Elk River

May 25, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

I had planned to do a steep hike up the mountain but last week I banged my left knee on a fallen tree that I was trying to get over so I decided to hike the Elk River Trail again since there is less elevation gain. My knee was still a little sore but held up quite well on this hike.

I noticed the water level in the Elk River has gone done substantially and the forest had greened up with vanilla leaf and ferns. A lot of deadfalls remained but the creeks in the forest are running low or have dried up so at least I didn't have to take my boots off in certain areas compared to when I was last here in early April.

Downed trees are a common occurrence along many sections of the river.

About an hour into the hike, I took a break near the Elkhorn sign beside the river. To get to Elkhorn Mtn, you cross the river at this point and it looks shallow enough. The trail is suppose to be extremely steep and long so maybe I'll try it next time and see how far I can go.

When I came to a washout, I noticed that the creek had stopped running. I headed down a short distance to the river and hung around for a bit. Since the water is lower than my last visit, the boulders in the river is more exposed and the current more visible which makes it more ideal for photographing.

I met a couple of fellows hiking back from an overnight stay. They apparently are affiliated with BC Parks and doing light maintenance on the trail. They mentioned that Landslide Lake is completely free of snow and ice which was a surprise. I guess the warm spring had melted all the snow early this year.

Shortly after my chat with them, I encountered a creek crossing in the forest. This one still had a good volume of water but I felt lazy to take off my boots. I found a small log in the creek to step on and although it looked a bit slippery that wasn't the problem. When I got my weight on it, the log shifted and I lost my balance so I stepped into the creek which was about 4 inches deep where I was. Surprisingly, not much water entered my boots despite the fact that the soles are split however I did a decent job in gluing them together. One problem with crossing a creek with bare feet is that the rocks are uneven and irregular. It wasn't so much the cold of the water which bothered me but the sharp rocks which hurt the feet.

When I reached the beaver pond, I noticed the water level had risen quite a bit which made walking across the Dam a little more difficult. The water is always calm here for a nice reflection of the mountains in the background. At Puzzle creek, I took a few photos and rested here briefly. It was the first time that I noticed the wooden sign with the name tacked to a tree. It was so inconspicuous.

Reflections on the Beaver Pond

Puzzle Creek

The Butterwort campsite was empty. I headed downstream a bit and out of the sun. I followed a faint path down to the river and ate my lunch, boiled some water and filtered about 1.5 liter of clean water. Walking back up to the gravel flats, I stumbled on a protruding rock and fell forward hitting my camera on the ground which I was carrying in my hand. Luckily, there was no damage to the lens. Accidents like this can happen anytime with exposed tree roots and rocks sticking up from the ground.

I went into the forest at the campsite where the pit toilet and bear cache was. This part of the campsite provides nice shade compared to camping out on the gravel bar. I continued along further up the trail until I reached the footbridge over Butterwort Creek. I followed the creek downhill to a point and rested beside the noisy water.

Footbridge over Butterwort Creek

Boulders in Butterwort Creek

I headed back to the parking lot close to 1 pm and took my time. I wasn't in a rush since I had brought my dinner. When I came to the small creek crossing in the forest, I took of my boots and waded the short distance. The only problem with filming myself is that I had to come back and get my camera.

Small creek crossing

I came across a group of about a dozen school kids who were out on a 3 day backpack. I was surprised to see them since this is a weekday but I guess it must have been a school trip. Since the time was close to 3 pm, I guessed that their destination was camping out at Butterwort rather than the second campsite further up the trail.

Since I had lots of time on my hands, I wandered across to the gravel bar near the river. The water looked very shallow around here making it possible to cross to the other side easy although the creek bed is very rocky. Huge billowy clouds have built up in the sky and blocked out the sun at times. There were quite a few Columbine flowers here and a couple of Phlox which were mostly shriveled up.

When I got back to the parking lot, there was only one car there. I guess the school kids must have gotten transported by bus after which it left. One would never know that the campsite would be crowded.




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