Ramnik Kaur has written a blog post about Exploring David Thompson Country for beginners and has shared it with us. You can find her original blog post at https://ramnikenroute.com/blog/exploring-david-thompson-country-for-beginners
Exploring David Thompson Country for beginners
David Thompson Country (DTC) is located in West Central Alberta (Treaties 6 & 7 Territory). It’s a hidden gem that features the very best of Mother Nature herself. Views, hikes, camping, backcountry, trail riding, rich history and many adventure sports are located here. It’s the perfect place to escape our busy lives and rejuvenate our wild side. But there are some things you need to know and follow so you can have the greatest adventure of all time.
Do your research!
Here is a small checklist of questions that I use when planning (in no particular order):
– Are there fire restrictions?
– Are we travelling on gravel roads?
– Is there a trail head?
– Is there cell-service?
– What is the weather like?
– Are there any advisories set out?
– What are the current reviews of this trial/site?
– What amenities are close to my primary trail/site?
– How long will I be gone for?
– Is someone going with me? How am I staying in contact?
A lot of the DTC area is unserviced. I discovered that during my first visit to Ram Falls. I was in all honestly under-prepared and had not done my research at all. To top it all off I was taking 5 other families camping for the first time. When we ended up on a gravel road for the last 80 kms to the site with absolutely no cell service, we were all a little shocked. One of the vehicle’s tires even popped and we had no way of getting help but to drive back and forth (to Nordegg) with the other vehicles. So please, please, please make sure you do your research. For me it was a lesson very well learnt.
Leave No Trace Principles
Leaving no trace is especially important in these untouched raw areas because we want to minimize our impact and help protect nature for future generations to come. Sometimes we imagine our actions to be small and insignificant, but everything adds up.
Here are the principles:
– Plan ahead and prepare: again, do your research!
– Travel and camp on durable surfaces: please camp on already established campsites and help minimize our impact in nature.
– Dispose of waste properly: pack out what you packed in.
– Leave what you find.
– Minimize campfire impacts: I always take a portable stove just in case I can’t find a safe campfire spot.
– Respect wildlife: be aware of your surroundings, observe from a distance, never feed wildlife, store your food properly.
– Be considerate of others: trail manners are important!
Take photos and nothing else!
Dogs on trails
I absolutely love taking my dog (Khearu) on trails but there are a lot of things you should follow when in the wild with them. Please keep your dogs leashed. If it is an off-leash area ONLY unleash if your dog has good recall and is trained. Khearu recently got attacked by an off leash dog, whose owner had absolutely no handle on the dog. While I was making sure Khearu was okay, the owner grabbed the dog and literally ran away. If you can’t handle your dog, then you need to put in more hours training.
Please pick up after your dog, make sure they have enough water/food, and be prepared to go at their speed. If it’s too hot, leave your dog at home (no, the car is not the same thing). Be prepared for wildlife encounters, have a dog first aid kit, and make sure you treat your dogs water as well! Another important thing to remember is when encountering wildlife your dog is going to react, if they are not leashed they are very likely to chase the wildlife. There are a lot of cases in the DTC where owners have lost their dogs because of this. Keep your dogs leashed.
What should you carry at all times?
The 10 essentials should be on you at all times: navigation, headlamp, sun protection, first air, knife, fire, emergency shelter, extra food, extra water, extra clothes. But here are some things that I feel are very important in the DTC: a satellite/GPS device (I have a Garmin InReach Mini 2), bear spray, bear bin/bear hang, good hiking boots, portable battery charger, and a car emergency kit.
To plan for hikes I use AllTrails, do social media research, use blogs, and have recently been using maps as well for well established trails. Here are some I have done, some I plan on doing to get started. PLEASE make sure you follow leave no trace principles, and do your research in order to be prepared.
1) Kootenay Plains Heritage Trail
2) Ram Falls
3) Hoodoo Creek
4) Hummingbird Falls
5) Tershishner Falls
6) Limestone Lookout
* All of these trails have some difficulty (whether it be on trail or getting there), be prepared.
Have fun out there and make sure someone knows where you are at all times. Happy trails!
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Explore David Thompson Country
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