October 8th, 2022
~ submitted by John Robertson
A group of 5 people gathered at the Paradise Meadows trailhead. Paper maps were pulled out (guess our median age!) and possible routes were discussed. We sketched out a plan, and headed up past Battleship Lake. The air was cool, but we shed layers of clothing fairly soon, as the hike warmed us. The fall colours glowed in the sun.
We paused at the lookout point by Lady Lake to scope terrain for a possible route out, and decided it was likely a nope. We did, however, discover a section of the old Dove Creek trail below the current main trail.
At our approximate stepping off point, we found a faint trail that looked promising, so we took that. Although we had to search a bit for it at a couple points, it took us right into the valley in which Ball lake sits. We paused briefly at the first small lake downstream of Ball Lake, then continued on. At Ball we paused for refreshments. The braver among us swam. We then headed the rise of land to the southeast, in search of views, and stopped for lunch at a suitable spot. While there, we scoped a possible exit point towards Croteau, on the opposite (cliffy) side of the valley.
After lunch, we headed to the head of the valley, to look for southerly viewpoints. We were rewarded with an A-level viewpoint, from which we could see the trail to Wood mountain, as well as all the Strathcona gang: Frink, Castlecrag, Albert-Edward, Reagan, etc.
We then turned to tackle the route over the intervening “hump”, to Croteau. We quickly found the sloping ledge that we had spied from the other side of the valley, but partway up, it was decided that, rather than acting our age, a scramble up the bluff was preferable. We then made our way over the top of the hump, and down to Croteau. At that point, even some of the less brave chose to swim.
We then head back the way we came, down the main trail to our cars, well satisfied with the day’s adventure.