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August 2022

Spectrum Lake - Backpacking & Water Filtration

Guest Authors: Tyson Head (@restlesscrusade)

We have been taking our girls to Spectrum Lake since they were 10 months old. It is a somewhat easy hike into what we call “luxury” camping. It takes about 2-3 hours to hike depending on your pace, and if kids are hiking or being carried. We love doing this hike as our kick off to the backpacking season to work out any kinks as it can easily be done as a day trek if needed.

As we started down the trail and crossed over the first bridge we knew we were in for a spectacular couple of nights. This 15m long bridge spanning Sprectrum Creek is the gateway to Monashee Provincial Park and the trailhead to Spectrum Lake and other pristine alpine lakes high above. With only two other cars at the trailhead and passing two other groups on their way out meant that we had the entire lake to ourselves. This trail bridges multiple creeks making it easy to carry minimal water. Knowing these trails very well, we traditionally only carry one 500 mL Nalgene bottle for each of us and fill up at each creek crossing using our SteriPen to quickly purify the fresh mountain water.

After an easy six kilometre hike through the cedar and pine forests we descended down to the shores of Spectrum Lake. This backcountry location is amazing for both new and experienced adventurers. The area is equipped with wooden tent pads, fire rings, picnic tables, four post shelters, bear poles, stocked outhouses, a park ranger cabin and even a floating dock; more of a backcountry glamping trip than forging the elements.

Because this lake also sits at a lower elevation it is the perfect early season trip as well. After setting up the tent and acquainting ourselves with the surroundings we were ready to put our feet up and enjoy nature at its finest. But before this we had one last task at hand. We made our way down to the dock to purify some drinking water.

This time however having our two girls with us we decided to try something new. I swiftly scooped four litres of water into our latest camping splurge, the Platypus GravityWorks water filtration system. With the “dirty” bag full we made our way back to camp and hung it from the provided shelter. From here we attached the filter and the second four litre “clean” bag and simply walked away.

Our time was now spent setting up our chairs lakeside to examine the snow line and watch the girls collect rocks to throw in the water. When it came time to make dinner Shannon got things organized while I made a fire and the girls entertained themselves running around the forest floor collecting sticks and pine cones while letting their imaginations wander free. As the day began to shift to night we huddled up next to the fire and relaxed in the peaceful silence of the wilderness by the warm glow and crackling of the flames.

As morning broke we enjoyed breakfast and hot drinks as we smelled the crisp mountain air. Today's adventure would have us on a day hike part way around the lake. A short 2 km out and back trek. As we approached the source of Spectrum creek we had to forge our way across a log jam in order to gain the opposite side. I shimmied across the log first to make sure it was safe for the girls to attempt to cross, then returned back to assist Bexley over while Shannon held Lidija’s hand as she insisted on doing it herself.

From here was a loosely marked trail that climbed its way through the cedars and terminated at an unnamed waterfall on an unnamed creek. This made for a perfect lunch spot and created an opportunity for the kids to rest their legs.

Returning the way we came, we spent the remainder of the day taking in the sun on the floating dock while the loon calls echoed over the water. After dinner and a cozy fire the girls fell asleep in our arms before we had a chance to get them into the tent. Our second night had now passed and we casually packed up our tent and slowly made our way back to the parking lot. The girls powered through the entire hike being able to finish it with their own two legs not even needing a break in the Trail Magik that we carry as a backup just in case.

With numerous trips into this amazing location Spectrum Lake and Monashee Provincial Park has yet to disappoint us.