When I did an overnight backpack up Jack's trail in Strathcona Park about a week ago, I couldn't figure out why I was so physically tired after reaching the open ridge. A little over a month ago, I did a backpack up the same trail but it didn't tire me out as much. After thinking about it, I realized that I've been doing my day hikes in the Forbidden Plateau area of the park which, although the trails are longer, they are not as steep since you drive all the way up to the subalpine. On steep trails as found in the Buttle Lake area, they go straight up then back down the mountainside whereas around the Mt. Washington area, they more or less undulate without any significant elevation gain so that put me out of shape. With steep trails, a person uses different leg muscles so those muscles weren't being conditioned which was why they were sore for several days after the backpack; something which has never happened before.
One of the reasons why I decided to visit this area again was to see if I could find the plastic filter bag which I had lost or forgot to take with me on my last visit. This bag is required to contain the water which needs to attach to the filter so without it the filter cartridge is useless. However, I can buy another one but it is costly ($44). I can't believe how expensive it is just for a plastic pouch so I thought I might get lucky on my return visit and see if I could find it. I looked where I had last camped before and was surprised to see it still hanging from the same branch where I had last used it. That was the first time I had forgotten to pack it with me.
I decided to camp a little higher up on the ridge beside a small pool of water. I'm not sure if that played a factor in the amount of pesky mosquitoes which buzzed around my head but they sure were annoying. They all but disappeared in the afternoon but by 6 pm they emerged; there must have been around a couple of dozen flying about. A good headnet helped a lot but I should have worn a cap to keep the net off of my head hence I got bitten through the net a couple of times.
Oout on the open ridge I watched thunderclouds build up along the ridge in front of me during the morning and afternoon. I wasn't sure if the clouds would drift my way so I had made sure that my tent was already set up. Luckily, the clouds hung around the ridge. I heard thunder now and then. I mostly used the pool of water to photograph the cloud reflections and watched it change shape. The clouds hung around until evening and as the sun started to go down, the clouds all but dissipated.
Not much left of the clouds during the evening
The mosquitoes were so bothersome on this trip that rather than stay another day, I had enough. I had to bundle up with my raingear and wear my mosquito headnet. The ony time I felt 'safe' from them is when I headed into the tent around 9:15 pm. The other problem I had to deal with is that my 8 year old tent is showing signs of wear at the zippered entrance. It doesn't slide smoothly and mistracks so it separates while zipping the entrance up. Not something I want happening with all those mosquitoes around.
Due to the lack of wind, heavy condensation formed on the inside and outside of my tent. I didn't bother getting up until the sun hit the tent which was not much after 6 am. I hung around until my tent finally dried and had to put up with the mosquitoes again.
I was glad to get going and when I hiked down to the plateau of tarns (about 20 minutes hike), there was hardly any mosquitoes to bother me. There are lots of water in this area but not so much biting insects.