A couple weeks ago I lucked my way into a free weekend without much at all to do, and so I planned at the drop of a hat to tackle a trail I've been meaning to visit for many years now, the Fryatt Valley Trail in Jasper National Park. And, since it WAS very last minute, it was a solo trip for me, which is a-ok. A friend asked me to make a video of my trip and, having never done that before, I tackled that challenge as well, and it wasn't nearly as challenging as I had thought it might be.
For anyone not interested in watching the whole video, here's a quick text trail report as well: the weather was about par for what we've been experiencing here in northern Alberta so far this year, that being rainy and cool with occasional warmth and sunshine poking through. The Fryatt Valley trail is approx. 23km long, terminating at the Alpine Club of Canada hut perched up above the valley floor on top of the headwall at the end of the valley. The first 11km are open to bicycles, to shorten the trek over what is essentially flat and a little bit boring terrain. After that point, you climb out of the Athabasca Valley and into the Fryatt Valley itself, a good, steady climb for the first bit, before settling into the river valley for most of the hike. The final kilometer, after passing through Headwall campground (my destination for the night) climbs somewhere in the neighborhood of 650m over that kilometer, and is charitably described as a "grunt", but is also worth the effort if you have the energy remaining. For the most part, the Fryatt Valley trail is a very intimate experience, with beautiful views of the mountains along the valley, but lacking much in the way of huge vistas. It was still a grand adventure, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a fun introductory-to-intermediate hike.
This was also my first real attempt at lightweight (or even vaguely UL) backpacking. I ended up getting everything I needed into my MEC Spirit 30L pack, which topped out at approx. 20lbs base weight but with barely any room for food (Lighterpack). I do have some room for improvement in this set-up, in that my tent (which I love) is more suited to 2-person backpacking, especially if I'm going to be space limited to 30L. I would also like to step up to a 40L pack without adding too much in the way of weight, but solving both of those problems at the moment involve an infusion of cash that I just don't have. Otherwise, I was quite satisfied with how my kit performed in a very mixed weather situation.
It was also my first true backpacking trip with my Solo Stove, and I'd like to call it a mostly roaring success, in that it was basically wet everywhere but I still managed to get a decent fire going both times I tried to. It also helped enlighten me to the limitations of the stove, that being that if you want not much more than a quick cup of coffee in the morning, it's a bigger investment in time than you would have otherwise. I certainly didn't save much in the way of weight by taking it, nor volume since my Solo Pot 900 is my go-to pot for everything, but I did enjoy the experience of cooking over the fire at supper, and it was a nice conversation piece at lunch the next day when I finally found time to make my aforementioned coffee.
Thanks for reading, and maybe even watching along. I'm certainly no YouTuber, and have no aspiration towards being one, but I did enjoy this method of documenting my trip and might try to do so again on future trips as well.