Mount Revelstoke offers a plethora of year round recreation in British Columbia.
Forest fire smoke is thick in Rogers Pass today and hiking through it does not seem particularly attractive.
The majority of trails in the Rogers Pass area of Glacier National Park, British Columbia, Canada begin near 1,300 meters (4,265 ft) of elevation and gain elevation rapidly on short, steep trails to altitudes consistently above 2,200 meters (7,220 ft). Mount Sir Donald, completed yesterday, is typical.
This days plan is a more leisurely day hiking a short distance from parking to the 1,947 meter summit of Mount Revelstoke, prior to enjoying a fine dining, late-afternoon, gourmet meal at a favorite restaurant in Revelstoke, British Columbia.
The forty-five minute drive west from Rogers Pass is prominently over twisting, turning, downhill highway beside the Illecillewaet River flowing with white water authority into the mighty Columbia River which hosts the Town of Revelstoke along its shore.
The TransCanada Highway passes the signed parking areas for well-maintained, short, roadside-access loop trails called Loop Brook Trail, Rock Garden Trail, Hemlock Grove Boardwalk, Giant Cedars Boardwalk and Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk. Each stop is a worthwhile, short, interpretive walk in an interesting and unique environment on excellent trail. A couple of them are wheel chair accessible. They are highly recommended for everyone.
Revelstoke is a railroad town and a nerve center for spectacular, year-round, wilderness adventure of every sort imaginable. Winter heli-skiing is huge here and people from all over the world come here to participate.
Following a brief orientation around town and a quick visit to the Visitor Center, the trek to the summit of Mount Revelstoke begins with a 23 kilometer (14⅜ mile) drive through Mount Revelstoke National Park on the Meadows–in-the-Sky Parkway which twists and turns its way on long switchbacks to end at a large parking area near tiny and beautiful Balsam Lake beneath the summit of Mount Revelstoke.
A log dining cabin near the parking area invites cooking on indoor barbeques when the weather is compromised.
A leisurely walkabout around tiny Balsam Lake precludes a walk on the 1 kilometer (⅝ mile) Upper Summit Trail, with minor elevation, to the trail hub near the summit. The short hike is an alternative to the shuttle bus which takes visitors to the summit from the Balsam Lake parking area every 15 minutes
At the conclusion of the Upper Summit Trail, there is the one kilometer (⅝ of a mile) Meadows-in-the-Sky Loop which hosts a number of interesting artistic features, and meadows hosting impressive displays of alpine wild flowers.
A number of trails emanate from the hub including the Miller Lake Trail (5.5 KM one-way), the Eva Lake Trail (6 KM one-way), the Jade Lakes Trail (9 KM one-way) and the historic Koo Koo Sint Trail featuring an interpretive journey through the life of surveyor and fur trader David Thompson.
David Thompson competed with his U.S. counterparts Lewis and Clark, appointed by President Jefferson, in locating a nation-building route to the Pacific Ocean. David Thompson’s exploration and mapping accomplishments are fascinating and legendary. He was appointed to the Commission which established the western border between the United States and Canada following the War of 1812.
David Thompson worked on his Canadian atlas from the Pacific Ocean to Hudson’s Bay until his death in 1857. During his adventurous lifetime he established strong bonds with the native people of the area who called him ‘Koo Koo Sint’, (the man who looks at stars) because of the sextant navigation performed nearly every night to create maps.
The historic, and restored, Firetower at the 6,360 ft, summit of Mount Revelstoke. was removed from service in 1921 but still sounds like an interesting place to visit.
The return to Revelstoke allows time to photograph a few of the town’s historic buildings while waiting for the prize and planned highlight of the day.
The Woolsey Creek Bistro is owned and managed by Sylvie Bisson. The fine dining restaurant opens at 5:00 PM. The food is fantastic and excellent value. Service is brisk and friendly. The decor is comfortable and a blend of predominantly international, folksy music blends harmoniously within the overall ambiance.
The celebratory meal begins with the pureed wild mushroom soup in preparation for the main course of perfectly prepared filet mignon served on top of a serving of scalloped potatoes sliced so thin and compact, they look like a lofty, square piece of cake. Accompanying vegetables are steamed asparagus, roasted and seasoned tomato and something with shredded beets in a rich sauce. Everything is excellent.
There are people in the world who are working hard to find cures for diseases, or discovering new planets, or solving complex social and scientific issues. My effort is attempting to determine what is best for dessert.
The dessert dilemma is close to creating a brain hemorrhage trying to decide between the chocolate truffle cake and the crème brulee. The solution is a menu choice which offers a smaller serving of their four top desserts. This arrives on a platter about the size of Prince Edward Island. The two additions to the principle choices are a glazed pear pastry and cheesecake coated with strawberry sauce and chopped pistachios.
There is no law that dictates all of it must be consumed. For the past 8 days, challenging hiking missions have been achieved with significant physical contribution and punishment. This is the reward. Cost is reasonable for fine dining. All the desserts are fully consumed but great discipline is exhibited by stopping short of licking the huge plate clean and potentially embarrassing other patrons. The end of the meal leaves one in a euphoric stupor with the inability to stop smiling. The Woolsey Creek Bistro is a fabulous restaurant. Reservations are recommended.
After waddling back to the car, the return drive proceeds to accommodation at Rogers Pass. Tomorrow will be the final hike of this series. It is a big one.
The Asulkan Valley hike to the hut is a world class day hike and cause for significant celebration.