I have some good news. The issues with Waterton Lakes isn’t such a big deal after all. I can enter different trails further north and connect with the GDT using the “Font Creek” trail. It looks quite pretty after a quick google and there’s ways to extend it, so it’ll be a similar length hike. Photography, camping and hiking have always been my priorities, and this shouldn’t change that too much!
You can follow my instagram, it’s kinda bare at the moment but it’ll be the easiest thing to post with. I haven’t tried wordpress on mobile though, perhaps it’ll be okay :).
When I’ve improved at photography and have done hikes I’m passionate about, I will probably change my site completely to make it look more professional. At the moment, most of my content consists of gear reviews and I’m not very passionate about writing them. It has made me really, really respect well thought out reviews though. Those must take people ages to make :).
I’m blessed with really good luck. The start of the Great Divide Trail in Canada is burned, so I have to navigate around Waterton.
I emailed various park people in Canada to book my camping reservations. Waterton is the first place you’ll arrive (assuming you’re hiking south to North) but it’s the last place you should book because you can only book it 90 days in advance. If you wait and try to book the other places later, they’ll be full. I emailed the Waterton people and they initially made it seem like the area would be opened up in the summer. I waited a while, then emailed them again and informed them I was ready to book the final two places:
Unfortunately the Waterton portion of the Great Divide Trail will not be accessible at all this year. All of our back country campgrounds are within the closed area as well, so at this time there is no way to reserve camping at Boundary Bay or Lone Lake. At this time it looks like you will need to meet the Waterton Shoreline Cruise boat at Goat Haunt in Glacier National Park and get off at the village of Waterton, or hike out past Belly River Lakes to the Chief Mountain Border crossing. From there you would likely have to travel north by car to the West Castle area west of Pincher Creek to pick up the trail again. I recognise and empathise with this inconvenience.
Naturally this is a it disappointing. I’m banned from entering the US. I can’t take the American routes they’ve suggested but I think I can create a new route. It’s a bit difficult because I’m not familiar with Canada at all. I also have to get my hike time and reservation times to match up. If I’m two days early, the reservations are pointless and I am liable for a fine. I wish they’d let me hike in the burned areas, even if it’s dangerous. Perhaps there’s other reasons, like harming new plant life or something. That I can respect.
For now, swearing at inanimate objects works well.
A while ago I played around with GPX files and uploading them to a Google Fusion table. You can upload them to google maps (the best method for smaller files) but the file can only be a few miles long which is really, really annoying.
I discovered fusion tables was the way to go but it’s quite a complicated process.
Given that there’s been wildfires on the Great Divide Trail, and I will probably have to find another route, recording a trail might be useful. It won’t be available for this years hikers (because I’ll have to do the hike, then edit the file when I get home) but it might be useful for future hikers! I will try write down a little note about supplies in the area or that kind of thing. Fusion tables lets you add a lot actually, so I guess I could add it to the map, possibly (it’s reallllllllllllllllllllllllllly boring to do though, lol).
Some people suggest bounce boxes or mailing your supplies, but given that I’m from England, it’s a lot, lot more difficult. I can’t promise I will make extremely useful notes because I want to enjoy the hike and in my free time I want to take photographs, but if there’s anything you want me to make a note of, let me know and I’ll try.
Certain questions I have (silly things like water supply, washing, etc.), I’ll write down, hopefully answer them on the trail, and then if you have similar questions perhaps they’ll be answered.
Happy Easter everyone :).
Unfortunately, I have run into some unforeseen financial and health troubles. My legs work, and I will still be doing the hike (even if I have to sell a load of stuff). It’s just I’m in a depressing situation so I haven’t been around much. I don’t feel comfortable talking about it much further than that.
My plan is to try get a lot of nice photographs and build a following, so I feel even if I were comfortable writing about it, now is not the time as I want my site to be positive!
On a more positive note, it’s only a minor thing but Gatwick Airport and Air Transat have both agreed, via email, that it’s okay if I bring my titanium knife to Canada. I’m waiting to hear from Canadian customs if it’s legal to import though. Terrorists really screw things up for innocent people.
My flight has been booked to Canada. Certain parts of the GDT aren’t open yet (in Waterton) and may not be this summer, which is just my luck (I’m good like that) but I’m hoping I can navigate around the obstacles.
I feel like the list of items I’ve had to buy has been neverending. I saved some money with ravpower np-fw50 batteries (they’re much cheaper than Sony’s own) and I saved a few quid with a headnet, too (mine was only about £3 from China, haha.)
I realised that I had focused too much on equipment lately when I began booking camp sites. A few were taken, so I’ve had to pick other sites. This has promoted me into making a “mistakes I made with the GDT page.” I will add to it as I go along. Rather than wait until I’ve completed the GDT and add everything, I’ve posted it now and I’ll add each thing bit by bit so it’s fresh fresh in my memory.
Everything’s about the GDT for a while :D.
This week I’ve really focused on clothing items and logistics. I decided to return the Arc’teryx Konseal as it is a nice fleece but it’s heavier and warmer than I need (hopefully.) The hood is a bit convoluted, specifically the balaclava bit. I’ve decided to buy a Delta LT instead, it’s a bit lighter and a separate balaclava can work with either the Delta LT or with my Atom LT jacket. My total base weight excluding camera gear is pretty respectable. The camera equipment I’ve chosen to bring much heavier than I’d like, and what I planned for the PCT was a lot lighter (two prime lenses) but this gives me way more photographic options. I’m considering sending home one lens, but I’ll see how things go.
I’ve found the route I need to take to get to the trail head, and it’s a long journey. I can’t book everything yet as there’s a website error. The trip if you’re in England is a coach to London -> fly to Calgary -> Shuttle to Greyhound Bus -> Greyhound to Pincher -> Motel -> Taxi to the Trailhead. I don’t know what public transport is like in Canada, but I’ll soon find out! Here it’s great. The heaters work in the summer and stop working in the winter.
I still need to buy some storage for my camera. I was hoping it’d drop a bit more in price with the GBP going up, but it hasn’t. I think 512 gb SD and 512 gb Micro SD will be enough to start with, if it’s not I’ll buy some more in Canada. You can soon rack up a huge bill with things like this, so I am trying to be careful. The backup system I decided on is going to be pretty simple. My phone case will allow me to take out the MicroSD card, I’ll then put in a new one, copy from the USB port to the MicroSD card and that’ll be it!
A part of me wants to arrange sponsorship, to get donations for charity, but after my PCT plans went tits up, I’m nervous I’ll embarrass myself! Does anyone else worry about this with through hikes? Mountain lions, wolves, grizzly bears, etc. They’re not really on my fear list. The fear of only hiking 2 miles in and then breaking an ankle. Now that’s another story, haha :).