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Mount Sinclair from the Sinclair Creek Trail # 4231

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Date: 2003.08.03
Vantage Point: From Sinclair Creek Trail

Caption: Mount Sinclair is framed by the valley of Sinclair Creek as it descends towards the west side of Sinclair Pass.

PhotoDescr: Hot weather and dry conditions have made a tinderbox of the Rockies and the British Columbia Interior in the summer of 2003. About a year ago, I selected the Kindersley Pass-Sinclair Creek Circuit at the south end of Kootenay National Park as the second-day hike for the 2003 August long weekend for a Grant MacEwan Mountain Club trip. When we drove down from Lake Louise on Sunday morning, we could see one of the Tokumm Creek fires burning above Highway 93, but that was a long way from our destination.

After spotting a distant plume of smoke from the Kindersley-Sinclair Col, we descended to the Sinclair Creek valley to complete the loop, enjoying the view of Mount Sinclair in the distance.

When we completed the hike and headed back to Lake Louise, we were stopped at a blockade. A fire, possibly the one we had seen, was burning along Verendrye Creek and threatening the historic Kootenay Park Lodge. Highway 93 was closed, and we had to backtrack to Radium Hot Springs, and then go north to Golden and east on the Trans-Canada to get back to Lake Louise.

We later heard that the Kindersley Pass-Sinclair Creek Circuit was one of only a very few trails in Kootenay NP that hadn't been closed before or during that day because of the fires. By Wednesday, it too had been closed: "Wildfire burning in the area. Hazard exists for hikers."

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