Paint Pots Hike, Kootenay National Park

DSC03009DSC03010DSC03005This week’s hike to the Paint Pots was most interesting. Due to last year’s big flood the Paint Pots bridge from the Paint Pots parking was damaged and now removed as work is underway to replace it. At this time the only way to get to the Paint Pots is to park at Marble Canyon (worth visiting too) and follow the Paint Pots trail that starts at the first bridge across Marble Canyon. The Vermillion River Canyon is a smaller version of Marble Canyon, but still worth checking out. The trail is profuse with fireweed flowers and the lodgepole pine forest is now making great strides in growth since the 2003 forest fire. Both fireweed flowers and lodgepole pine trees grow first after a forest fire. Daisies and pearly everlasting flowers were also prolific. The six of us enjoyed nice sunshine on our way to the Paint Pots where we found a bench to sit on for lunch. The ochre coloured Paint Pots are fascinating. “Before the arrival of the white man the native tribes from both sides of the mountains came here to collect the coloured clay for body paint.” “Early white settlers also mined the ochre for a brief period and shipped it to Calgary for use as a base for paint.” (Patton/Robinson) There are still pieces of equipment around, some hidden in the forest, from those mining days. After cruising around the Paint Pots we headed back to Marble Canyon. This time the sun had warmed up the atmosphere and it was a hot hike, however, we met several people heading to the Paint Pots in spite of the +29˚C heat. Fortunately, Marble Canyon had a cool breeze coming out of the canyon to cool us off for a few minutes.

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