By Dan Walton
Hikers can again enjoy one of the valleys must dos the Lake of the Hanging Glacier trail.
After 14 work days worth of effort were applied by the Summit Trail Makers Society towards the installation of two new bridges, crossing a river is no longer required to complete the trail.
Along with employees of Pioneer Forest Consulting, who volunteered their time, members of the Trail Makers installed a 70-foot (21-metre) long metal bridge over Horsethief Creek, which runs directly through the Lake of the Hanging Glacier trail. Before the new bridge, there was a 40-foot (12-metre) long bridge to support hikers up until severe weather washed it away more than a year ago.
Last year [winter 2011-2012] we had a lot of snow, and there were a lot of avalanches covering lots of different trails, and the water rose very high and it washed out one support on one end of the [Horsethief Creek] bridge, said Brian Wesley, whos a member of the Society.
Because the new bridge is more than 50 per cent larger than its predecessor, the supports are much further away from the edge of the river now; Id say its got a pretty good shelf life, he said.
Fourteen Trail Makers Society volunteers, along with a handful of helpers from Pioneer Forest Consulting, spent July 30th and 31st reconnecting the famous trail. To transport the giant aluminum structure into the middle of the woods, a helicopter was needed.
Pioneer Forest Consulting were instrumental in securing the bridge into place, Mr. Wesley said.
A crew of five or six built the place where the bridge is anchored down, then the helicopter brought the unit in. It dropped it where they wanted it, and they fastened it all down and finished it by putting the walking boards down.
Mr. Wesley said Lake of the Hanging Glacier is one of the only lakes in the valley which hosts icebergs.
Because of the prevailing winds, they get blown towards where the trail ends at the north end of the lake, he said. Its quite spectacular.
The trail can be hiked until around Thanksgiving time, he said, when snow begins to cover the trail.
Trails are one of the main attractions for the Invermere area, he said.
One of the best ways to get close to the mountains is to go hiking. And if nobody maintained the trails,
hiking would be a little difficult.
The Trail Makers next project will take place this week at the Bugaboo Pass trail and the trail into the Silver Basin, for scheduled upkeep.
Therell be trees that have blown over in the winter, and sometimes avalanches. But were just going up for regular maintenance, so well see what we see when we get there.
To submit trail concerns, or if youre interested in joining the STMS, email the club at email@example.com. The Trail Maker Societys membership
currently sits at around 60.