Hiking into the Conrad Kain Hut Part 2 in Bugaboo Provincial Park is our 2nd day exploring this beautiful area, and then hiking out in the rain!
A photo of the stunning views from the Conrad Kain Hut prompted me to immediately see if I could a get a reservation. And you know what? We arranged the entire time line of our trip just so we could make the trek in here. I think you’d probably agree, it was more than worth the effort to spend some time in this incredible place!
For all the nitty gritty details about how to get here/how long the hike is etc. check Part 1 where I tell you all about our trip in. Today is all about the next morning trying to catch a few rays of light between 2 rain storms.
When we left off the night before in Part 1, we had just made a gourmet back country mac and cheese. We definitely got more than a few looks of longing as I put together mac and cheese with parmesan, prosciutto, and sage.
After a much needed hot dinner, (yay for no crackers and cheese sometimes) we packed it in for an early night. The rain was just pounding down, and I was more than a little grateful we had managed to get a spot in the hut.
I couldn’t help but think about everyone up on Applebee Dome tenting it in the gale force wind and rain. But utter exhaustion quickly removed all thought from my mind, and I slept like a rock.
Backcountry hut tip: Bring earplugs! For all I know I could have been the 1 person that snores and keeps everyone up, (although Tyler says I don’t snore). But I was oblivious to everything because I had ear plugs in, and slept even better than I do at home!
The next morning we woke early, well before dawn. We were hoping there might be a few rays of light between the storm from the night before, and the next one coming that afternoon.
So we set off in the dark with below freezing temperatures to see what might happen. It took us longer than we anticipated to get set up because everything seemed to be coated in a thin coat of ice, along with a fresh dusting of snow in areas.
Since electronics aren’t all that fond of the cold, we tried a few times to get our time lapse up and going. But in the end, we missed the first rays that peaked out from over the peaks. The sunshine lasted all of maybe 2 minutes, and then it was gone again.
Luckily we brought most of our camera equipment with us, so I had a 2nd camera to capture the brief moment of morning light. But we left our time lapse up and going ‘just in case’ the sun were to come back out. Of course it never did because that’s just how things tend to go with time lapses.
We love doing them, but more often than not, we come away with nothing. Or the equipment is finicky like this particular morning. And we miss the only 2 minutes of stunning light all day long!
However, just a few minutes of the whole scene picture above being bathed in golden light, and we decided right then and there, we’d have to come back. I mean… how unreal is that scene?
After 2 hours of bone-chilling cold, it was pretty clear the weather was getting worse. And after another snow storm started in, we had to finally call it a day and pack up our gear.
We hadn’t expected to be gone quite so long, so by the time we got back to the hut, we were beyond hungry. Also when you’re addicted to coffee, it’s not the best idea to go too long without it. I was starting to feel a bit strange all around, which let’s me know I’m all to dependent on caffeine.
So I started breakfast by making coffee first thing for both of us. The hut had nice mugs, so I got some water boiling and made pour over coffee, (which you can see below). This is our favorite ‘no cleanup’ method of making coffee when we’re on the go.
And really there’s nothing like an incredible cup of steaming hot coffee in your hands while staring out the window at the views pictured above and below. This is especially true when you’ve spent hours outside getting photos with numb hands for most of the time!
After most thoroughly enjoying a cup of coffee, we put together some breakfast. I had brought my Maple Cinnamon Granola with us. And for milk I tried out a powdered coconut milk for the first time. I ended up using 10 servings of powdered milk to make an extra creamy 2 servings.
Since it has to be added to hot water to rehydrate, I added the granola to the still hot milk. This made a crunchy porridge/cereal of sorts that beats any hot breakfast cereal I’ve ever had.
I had also brought freeze dried raspberries that I crushed up to put over the top. And I have to say it was one of the best breakfasts we had on the entire trip! (See photo below for our breakfast.)
After breakfast it was pretty clear that the ‘break’ between the 2 storms was the 2-3 minutes we had already experienced. So as things grew darker and more ominous, we decided to pack up so we could be ready to go.
It’s no easy feat carrying 90 pounds of gear in. But it’s an even bigger feat to get it all back in the packs to carry out! It took us about an hour to get all our equipment packed up properly. And since it still hadn’t started raining, we decided to have 1 more cup of coffee, and enjoy the view.
By the time we finished coffee #2 it was seriously dark out, and the predicted rain was coming down. Since it was more of a drizzle, we decided to see if we could make it back without covering our packs.
Our packs were way too overloaded for their usual rain covers. And so I wanted to try and make it out without resorting to the garbage bags we had brought. However we barely made it 10 minutes down the trail before the sky really opened up.
So for Tyler I ended up poking holes for his head and arms into a yard sized garbage bag, and tying it up, in and around his enormous pack. For me, my emergency rain poncho worked wonders for my oversized load. The main problem with his pack was our 2 tripods strapped to either side of his backpack.
This made his pack almost impossible to cover, but the super large garbage bag did the job pretty well. And needless to say we’ve been talking about getting some backpack friendly tripods ever since!
The only real challenge was how the wind kept blowing the thin plastic up and into my eyes. I finally found a way to tie it down after getting stuck in the middle of the ladder, (pictured below) with the poncho glued to my face, and now way to see where I was putting my foot next.
After a pretty quiet and uneventful trip back down the trail, we finally arrived back at the truck. Even though I had a great, (even more important solid) 6 hours of sleep the night before. It only seemed to highlight how sleep deprived I had been in previous days.
So by the time we got back, I was feeling pretty beat again. So you can imagine my sinking feeling when I opened up the back of our topper, and saw a truly epic mess. I think both Tyler and I just stared in shock at the shreds of an entire roll of toilet paper now covering the back end of our truck!
And we both asked the same question at the same time – where did the toilet paper come from? Remember in part 1 when I said you can’t be too careful about what you leave out? Well that’s beyond true! Even though we thought we had emptied the back of the truck… we were most definitely wrong. And of course the mice had found something to play with while we were away.
Since the rain was still coming down hard, we threw our packs in and decided to deal with it later. We hoped once we headed out of the Bugaboo’s, (which are notorious for bad weather) we’d run into some sunshine again, and then clean up.
Sure enough a couple hours later, bumping down the Bugaboo Forest Service Road, we found sunshine. The whole landscape lit up with fall colors around us, and it was definitely easier to feel cheerful again.
So we stopped to do the best cleaning we could. And we most definitely hoped that with all the ruckus and bumpy road, that our mouse problems were over. With the truck put back together we headed north towards Banff National Park.
Our plans were to get a good sleep, and climb Cirque Peak the next day, weather permitting. However… as you might of already guessed, we had a small and furry hitchhiker that had other plans for our night ahead.
To be continued with Hiking to Helen Lake and an Unnamed Peak in Banff National Park!
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