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Monkman Pass trail opens in BC

By Masa Takei
A 63-km trail hits it all: waterfalls, untouched alpine lakes, elk, bears and nary a human.

Still buzzing from the rare opportunity to check out a future classic Canadian hike, the 63-km Monkman Pass Memorial Trail outside of Tumbler Ridge, BC. officially opened in July 2008, parts of the trail are more rustic but all are marked. Photographer Taylor Kennedy and I had the privilege of previewing it as Monkman Expeditions' first guided group.
     With our three Swiss guides, we spent eight days, seven nights taking in an unbelievable succession of waterfalls (The Cascades), camping by untouched alpine lakes (The Tarns), fording streams and battling through fields of devil's club (The Work-in-Progress). Not another human in sight for a week, not even any tracks except for those of the resident moose, elk, and bears.
     As we humped 50-lb packs along the new trail, we often stopped to wonder at the 1927 Model A Ford that the original trailblazers dragged with them to prove their point. In the 30s, Peace Country farmers had forged much of this path, looking to get a highway built through the Rockies and a more direct route to the coast for their grain. That was three years of toil on their part before World War II stopped them cold.
     Four years ago, Beaver Lodge local, Kreg Alde, spearheaded an effort by volunteers and BC Parks to revive the historic trail and add new sections. Off their cumulative sweat, we got to enjoy access into some true wilderness. A week-long journey through several distinct ecosystems, over the Great Divide, and in some ways, through time.


Masa Takei is a freelance magazine and screen writer based in Vancouver, BC. Publications he's written for include Canadian Geographic, Westworld, Vancouver Magazine, Western Living and The Globe and Mail. His writing interests range from outdoor adventure, travel and subcultures to, apparently, structuring narrative arcs for mutant mercenaries and half-vampires.

Photo Credit & Article
courtesy, Canadian Tourism Commission

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