Everyone Has a Plan Until…

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth – Mike Tyson, World Champion Boxer

 

You may be thinking to yourself, how is this relevant to hiking the Great Divide Trail? Well, we had a plan…hike from Waterton National Park to Coleman, AB. The Issue? There are lingering masses of snow, some areas more than a meter deep that remain on the trail. Buried among the FAQ page on the GDTA website (you should visit if you haven’t already!) there is the question

 

“Will I need any technical gear, e.g. ice axe, crampons, climbing rope, skis or snowshoes?” 

 

The Answer?

 

“No, the route is designed within the scope of hiking so as long as you are traveling during the summer hiking season (July to September), you can leave the technical gear at home.” 

 

Perhaps this is a fated punishment for those willing to begin prior to July, as we are. As we proceed in late June, warnings of unseasonable snowstorms litter the forecasts. Recent on-the-ground reports suggest a trail tucked under its heavy winter coat. 

 

We have been punched in the mouth, luckily not by Tyson, but by Mother Nature. Our plans are changing. We do not want to skip the first section, it may be our only opportunity to hike Section A for a very long time. We will adapt to the conditions by adding more gear than typical, including traction cleats and knee-high gaiters. Unseasonable weather calls for unseasonable gear. Other gear we thoroughly considered were ice axes and snowshoes. Ice axes may be pretty handy for self-arresting, but we will be able to use our hiking pole for such a purpose. Snowshoes, may or may not be handy, but when the snow warms and you begin post-holing, sometimes the snowshoes aren’t enough and post-holing with snow shoes is a fate not dared by us. 

 

We understand that there are associated risks involved with taking the snowy path that may or may not involve high-water river crossings, avalanches, storms, and arduous hiking conditions. We are willing to accept these risks and navigate them as encountered. I think we may be lonely hikers until the snow melts further. 

 

The image appears blurry. This link is NOAA , and has loads more data. 

Coleman, our first stop, will be a luxury after a potentially long, cold, wet and difficult journey. We will be able to mail our bits of snow gear back home and continue on our journey just a little bit lighter, by foot, on the soil.

 

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