A 6-Day Wilderness Odyssey: Backpacking the Rainbow Range in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park

In the heart of British Columbia’s Tweedsmuir Provincial Park lies the challenging yet breathtaking Rainbow Range, a wilderness area that promises a true backcountry experience. Our intrepid group, known as the Magnificent
Six from the Pacific Northwest Outdoor Association (PNOA), embarked on a 6-day, 82 km backpacking adventure, facing unpredictable terrains and encountering the untamed beauty of nature.

Day 1: Into the Wild at Octopus Lake
The journey began with a 16.2 km trek from the Rainbow Range Trailhead to Octopus Lake. Negotiating an old burnt forest, subalpine meadows, and marshy terrains, we overcame challenges such as elusive trail markers and fallen trees. Eventually, we stumbled upon a hidden gem – the Octopus Lake campsite, a 5-star Hilton of the wilderness, rewarding our perseverance.

Day 2: Navigating Nature’s Maze to Rainbow Cabin
On the second day, a 15.8 km hike led us to Rainbow Cabin. Facing the absence of clear trail markings, we relied on GPS maps and our wits. Despite encountering a rat metropolis in the cabin, we set up our tents outside,
enjoying the comfort for cooking. The unpredictable trails and unexpected twists heightened the adventure.

Day 3: Mackenzie Heritage Trail and a Grizzly Encounter
Our third day involved tracing the historic Mackenzie Heritage Trail, covering 16.3 km. Amidst relentless rain, we encountered challenges such as bushwhacking and a lack of signage. A surprise grizzly bear encounter added
a humbling and unforgettable dimension to our journey.

Day 4: Wilderness Odyssey to Even de Macedo Lakes
Day four proved to be the ultimate test, an 17.7 km odyssey with an elevation gain of 880 m. Navigating through thick alder bushes and unmarked trails, we reached Crystal Lake, a primitive backcountry campsite. After that, we had to carve out our own 10 km plus path from Crystal Lake to de Macedo Lakes in somewhere nowhere, our commitment to leaving no trace in this remote wilderness remained unwavering.

Day 5: Rainbow Range Day Hike
In an 11.5 km day hike, we ascended the Rainbow Range, encountering breathtaking landscapes. A close encounter with a grizzly bear and a surprise visit from mountain goats added a thrilling touch to our scenic wonders.

Day 6: Triumph and Reflection
The final day, covering 17.8 km, marked the triumphant return to Rainbow Trailhead. Conquering the South Ridge and navigating through challenging terrains, we celebrated the completion of our wild odyssey. Reflecting on
over 95 km covered in six days, we marveled at the pristine beauty of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.

Conclusion: A Wilderness Adventure to Remember
Our backpacking adventure in the Rainbow Range was not just a physical challenge; it was a test of resilience, navigation skills, and the ability to coexist with the untamed. The GPX files generated during our journey serve as a valuable resource for future trekkers, providing insights into the pristine beauty of this remote Canadian wilderness. The Magnificent Six left no trace but carried back a wealth of photos andunforgettable memories from this truly wild experience.

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