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ASTER LAKE

Blood and Bolts x Hike Further

Story by Julian Bialowas October 21st, 2014

Born to roam.

About one month ago, the guys at Blood and Bolts reached out to Kyle and I looking to collaborate with Hikefurther. When we first read the email we couldn‘t have been more excited. It was the perfect fit as they share our mission of working to get people out to the mountains, and onto the trails.

We decided to kick off our partnership this past weekend, hitting the backcountry of the Canadian Rockies for the very first Blood and Bolts x Hikefurther micro-adventure. Since I’m still in Canada at the moment, and don’t have Kyle at my side, I recruited my amazing friend Ashley to tackle the trip with me. Upon suggesting the hike, she was instantly onboard to hit the trail.

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We left Calgary at 6.45am, after stopping at Tim Horton’s of course, which put us at the trailhead at Upper K Lake at 9am. We finished our coffees, packed up our gear and hit the trail to head up to Aster Lake for the night.

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The first 7 or so kilometers of the “trail” takes you through insanely dense forest and heavy deadfall. So finally seeing the banks of Hidden Lake was a welcoming relief.

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The lake was completely dry, as the previous winter’s runoff had all drained underground. Which was crazy to see, as when I hiked around the lake back in July it was overflowing into the surrounding woods.

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On the drive up, Ashely claimed that she sees at least one rainbow on every hike she goes on. I didn’t buy it. Then of course, as we curved around the banks of the lake—it happened.

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After curving around the perimeter of the lake, it was back to bushwhacking through the trees to start the ascent up the headwall.

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After a solid 30 minutes in the trees we broke out above the treeline onto the scree slopes. With the bed of Hidden Lake becoming visible below us.

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Rainbow game was strong. It came back for more to taunt me.

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Just about all the gain on this hike happens on this one headwall, so to say it was steep is quite the understatement.

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There’s one final scramble atop the headwall to get up onto the ridge. We powered through and were greeted with snow. A lot of snow.

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After losing the trail in the snow, and taking a solid 1 hour detour in the wrong direction we finally found camp. We set up the tent in a clump of trees to shelter us from the frigid winds and snow. Hot tea followed.

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After (kind of) warming up over tea we went to explore the rest of the valley and the lake.

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Winter is definitely already in full force in the backcountry of the Rockies.

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Once night fell, we headed out to try to spot some stars through the clouds, relying on whiskey to stay warm this time around.

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Unfortunately no stars revealed themselves through the heavy stormy clouds that had lingered above us all day.

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DAY TWO

The stormy weather cleared by morning giving us pristine clear skies for the hike back down.

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The views from atop the headwall back down to the valley were fabulous, with Upper K Lake and Hidden Lake in full view.

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We slid down the scree slopes and found ourselves back in the brutal dense forest. After a little detour filled with bushwhacking (yet again) we located the “trail” and made our way out.

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It was a quick weekend in the backcountry, but so very worth it. The views in kananaskis never disappoint.

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After the cold, snowy night and 20km trek through the woods we only had one thing on our minds: burgers.

All and all it was an amazing micro-adventure and can’t wait to get out there again. Keep an eye out for part two in our collaboration with Blood and Bolts next month when Kyle and I hit the sierras.

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Adventure will only find you once you step foot off the pavement. Get out there and #hikefurther.


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Footnote: Photos were taken with a Nikon D610 and iPhone 5s. All processed with VSCO.
Aster Lake, Kananaskis Country, Alberta, Canada