I left my place by 4 am in the dark and reached the parking lot at the Myra Falls Mine by 6 am. It was a long drive since I live further away now and the trail is at the very end of Buttle Lake which means driving the length of the lake on a winding narrow road.
I never liked this trail since there are too many switchbacks which are unnecessary long. The switchback grade is quite gentle but I prefer a shorter but steeper trail which gains elevation fast. The hike up was in the forest and kind of boring. I could hear the noise from the mine below until I gained enough elevation to distance myself from it. Further up, I passed a handwritten sign that someone tacked to a tree and warned of a wasps nest just up ahead near a dead fallen tree. When I passed the area, I didn't see any signs of wasps so the nest must be abandoned.
The hike up took me about 2.5 hours to reach Arnica Lake then I followed the trail to the campsite where 3 empty tent platforms and a pit toilet lay close to the lake. I thought there might be at least one person camping here since there were about 6 vehicles at the parking lot but I guess some peopele could have camped elsewhere or maybe hiked the Mt. Myra trail instead. I did pass one fellow coming down the trail but I never did see anyone else the entire day. I didn't linger long but continued up to the high point along the open ridge. I passed ripe blueberries growing by the trail so I picked some to eat for lunch.
The sun was bright, the temperature was rising and the mosquitoes were buzzing about. I think the older I get, the less tolerant I've become of pesky insects. But, if I am persistent in chasing them away, I notice that they disappear and leave me alone although there are others which come by.
A lot of small tarns have dried up and the water that remains here and there looks discolored and is littered with small dead insects and other debris. I found a nice shaded area beside a pool of water to eat my lunch. From a distance the small pool looked refreshingly clear but up close dead insect floated on the surface. The problem with these small pools of water on a hot day is that they get warmed up by the sun quite fast so it was lukewarm.
The little pool of water in the foreground is all that remains.
One of the few stagnant pools of water
In less than a minute after sitting down, mosquitoes were attacking me. I wore my cycling jacket because it is tightly knit and they can't poke through. The sun was hot but the shade kept me cool so despite the mosquitoes, it was a nice place to rest.
A nice place to relax and eat lunch. Notice all that debris floating on the water from which I filtered.
After lunch, I decided to hike further along the ridge and I spotted a few other water sources including a fair size one which offers a grassy area to pitch a tent. Someone even had made a makeshift bench from a piece of tree branch. There are decent views of Mt. Myra from this area and the water looks cleaner.
A small path leads to water and views of Mt. Myra
A cleaner water source to filter water from
I walked further along the barren rocky landscape until the trail came close to the steep ridge and appeared to head down towards a more forested area. I stopped and sought some shade as the hot air felt like an oven. This gave me an opportunity to apply more sunscreen.
The rocky landscape
A boulder made up of layers
I had brought my dinner with me; vacuumed packed cooked brown rice, broccoli and carrots. I also kept it quite cool with a baggy filled with ice cubes and wrapped in clothing inside my pack. I decided to hike back to Arnica Lake and eat my dinner there since it would be about a 2 hour hike back down from that point. It was hot on the hike back but I was glad it was mostly downhill. I also picked more blueberries to have for dinner. I rested in the shade near the lakeshore and ate some blueberries on the bushes beside me.
I started down the trail by 6 pm and stopped where a creek flows by at one of the bends in the trail. It was nice to soak myself and cool down before resuming my hike. Even though the sun was still hitting the mountains, it was dark in the forest. I kept in mind the sign which was posted at the parking lot that mentioned about a cougar sighting in the area although it was 3 weeks ago. Cougars are more dangerous than bears because they operate by stealth and surprise attack. I got down by 8 pm and the sun had already disappeared behind the mountains. There was only 2 other vehicles in the parking lot.
There was quite a few deadfalls along the trail, mostly near the start where a few big trees obscurred the trail. I think BC Parks lack the funding to do trail maintenance.