While our duffel is assembled early the first group of hikers aren't leaving until 9:30 AM - traditionally the first group out is the slow group - one difference on the trip out is that you can pass them and head for the finish line.
The weather is once again sunny and warm - it takes until about 8:45AM for the sun to rise over the mountain and hit the campsite.
I am leading the second group out - there are 11 of us - 10 gals and me
Horses waiting to be loaded - this outfitter uses a slightly different method of carrying the duffel - he has designed a saddle bag that the duffel will fit into and then just drops it in and ties it shut.
One of the kitchen staff had her big pet lab in camp - he even had his own tent for sleeping in - he was a big ball of fun - he also seemed to have been trained not to cross the creek and enter the sleeping area.
After reaching the final bridge we stop there, have lunch and wait for the remaining groups and the other school bus to arrive - as soon as we see the bus arrive we start the last final 10 minutes to the buses and the almost end of our trip - it took us at a slow pace about one hour and fourty -five minutes to make the trip out - even the slow group which we passed at the first bridge were out before the buses.
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS:
1. Despite some of the concerns expressed in these various entries which weren't really the fault of anyone in particular I would give this camp a big B+. If it is offered again in 5 or 6 years times I hope to be able to return and explore more of the area.
2. Much discussion took place in camp about the location of next years camp - they are hoping for Molar Pass once last time before the Parks Canada folks make it off - limits because they are trying to re-introduce Caribou into the Park - a small herd in there last year prevented us from going there this year but an avlanche wiped out most of the herd so there is a one year window of opportunity for us - if it is Molar and I choose to go it will be my fourth camp there.
Molar is special to me in that it was the first camp I did with friends Gordon and Evelyn Poppy back around 1990 - Evelyn passed away earlier this year so memories of the first camp return when the area is mentioned.
If Molar can't be offered the Skyliners are looking at a new site down in K Country called Odlum Creek - there is one main challenge for going in there and that is crossing the Highwood River - while a temporary bridge crossing is possible the river is subject to sudden high water and flooding in the summer which could lead to a situation of how to get back to trail head.
3. I definitely thought the quality of the food was much better this year - especially the breakfasts - eggs cooked properly, sausages not burnt to a crisp and bacon that was cooked for a variety of tastes.
On the Friday morning - we had our version of an eggs bennie - scrambled egg on a bun with ham and green peppers mixed in - it was the hit of the camp and talked about the most.
4. After returning to Banff I walk with duffel etc with two others to the Y - get my room which has a shower and then join about 35 of us as we adjourn to the Elk and Oarsman pub for a final drink and for many our supper - you go there dirty, in the clothes that you hiked out in or you pay the price - around of drinks. We also meet the camp officials for the next week and go over the past week.
I finish my beer and grilled chicken breast, Caesar salad and veggies and return to the Y for a shower, upload my images to the netbook, search the net on my Blackberry, hit the sack and wake up on the Sunday and drive back to Vancouver.
I hope that you have like this look at a week of outdoor recreation with the Skyliners of the Canadian Rockies.