I had not been on the Smith Dorrien since January 26, 2013 for a Chester Lake snowshoe outing and May 11, 2013 for a trip up Ha Ling Peak. Now that the trails along the 762 are opening up after the devastating flood, it was time to take a break from frequenting National Parks and pay a, long over due, visit to a Provincial Park. Spray Valley Provincial Park was calling and to be more specific the call was coming from high up on Buller Pass and from way down low at Ribbon Lake. I decided to answer the call!
The area received a prescribed burn in 2011 which changed the landscape throughout the forest and the June flooding changed some landscape in other areas. I had been to Buller Pass five years ago and I don't remember feeling like I was at the beach. A stretch of trail reminded me of when I was a kid walking along the sandy path that was lined with beach grass on the way to Melmerby Beach.
After a few kilometers in the forest, then through the sub alpine meadow, we climbed the steep rough and rocky slope up to South Buller Pass. There was evidence of erosion along one section of trail on the way up as was the same through gullys in the mountains. I wondered how stable was this rock surrounding us. From Buller Pass, I could see back from where we just came.....
....and ahead to where we would be going.
You can see Ribbon Lake tucked in the middle left.
Guinns Pass is the dip on the right.
Weather was on our side for our summit lunch time visit.
It was warm with no wind nor bugs.
Before dining, I captured my summit shot.
See Ribbon Lake glowing emerald like?
It was quite a steep descent from The Pass to the valley below. The trail was full of lots of small and large loose rocks plus bare slippery sections. The wild flowers were wonderful throughout the area. The ground cover was such a super lush vivid green. Parts of the trail were well grown up and the tops of the vegetation were waist deep at times.
Evidence of erosion!
I was surprised to see what fierce rain could do to a trail.
Yes, it did make me sad!
Finally, Ribbon Lake and scattered rain showers! The sky was threatening for awhile but when it came down to coming down, it did not amount to much and there was not even a need for protective layers. Lots of folks were at the Ribbon Lake Backcountry Campground which just opened yesterday.
We walked around to the far side of the Lake, to a high spot which was the beginning of the Ribbon Creek Trail where you descend to the chain section and then to the bottom of the valley which is heavily damaged and officially closed. We spent some time here enjoying the views. On the way back the sky cleared somewhat and the reflections were much brighter.
This was one sketchy section we had to maneuver along. The right side of this creek back a bit was worse in spots and we had to move up slope a little to safer ground to get forward before moving back down to the creek to cross over. No stepping on the right side of the trail here. The ground was loose but sticky.
Back through the flowery meadow..
then back up that steep rocky slope...
all the way up to Buller Pass again!
I found it tough....
and worthy of another summit shot!
Look at the profile below, yes, we summited Buller Pass twice.
It was all down hill now, or I should say all down mountain now.
It was a loooonnnng trek back to the trail head.
Down the rock section again,
by the sub alpine meadow again,
through the burned forest again!
A friend shared bottles of cold fruit flavoured Perrier water with us when we arrived back at our vehicles. It was refreshing! The whole day was refreshing, being back in a Provincial Park, seeing a different landscape, appreciating the hard work that has been done by volunteers to make our trails accessible again, and also catching up with friends.
Refreshing! Rewarding! Rejuvenating!
It is "Re's" like these that make me feel like I am "on top of the world"!