If you call British Columbia home you might not know this, but there is a large contingent of outdoorspeople just south of you that consider your backyard to be the promised land. I’m one of them. For the last 20 years or so I have lived in Oregon or Washington, and I love it. The culture, food, drink, and most importantly, the outdoors of this corner of the continent make it unequivocally my favorite region in the U.S.
But in much the same way that a bright-eyed, would-be starlet from the south longingly languishes over the gossip and trends coming out of Hollywood, we gawk in amazement at magazines and Instagram feeds that showcase a landscape that looks like ours, but that must be enhanced through some sort of bullshit filter: higher mountains, bluer water, greener trees. Everything we have, just a little extra. So much so that I regularly proclaim, “Oh come on, that’s fake!” So when some guide friends of mine invited me to do a test run backpack trip of the Rockwall Trail with a handful of guests a few summers ago, I cleared my calendar and waited out that spring like a toddler waits for Christmas morning.
The 35-mile Rockwall Trail extends along the eastern edge of the Vermillion Range in the Canadian Rockies. For roughly half of that distance, the path traces the nearly 3,000-foot high limestone feature that is the trail’s namesake. “Imposing” might be the best word for it, and that’s still laughably inadequate. Along the way, hikers will be tested by a handful of mountain passes, treated to sprawling technicolor meadows of wildflowers, camp near one of the tallest waterfalls in the entire country, and stand dumbfounded before massive hanging glaciers. It is a must-do trail for those that track such things, and it is the pride of the Kootenay National Park.
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