|View of Big Salmon River from the Interpretation Centre|
To be a little more specifically, we hiked from the parkway's Interpretation Centre up to Hearst Lodge - Yes, named for William, who purportedly owned the place. The trail, which is rated by the parks service as "Challenging", is a trek of about 3 km either direction, and the outbound trek is upriver. I spent a fair amount of time on all fours negotiating unfriendly rises and drops, and on the return trip I did so with about 15 pounds or so of kit on my back (the first time I did it with just my canteen).
|Big Salmon River|
More or less, the path follows Big Salmon River - there's one section that is optional which actually crosses the river bed - and winds its way up through the hills toward the Lodge. Along the way, there'll be smatterings of guard rails and plastic-coated steel cables, all intended to help with some of the steeper grades.
That being said, it's definitely not a beginner trek, and if its your first time in the woods, or you're a recovering chair-o-holic, you might want to consider a different hike. We plugged it in about an hour, but we're a group whose average land speed is closer to four or five clicks, and we also had my grandfather with us, who, much as we all hate to admit it, isn't in the shape he was when he was a hunting guide in the British Columbia mountains.
|Tia and Papa at the Riverside, Eighth Bend|
|Swimming in the River!|
Reaching the top, however, is rewarding in and of itself. The Lodge is situated very close to a natural pool in the river, which is suitable for swimming, despite what the various advisory notices say. The lodge itself is also a visitor utility, with bathrooms and fresh water. Those who book ahead (we didn't) can also have their meals at the lodge, which can be helpful after an hour's hike.
|"Jacuzzi" current formation in Hearst Pool|
We didn't, however. Intrepid things that we are, we returned the way we came, and that time, I took the lead. The trail can be deceptive at times - it's not marked other than by its own presence - but we made it through without any actual complications, though a few ascents were difficult when compared to the descents they had been before. Over all, a very fitting exercise.
The rest, of course, is just picspam.
|Hearst Lodge. Not shown is the Ham Radio mast.|
|Mom, Tia, and Papa attempting a ford. Dad in red.|
|Suspension Bridge, at the outset, which is rated for only 10 people.|
|A strange little clearing near the interpretation centre|
|Long Beach, where we stopped for Lunch.|
|Lobster Traps in Saint Martins.|
|At low tide, ships are grounded.|
|Sign in Inuktitut, for no reasonable reason.|