Along The Rockwall Trail in the Canadian Rockies

Look at any list of the top 5-10 hikes in the Canadian Rockies and you will find The Rockwall Trail on it. One source said that it was so popular in summer that getting a permit might be as tough as the actual hiking. Another source: "The Rockwall Trail is located in Kootenay National Park, a part of the Canadian Rockies UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s a 3 – 5 day tough backpacking trip covering 55 kms (34 miles) one way. Start at the Floe Lake Trailhead and finish at the Paint Pots Trailhead." 
I was looking for a longer hike, since I had the time, and managed to extend my hike with an extra day or two, continuing into Yoho National Park and finishing at the town of Field, of Burgess Shale fame. I was not too happy about having to book campsites, no wild camping allowed, which sort of kept me to the 10 km per day between campsites. On the second day I skipped Numa Campground and hiked 20 km, which was more fulfilling. Still, I realize the need to channel visitors in popular areas. I have experienced the same thing in Yellowstone.
And it was worth it. The Rockwall Trail is a magnificent piece of mountain scenery. 

By Jörgen Johansson

Dropped by friend Per at the Floe Lake trailhead, I had food for five days in my pack. On my feet the Altra Lone Peaks I use for dry and dusty trails. The Salomon Tech Amphibs I had used in the wet lands of the Northwest Territories were getting some rest.
Some of the trails had been closed due to a nearby forest fire until just before I started my hike. This older burn shows how much a part of the ecosystem in the Rockies that fires are.

Once the trail had climbed high enough and left the burns behind the abundantly flowering meadows became a steady commpanion. I had not expected this, considering that my hike began as late in the season as August 20.
Gravelled campsites were standard issue along the Rockwall Trail.

The food was kept safe during the night in these safety deposit boxes. They were in fact big enough for my entire pack, I only kept clothing and electronics in the tent while sleeping.
The main idea about the campsites is that eating and sleeping should be kept separate. To this food area, and the lockers, where located some 50-100 meters away from the tent sites.
When morning broke, the mist and the clouds from the day before were gone. The sun rose and shone on the rockwall across Floe Lake as I was eating my solitary breakfast.
The morning showed Floe Lake in all its glory.
Floe Lake
Floe Lake
Rockwall above Floe Lake
As could be expected the rockwall was a constant companion as I left Floe Lake on my way to Tumbling Creek campground, some 20 kilometers and two passes away.

I was surprised by the abundance of flowers still in bloom, considering it was August 20.

Looking north from Numa Pass
Numa Pass
Looking down from Numa Pass. I passed the Numa Creek campground, about 10 kilometers from Floe Lake and continued another 10 K to Tumbling Creek Campground, where I had a permit.

The trail towards Tumbling Pass

Viem from Tumbling Pass.
Giant (and I mean giant) moraine deposit by the Tumbling Glacier.

Breakfast in my sleeping bag on a cool and beautiful morning at Tumbling Creek Campground.

View towards Tumbling Glacier.
Taking a break and writing in my diary. The distance to the next campground was only about 10 kilometers, so I took long breaks and enjoyed the beautiful weather.
The scenery along the Rockwall Trail is hard to beat, and the weather was glorious.

Beautiful meadow by the Wolverine Pass.

Extremely sharply defined border between two moraine deposits of differing coarseness. Very strange.

Looking south along the Rockwall from where I came. To the right is Wolverine Pass, the only, but sharply defined "break in the wall". I walked for a brief stretch into the pass, had lunch and basked in the sun, before I returned to the Rockwall Trail.

"The hills are alive with the sound of music..."

The part of the rockwall behind me, going north, certainly looks like a wall. Where it ends, by Helmet Falls, the trail heads off towards a trailhead on Hwy 93.
Camp at Helmet Falls campground.
Helmet Falls, one of the highest falls in the Rocky Mountains with a total height of 352 meters.
This was also a short day. It was also a hot day, so I spent a couple of hours making coffe in the shade and writing in my diary, before going into Helmet Falls campground. Much nicer sitting here than in the campground.
The end of the rockwall.

View north from Goodsir Pass. Even if I have left the Rockwall Trail, the mountains are still impressive.

View looking back up along Goodsir Creek. I met nobody for the two days after I left the Rockwall Trail.

In some places windfall areas like this made the trail a bit tricky to negotiate. It was very obvious that most hikers do the Rockwall Trail and do not continue this way. Which suited me fine...
Goodsir Creek and dense alder along the trail. I have hiked, uphill, in alder like this down in the North Cascades. Awful.

Crossing the Ottertail River close ot MacArthur Creek campground. I would follow this river for the following day.

Since this was another short day I did some laundry and dried my clothes on the rocks by the river in the basking sun.

Morning by Ottertail River. The clear skies were gone and an overcast, but warm, day followed.

A more primitive form of protecting your food from bears and other critters. You hook your food bags to a wire and hoist it up to the top of this metal pole. MacArthur Creek Campground.

Back in civilization, with the Trans Canada Highway #1 to the left and the Canadian Pacific Railway to the right.

Most of the trail (now part of The Great Divide Trail, which is the continuation of The Continental Divide Trail south of the border) into Field was along the railway. Kind of charming, since I met a couple of long freight trains. I counted one that had 167 cars pulled by two engines and pushed by one.
Arriving in the small town of Field it turned out to be solidly booked at every hotel and guest house. I had a nice meal at a very good restaurant and walked a couple of kilometers out of town to pitch my tent. The morning after friend Per picked me up, since there were no public transport to/from Field. Surprising since Greyhound drives right through several times a day.