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A Wintery Walk Around Jacques Lake

Difficulty: 
Winter Hike
Elevation [m]: 
1550
Round Trip Distance [km]: 
24.0
Net Elevation Gain [m]: 
50
Total Elevation Gain [m]: 
150
YDS Difficulty: 
2
Bushwhackyness: 
A Single Downed Tree
Tripdate: 
Saturday, October 15, 2016

Every trip can't be a big objective with long days and distances. To get some fresh air I decided upon a leisurely solo overnight up at the Jacques Lake campground (after having realized that I had never actually even seen Jacques Lake!).  The last time up the trail had been with Steven on our ascent of Sirdar Mountain which veered off the main trail a few km from the lake itself.  With a fairly poor forecast hiking in and rambling around the lake seemed a decent plan.

 
The Jacques Lake Trail is one of the flatest in the park with only 150 m of total gain from car to camp over 12 km.  Understandably this makes the camp fairly popular both summer and winter but shoulder seasons seem less busy.  Leaving the trailhead at the not so alpine hour of 1030 (I may have forgot to set an alarm in the morning...) my original plan of scrambling up a ridge near the camp was seeming less likely.  The trail is quite wide for the first 4 km till the summit lakes viewpoint.  After the viewpoint things narrow but a couple sets of footprints had squised down some of the recent snow.
 

The first part of the trail is a wide fire road.

 

Following north along the valley towards Sirdar Mountain.

 

Looking up at unnamed peaks on the west of the valley.

 

Plodding along there are actually some pretty good views to be had looking back at some of the unnamed peaks bounding either side of the trail.  Two and a half hours from the car l pulled up at the camp and came up with a new game plan.  With a later start than intended scrambling the unnamed would have taken too long so a more general scouting of the surrounding area seemed like a better scheme.  I ended up rambling along the north and south side of the creek flowing to the Rocky River for a few km gauging bushwhackyness for some of the nearby unnamed peaks and enviously rambled outside the warden cabin.  There is certainly lots of potential for scrambling in the area, a well-fortified bushwhacking tolerance seems like an asset though.
 

Quite the ridge, very slabby on the west face but quite impressive from the north!

 

Zoomed in.

 

Parks's high tec bear defense system near the campground ;)

 

Looking out over Jacques Lake from the campground.

 

Looking up at the peak with the survey marker from near the warden cabin.

 

Zoomed in towards the survey point (left).

 

The warden cabin, also the Rocky River District Headquarters.

 

Looking up towards Sirdar Mountain from the warden cabin.

 

Looking east towards the South Boundary Trail.

 

Lots of woodpeckers around here.

 
Before too long the sun was starting its downwards spiral and dinner plans took precidence over recreational bushwhacking!  The view right from the picnic tables at the campground is quite nice, a week or so earlier when the lake was still fully open would have made for somewhat more picturesque pictures.

 

Still a bit of water on the surface of Jacques Lake.

 

The next morning after a quick breakfast it was time to pack up and head back towards the car before the forecasted afternoon rain/snow started (ended up getting a little bit wet on the way out but far from a monsoon thanfully!).  A useful trip to dig up a few, close to the road, winter scrambling objectives once the caribou closures come into effect in a few weeks.

 

You don't see this font much anymore!

 

Back on the trail, somewhat dreary weather.

 

The last of the summit lakes (on the north side of the valley)?

 

Back near the road, cool texture in the surface ice.

 

Zoomed intowards more possible winter scrambles.

 

One last view of Beaver Lake near the trailhead.

 

Not a very exhaustive weekend by any means but good to get some fresh air.

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