2012 was the year of our endless summer, as, in late August, Doug and I prepared to move from the small mountain town of Nelson that had been our home for the last 10 years to Australia, where summer was soon to settle in. Four days before we had to leave our house, we found we had time for one last mountain trip, and, after the usual studying of maps, we decided to hike into the Settlers Group on the east side of the Purcell Mountains. In March of the same year, we had skied up to Kootenay Joe Ridge from Johnsons Landing and looked over at the Settlers Group from the summit of Kootenay Joe Ridge. Draped in a blanket of snow, the mountains and extensive alplands were stunningly beautiful. That was part of the appeal of the Settlers Group, the other, equally important part was ease of access. A good trail leads from a landing in a cutblock at 5,500 feet to the tiny Heart Lake at 7,350 feet. Finally, Salisbury Creek FSR, where the trail starts, was reported to be in good shape, a rarity in 2012 when record monsoon rains washed out dozens of other roads in the Kootenay region.
[photo]upper_trail_doug.jpg[caption]Doug approaching the col NE of Tooth Ridge[/photo]
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The trail, built by enthusiastic locals and not well (if at all) known outside the local area, starts at roads end and is relatively easy to find. Perhaps 20 metres before the absolute road end, look for an ATV track bashed into the cutblock. The trail starts at this ATV track, but heads north (climbers left) and is marked by a sketch of a hiker on a large tree at the edge of the cutblock. The trail climbs gently and contours north into the south fork of Bulmer Creek, travels due east, skirting the north end of a boulder field, and eventually...
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