I headed up the steep trail and encountered snow about 2/3 rds the way up the mountain. The snow was still hard and slick and difficult to gain a foot hold. I followed footsteps and it wasn't long before I came across the first of the green metal steps. There was orange flagging tapes placed high up on the tree branches. These must have been placed during the early part of the year when the snow depth was higher. I followed the ribbons for a short distance then realized that they headed up but not exactly following where the trail traveled so I went back to following old footsteps.
Hiking on the snow in the forest
One of the temples of the sunglasses had broken off and although it still worked it didn't sit snugly. If I knew where the other piece was, I could have taped it together. With the sun reflecting off the snow, it was blinding.
I am always amazed how snow changes the appearance of the landscape to make it indistinguishable from that of summer. I had a general idea where to go once I got closer to my destination but without the footsteps in the snow I would have gone off track and wasted time second guessing my decisions. In this case, it would be a lot easier using GSP tracks.
I took a bit more than 2 hours to arrive at Bedwell Lake which is a gain of ~1600 ft elevation; not my fastest time but I wasn't in a rush. I went to the campground area where there was still tons of snow. The lake was frozen over except some clear areas near the shoreline. The snow and ice on the lake doesn't appear to be too thick since I can see the light green color of the water beneath. The thickness of the snow around the area ranges from 2.5 to about 4 feet thick. The current warm weather should reduce that down substantially by the end of the month.
A snow free area at the campground over looking frozen Baby Bedwell Lake
There was one tenting platform clear and another one about 1/3 clear. I found a snow free area down on the other side where a small creek drains into the lake and filtered water and ate my lunch.
My old hiking boots were a bit wet inside. It was no surprise since the soles had split and I had glued them together but water will still find its way inside. I've been hanging on to these boots as long as possible and with a dry summer they would be still useable.
Sitting on part of a cleared tent platform at the shore of the lake
After lunch, I walked around and inspected the Bear Cache. The metal door wouldn't open; it was stuck making it useless. I guess one can find a place to hang their food between two trees but Parks Canada needs to fix the door.
Snow still covers part of the wooded board walk along the lakeshore
Part of a clear section of board walk
Heading back down the trail was uneventful. The sun had worked on the snow and it was soft and slippery. I took my time and rested beside the huge boulder in the forest before resuming a steady slow pace back to the parking area.
A 180 degree fish-eye shot of the entire boulder
Still no one around. Nice to have the whole area to myself since this is one of the more popular trails around Buttle Lake. The only animal I saw was a grouse and deer droppings along the trail in the forest.