Saturday, July 8, 2017

Nihahi Creek Trail



Nihahi Creek
Distance: 13.1km return
Elevation Gain: 197m
Total Elevation Gain: 285m
Physical Difficulty: 2/5
Technical Difficulty: 3/5
Time: 3-5 Hrs




Firstly, I have to say that I'm shocked and a bit sad that my last post was 2+ years ago!! My apologies but I lost my mojo for a while there. Luckily with the help of some friends this year, I've started to turn life around. So, today, a few of us went to hike Nihahi Creek Trail.

Now this was up to my organization, but I felt a bit bad because I was a bit lost on this one as the site I got some information on was incorrect and not really "complete" in regards to the trip. What I did know is that it was west of the Nihahi Ridge trail head. Once we found a couple of signposts (signs out this way are rarely existing but luckily, we found it.) we were right on track.

But back to the beginning....

We left the parking lot and really had no idea where we were going...on my map it showed where it was but isn't really "detailed" but as above, we found it. What intrigued me about this hike was the canyon walls. They've been polished smooth (and I mean smooth!) by the centuries of what was once large amounts of water from the mountains, the snow, the rains. Nihahi means "rocky" in Stoney Indian which is very descriptive of this terrain. The height gain on this trail is 238m and that's in the woods from the trail head. The walk up was fairly steep, but a well packed trail. We stopped for a brief break about half way up (snack tree!! lol) then continued up.

When we got to a part of the trail where you could walk down basically on rock steps that are part of the canyon walls, we ended up at the smooth canyon. One thing I've learned from doing research tonight, is that if you continue on the trail, it exits close to the North end of this most Northern canyon (I'll call upper canyon). Because I had read that there was an upper and lower canyon, we weren't sure which one we were at due to reasons explain above, but we were captivated by it so we walked up the smooth canyon.

There were small ponds of still water just filled with mosquitoes so it was a good thing we all brought sunblock and insect repellent. The rock was so smooth....I can only imagine how long it's been washed smooth with the yearly waters. The rock shapes, the landscape, was really, really, amazing to see and photograph and climb through. There are definite hazards on this hike in the canyons - twisted or broken ankles, twisted knees, things like that. Because the rock is so smooth, it wouldn't take much to take a tumble.

So once we climbed through the (upper canyon...) canyon, we kept walking up the creek which opens to (currently...) a wide dry riverbed. I don't know how long this keeps going or where it ends up, but we hiked up it for about an hour and a half and didn't find another canyon so obviously we must have started at the upper canyon. so we hiked back...hike back through the canyon which brought on (every now and then) some slightly different challenges with slippery logs that now you're going down and struggling for grip, whereas going up was a doddle.

Once back at the starting point of the canyon we met another group of hikers and we told them what we had done and what we were going to do (go the other way - South...as that's the way the water flows...if there is an upper and lower canyon then it must be downstream). So that's what we did. After a few corners in the riverbed we came upon the lower canyon. Not as impressive as the upper canyon, but just as challenging for working your way through the terrain, it was still a lot of fun. The journey ends at about a 250ft drop where once a large and beautiful waterfall would have been....maybe it's still there in runoff season.

At this point we start backtracking a bit up the canyon, and notice a couple of "trails" that go straight up to the top of the surrounding wall. Laura went up one that wasn't too bad so we all decided to follow. I haven't done anything like this for quite a few years, and with my fear of heights newly engaged in my brain doing these, I was quite nervous. I just didn't want to fall and lately I haven't been as well footed as I used to be...need to do more of this to get to that point again. Anyway, after a bit (and Chris getting a smallish rock fallen on him from a hiker above - Hope you're okay mate!!) we all made it up but I definitely needed to hydrate as I had run out of water (2litres) on the way back from the upper canyon.

All in all this was a brilliant hike, which we did in just over 21km, which I'm sure would be about 15 in and out with this experience. But we're not complaining because it was such a wonderful day, in wonderful scenery, with wonderful friends.


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Cheers!

Fotoman


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