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North America’s highest waterfall: Della Falls and Love Lake in a day

September 9, 2018

LP1090924Just in from what might be the last adventure of this summer! Dave and I fastpacked in to Della Falls and Love Lake on Monday. (Fastpacking is the best of ultrarunning and backpacking combined: the route we did is normally a 3 to 5 day backpacking trip). We go fast and far – but our packs are light!

I’m not really sure what the total distance was – something between 40 and 50 km, with a net elevation gain of just under 1200 m (Love Lake is at 1240 m, and we started at Great Central Lake which is around 90 m). This route is all within Strathcona Provincial Park, central Vancouver Island.

We were especially grateful for the blue skies, after such a smoky few weeks. And the weather couldn’t have been better: mostly sunny, not too hot and not too cold. Here are some pix – enjoy!

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We launched Dave’s boat in the dark, and made it to the trailhead at the west end of the lake before 7am.

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The first few hours are fairly easy – a relatively flat and straight trail, only a very gradual uphill – until around here, where it becomes a bit more twisty and rugged.

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Della Falls, in the background had very little water going over it – it’s been such a hot and dry summer. (And yes, we packed a tripod so I could get these pix of both of us).

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Love Lake. The first time we came up here together (seven years ago to the day) the lake was still frozen solid. Yes, in September! Which means it never thawed that whole year!

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So nice to get up to the alpine. We are so lucky to have so many great trails near home.

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Then we descended back down from Love Lake and the alpine, and headed upstream to the base of the falls. There was a bit more water coming over the other branch (to the left of this photo, but no trail to get over there) but very little coming down here.

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And then back to the boat just on dark. Our time on the trail was 12:46, but that includes stops for the photos (with the tripod and the timer, so they take a while) and a nice relaxing break up at Love Lake. It is raining now as I post this – glad we made it in there when we did!

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