words: Brent Malysh || photos: Gina Bégin
Bring a Bottle to the Backcountry
The other day I overheard a conversation lamenting how hiking with bottles was too hard; bottles were too big and heavy to bring on a backcountry adventure. “Cans are soooo much better.”
“Pfft,” I thought. “Is that where we are now — we can’t imagine carrying a little extra weight?”
Hiking with Beer: The Experiment Begins
To challenge it, I decided to hike up into Valhalla Provincial Park along the Gwillim Lake circuit — a 12km round trip with about 900 meters of elevation gain. Into the pack went snacks, water, extra layer, rain jacket, bear spray, and two 650ml Backroads bombers.
The trail is considered somewhat difficult by most, though by Kootenay standards its not too bad. A fairly sharp ascent at first to get up and out of the valley and into the sub-alpine, but then its pretty gentle meandering among beautiful lakes and fields of flowers, with a stout climb near the end to get to the final lake. Stunningly scenic, and completely devoid of the crowds you’d see if this trail were near the coast.
The whole thing took about 8 hours, including spending about an hour at one of the middle lakes (there’s 4 in total on the route) on the way back down to have a swim and enjoy the aforementioned beers.
So did the extra weight of two 650ml bombers over two 473ml cans matter? Not in the slightest. Leaves me pretty convinced that bombers are, in fact, perfectly fine to take hiking. Anyone who tells you otherwise needs to toughen up.