Trip 126 - July 8, 2017 (Saturday)
Murray Range Trail Hike
Off Highway 97 in the general vicinity of Mackenzie BC
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Liked: Easy access to trailhead off Highway 97, view of Azouzetta Lake, view of mountain lakes, haphazard stone formations in the alpine.
Of note: Relentlessly steep trail for most of the way to the alpine. Numerous mosquitoes up to the alpine. Noise from Highway 97 for much of the trail. Some parts of the trail are overgrown and washed out. Very windy in some places in the alpine. Hiking poles and boots are essential.
Northern BC Backroad Mapbook (3rd edition) Trailhead Coordinates: Page 56 (Pine Pass) B5. The latest edition of Backroad Mapbook for this and other regions, as well as GPS maps, are available at BackroadMapbooks.com.
Other Trips in Mackenzie Area: Kimta Creek Trail Hike, Parsnip West Forest Service Road, Canty Lake Trail Hike, Carp Lake Road (War Falls Visit).
Murray Range Trail is one of the few trails listed in Backroads Mapbook along a stretch of Highway 97 between Chetwynd and Mackenzie Junction. There are no signs leading you to the trail, so the map and GPS with the Backroads Mapbook software proved very helpful in locating the trailhead. Once you start the trail, it is fairly obvious where you need to go. But getting there won't be easy. Murray Range Trail is very steep for much of the way. This is, probably, the steepest trail we have ever hiked, save for, maybe, Mount Lincoln trail in Yale, which is much shorter. Loose dirt and stones make things even more complicated. The views from this trail are quite good. However, considering how difficult this trail is, it should be left for well-equipped experienced hikers.
18. Our reward after the steepest part of the trail is this fine view of the mountains behind us. Highway 97 is seen in the middle of the photo. By this time, noise from the highway had all but disappeared.
19. And to the left - neat Azouzetta Lake. Coordinates: N 55'24'488 W 122'36'930. Elevation: 1,469 meters (584 meters elevation gain from the start of the trail).
Here is our video of the view from this point:
20. How about this mountain range to our right (if looking forward).
21. Moving on, the peak we have been aiming for has a pronounced saddle, and we decided that this would be the easiest place to start the final climb.
22. There are a lot of interesting large stones lying around out there, this one seen in the middle being one of them.
23. Getting closer to the saddle.
24. Finally, the saddle entrance. Wasn't too hard to climb up this grass. Coordinates: N 55'24'730 W 122'36'625. Elevation: 1,660 meters.
25. Looking back from the saddle. Lots of green.
26. Now moving forward, with the saddle just behind us, and the peak to climb to our left.
27. What an awesome picture awaited on the other side of the alpine across from the saddle. According to our GPS, behind the smaller lake in the middle of the photo is the beginning of Pine Le Moray Provincial Park.
28. Starting to climb the peak to our left. Not as steep as the first part of the trail.
29. Looking back at Azouzetta Lake.
30. Now looking to the right - the same mountain range as seen on photo #20.
31. Getting close to the end of the hike.
32. Finally, this is it. There are no pronounced peaks there, so we knew we have reached the end because of several stones put together. Also, the GPS showed that we have reached our destination.
Here is our video of the view from the end of Murray Range hike:
33. Here is the Garmin 64s GPS with Backroads Mapbook software (available at BackroadsMapbook.com) showing the trail (red and white dotted line) and our path (blue line) at the end of the trail. Coordinates: N 55'24'987 W 122'36'890. Elevation: 1,820 meters (935 meters elevation gain from the start of the trail).
34. And these are our hike stats up to the destination. As you can see, we spent more time not moving (2 hours 21 minutes) than moving (2 hours 11 minutes). Also, the average speed was 2.0 km per hour. Our usual average speed while hiking up is about 3.0 km/h. This speaks to how steep the trail is. But, also, this being the first real hike of the season, we are not in our best hiking shape. It only took us 1.5 hours to get back, by the way.
Murray Range Trail leads to several neat views, but is complicated enough that it should be tackled only by experienced well-equipped hikers.
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