Surprise Creek Backpacking

I booked two weeks off in July and decided to do an overnight hike on July 2/3. Curtis joined me and we set out the morning of July 2nd.

Surprise creek is in the Mt Assiniboine Provincial Park in BC off of highway 93. The hike is 10km one way through a valley.

The trail was very well travelled however, after years of forest fires, there were plenty of obstacles. We joked that we tried out for track and field, then the cirque. There were lots of ducking, crawling, climbing over logs. Some were very burnt so you had to go around or find a way to go over without getting soot on you.

Even though we started the trail at 10 ish, this first 2-3km stretch was incredibly warm. It would it’s way through this meadow that was once a great forest. It’s now a cemetery of what once was. New growth is appearing through the burnt, but it’s a slow natural process; still awe inspiring to see so much destruction and yet, see growth and rebirth.

After about an hour and a half, we caught up to the river and followed it for the next hour and a half. This portion of the trek was a bit more hilly as it traversed up and down the banks. There was a large flood earlier in the year that caused a lot of erosion and downed trees. When you reach the Provincial Park boundaries, there’s a nice little sign that tells you that you have to go further.

By this time, our 60 ish pound bags were straining our bodies; we weren’t used to this. The last push is 2 km through a nice, but sloggy, forest trail. There must be lots of natural springs as we encountered quite a few wet areas.

We finally made it to the suspension bridge that connected our trail with the “internal” park trail. Right across the rapids was our campsite. The only issue was the bridge was closed due to the floods… Part of the foundation was eroded so the parks had to close it….. With no way of getting across besides the bridge, we decided to chance it and did some tightrope walking because the parks people had removed planks to deter others like us. Sorry parks people.

Once across, we discovered we were the only ones. There is a nice rustic cabin (free) and a fire pit. Best of all though was the pit toilets (yay for not having to go in the bush!!).

We set up our tent in the shade and explored the area a bit. We didn’t stray too far because we were tired and getting hungry. I packed some dehydrated food (cheese mashed potatoes, ‘soup’, apple crisp, and eggs – for breakfast) that we started to cook. The mashed potatoes were amazing and the ‘soup’ was more like stew (recipes below). At 10:30 we made the apple crisp and omg was it amazing. I will be taking these on every over night hike.

We turned in at 11 ish after waiting (forever) to see the stars. It was still warm at 10, but by the time we went to bed, it was a bit brisk. Overnight cooled off a lot and by morning, we were a bit chilled.

We were both quite full still
From all the food we ate the night before so we decided to forego the powdered eggs and pack up and leave while we had some coolness going on (which only lasted for about an hour then it turned hot and humid). We made the first 2km in 30 min, so we were going at a great pace. Somehow, the trip back took 45 minutes less than going. I guess we were eager to get back.

By 11am, it was incredibly hot with no breeze. We were both tired from our heavy bags and tired from the heat. Once back to the car, we collapsed into our seats and drove home only stopping to get iced capps at Tim Hortons.

In summary:
Great campsite. I will be returning. The trail is very well defined and maintained.

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