Wow, do we have a not so hidden treasure in Pinawa with our section of the Great Trail, and don’t just take my word for it. Ask the three visitors that came out and joined the Pinawa Friends of the TCT on a hike, two of whom trekked the entire length of it with me. Last week Peter Taylor and myself guided a hike along Pinawa’s Trans Canada Trail, from Old Pinawa Dam to Seven Sisters Hydro Dam. Peter’s group stopped in Pinawa, where we all enjoyed lunch together at the Pinawa Club, while my intrepid group of three continued all the way to Seven Sisters for a schnitzel treat at Jennifer’s.
We attracted a smaller than expected group, likely because we planned the walk for a Wednesday. Hiking today are: Peter, Sharon, Ken, Ray, Jess, Linda, Bridgette, Mike, Tucker, Barley and myself. I plan to make this an annual event, but we will be planning it on a weekend next time. The entire trail is in excellent condition. There are two trees blocking the trail along the entire length, that’s it, and we brought the new trail maintenance guy (Ray) along with us so he knows what to do about that. In June I cycled the Old Pinawa route and carried my bike over dozens of downed trees. We have the best volunteer maintenance crew ever to get those all cleaned up so quickly.
We met in the morning in the Pinawa Club parking lot to arrange carpooling to Old Pinawa. At Old Pinawa Provincial Heritage Park, before setting out on the trail, we took a short stroll over to the observation point to admire the ruins, where Jess Morgan took this amazing photograph.
Old Pinawa to the Suspension Bridge
The trail from Old Pinawa to Alice Chambers trail follows the channel. The trail is easy to follow but the tread is quite riddled with tree roots. Only one tree remains blocking the way, but it was easy to step over. A bike would have to stop. We had two rowdy dogs with us on this leg of the trail, Tucker and Barley. We joked about strapping Fitbits to them. They must have had 5 times the number of steps we did. The two shared water bottles, treats and even dog food at the Suspension Bridge.
Everyone appreciated a brief rest stop at the kiosk by the Suspension Bridge. The Heritage Trail between the bridge and the Diversion dam was as wild and wonderful as usual. I’m pleased to report that the increase in tourism we’ve enjoyed this past summer has not impacted the cleanliness of this part of the trail at all. It’s still pristine wilderness at its best. I do know that’s partly because concerned citizens routinely clean up, though.
After a much-needed rest and lunch at the Pinawa Club, Bridgette, myself and Mike continued on along the Ironwood Trail. We locals have all had the pleasure, and I reveled in the next hour of hiking and showing off the beauty of Pinawa as seen from the trail. The cameras were out, even as the feet grew weary.
We all got tired on the last 10 k to the Seven Sisters Hydro Dam, although I suspect youthful Mike may just have toyed with us. It’s all relative, isn’t it? I usually cycle this path and it’s so much longer without the bike. We needed to rest, and we were mighty glad to get a text from Ray that he was waiting at the dam for us. The last 1:00 sign on the dam indicating only 1 more kilometre was worthy of a photo shoot. My Fitbit registered 8 hours, 43,662 steps, 29.73 kilometres.
Dinner at Jennifer’s never tasted so good!