Six of us in 2 trucks headed out on Saturday morning at 8:00 am to Illal Creek turnoff along River Road. The water bars on the Illal track leading into the Kelley Peaks parking area continues to require good driving skills.
We began our hike at 9:35 through water-laden forest. Clouds skittered across an unsettled sky and developed into a Scottish mist as we reached the plateau. The peaks were obscured in clouds unfortunately but views of the eastern valleys revealed several smoke plumes of ongoing forest fires. The plateau with its amazing collection of hardy flora, colourful rock formations interspersed with tarns, is a beautiful mountaintop expanse worthy of the visit. We explored a large snow drift for the pink snow algae and noted the lovely grouping of fushia pink monkey flowers along its edge. Then we sought shelter from the deteriorating weather of bitter wind/rain/mists to eat our lunches.
On our way down we met people hiking up to do an overnighter and felt that they may be waking up to a snowy landscape the next day.
We saw no bears or even grouse although the low bush blueberries were plump and plentiful. We all displayed purple fingers and lips from grazing our way along the trail. There were some interesting groupings of mushrooms on the lower parts of the trail, some of which were harvested by one of our group.
Everyone was pleased with the outing regardless of the lack of peak views. It whetted the desire to return in sunnier times.
Submitted by Johanna Nott