Backpacking: Egypt Lake via Healy Pass

It feels like summer is over – I’ve returned to work, we’ve been having cooler weather, and we even had snow – so it was nice to have one more summer adventure this weekend.

It is difficult to think of one night hikes but we knocked it out of the park with Egypt Lake. The hike starts from the Sunshine Ski Hill parking lot (we opted for the Healy Creek trail) and climbs gradually for a little over 8 km to Healy Pass. It had rained hard on Friday, which meant snow in the mountains, and even though it was clear and sunny, there was still plenty of the white stuff.

We ate lunch at the pass to enjoy the view – it was a little windy but the sun was shining and it was just nice to be outside.

From the pass the trail drops down for about 4 km to the campground at Egypt Lake. Well, not quite at Egypt Lake but in a beautiful creekside clearing at the bottom of the pass. The campground is large but the sites are spread out and it feels pretty quiet even with the Egypt Lake Hut. There is a separate cooking and food storage area (bear hangs, so bring some ‘biners) with low tables (and no chairs, so pull up a stump).

The early season snow storm had some advantages – there were zero bugs. After setting up camp and stashing our stuff we hiked about 800 m to Egypt Lake to sit in the sun for the rest of the afternoon. There are lots of options to explore further, but we were pretty content to soak up the sunshine and scenery on the shore.

We knew it was going to be a chilly night so as soon as the sun started to slip behind the mountains we headed back to camp and got started on dinner. I’d kept it pretty simple – minute rice and Kitchens of India (which you just boil in a bag) – so dinner was easy to cook. We had a pre dinner drink (rum and coke) and finished our meal with pistachio pudding and hot chocolate.

And we were right – by 7:30 pm we were all pretty chilled and called it a night. We snuggled into our bags and attempted to sleep. I wasn’t too cold but always find it uncomfortable to sleep on my hips so I spent some time tossing and turning. It was pretty cold around 5:00 am but I threw on another layer and managed a few more hours of sleep.

People started stirring in the campground pretty early, but we stayed cozy in our tent until almost 8 am when the sun finally warmed things up (and melted most of the frost). We took our time packing up and lingered over breakfast and coffee so it was almost 11 am before we were ready to hit the trail.

The return hike starts with about 300 m of elevation gain back up to the pass but once this is out of the way it is all down hill to the parking lot. We ate lunch at the pass even though we’d only been hiking a little over an hour to take advantage of the sunshine and the views. It has been a while since we’ve had two perfect days in the backcountry and I wanted to soak it up.

The rest of the hike was uneventful – descending through the trees can get a little monotonous – but luckily wasn’t too long. We pulled into the parking lot and shed our packs and boots immediately. I love hiking but there is nothing like the feeling of taking your gear off in the parking lot when you’ve made it back to your car!

We celebrated another successful hike by finishing all our snacks during the car ride (which took forever) and made plans for our next adventures – you know you’ve had a good hike when as soon as you are done you are making plans to head out again.


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