Hike Fails, Waterfalls & Gourmet Camp Meals
What do you do when hikes don’t go as planned? Hiking fails are a big part of my life. I am thinking of things like when you meet a bear on the trail and need to turn back, or when it’s way too misty to head up into the alpine, or when a huge rockslide blocks the path, so you need to find a new place to explore, or when your legs run out of batteries while your brain wants to keep going. I don’t always write about our hiking fails, because I just plan to come back and do the same walks again properly. However, I thought it might be worth wiring about this one, to show the kinds of decisions we make out on the trails.
Then, even if you fail to manage the hike you planned, you still deserve some epic camp food! We went camping with some mates at Nairn Falls and ate soooo well. I figured I should share some ideas if you fancy eating something truly tasty on a camping trip.
Our Plan – Conflict Lake Hike
Our main plan for the day was to hike, then return to our campsite to cook and eat some decent food. This meant that we wanted to see some good views, but we didn’t want to do anything *too* long, as the lamb we had prepared would take about 4 hours to cook. The hike to Conflict Lake sounded perfect. It is 12km, with only 180m elevation gain. We also hoped it would be low enough elevation to not have too much snow.
Problem one – Road conditions
The road was pretty terrible. About 8km before the start of the hike our SUV couldn’t go any further as the pot holes were too massive for us. Luckily there was space for us to park by the side of the road, so we all squished into Bernhard’s Jeep for another few km. Then, the snow got so deep that we couldn’t drive any further even in that. We found a space to pull in, and had to hike a few extra kilometers to the trailhead.
This wasn’t so bad. It was only a few extra kilometers, and the snow was hard-ish so easy to walk on.
Once we found the trailhead we had a bit more trouble with the snow. Every so often one of us would fall down a post hole. That’s when your leg suddenly drops right down into the deep snow.
It was pretty slow going, and after a while, we lost the path. We found what we thought was a path, but every so often we’d have to cross mini rivers filled with water from the melting snow. It all seemed dodgy and unsafe. Especially with the running water. None of us wanted to fall into ice-cold water, even on a gorgeous day. In the end we decided we should turn back (sob.)
On the way back we did find this sign, so we had been on some kind of route! It’s not easy to navigate in the snow.
As we’d given up on Conflict Lake, we stopped off to see the views from Callaghan Lake. There is a camp ground right here, so I would like to come back to enjoy this gorgeous area when it is less covered in snow.
In the end we only managed to hike about 6km. Still, we had a laugh, got wet feet and saw this gorgeous view.
I found a different hike (I had three hiking books in the car) so we went back down to even lower elevation and did another mini adventure called the Lava Lake Loop hike. I’ll write a separate post about that one, as it was less of a fail.
On the return journey we stopped off to see the impressive Alexander Falls. If you are planning a drive up the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler, this is a great mini detour. The waterfall has a drop of 43m, and it is pretty spectacular in the springtime.
If you’d like to visit, you can find Alexander Fall on google maps here. You just need to take the Callaghan Creek Forest Service Road up from the Sea to Sky highway. The waterfall has its own massive car park and you only need to take a few steps to the viewpoint.
Gourmet Camp food
After our walking fail (and our next hike) we drove back to Nairn falls to get cooking. We had a GIANT leg of lamb that had been marinading in a cool box, so we added it to the camping grill and left it to cook for a few hours. The smells were pretty great even after the first thirty minutes.
Next we chopped up a giant salad, boiled some potatoes and chopped up a large pile of vegetables and covered them in butter before grilling them over the fire.
We also had peppers stuffed with goats cheese and parma ham. These were really important as we started getting hungry from the smells long before the lamb was ready.
Relaxing at the camp site at Nairn falls is a fantastic way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
This was our reward. Om nom nom.
The Nairn Falls Campsite
Nairn Falls is a fantastic place to camp. Each group gets their own little clearing. There was enough space for two cars, three tents as well as benches a camp fire area and two picnic benches. There are also pit toilets and water available within the camp grounds. If you like the look of it, you can book here.
This is the view of our camping spot from the loos. It’s pretty green and lovely.
Camping at Nairn Falls has the added bonus that after you have stuffed yourself with far too much food, you can walk over to the waterfall. The hike to Nairn Falls is about 2km from the camp site. It’s a quick, pretty walk and worth it for the epic gushing water views. See more about visiting Nairn Falls here.
We may have failed at our hike in the morning, but we had a fantastic waterfall-filled day. We finished off with s’mores and percy pigs. By the way, (for English friends) did you know you can melt percy pigs on a campfire!? Like you do with marshmallows(!) They are incredibly sweet, so you can’t have more than a couple, but we were impressed with how well it worked!
I hope you like reading this, despite our failure to do the actual hike! Have you ever been on a hike and had to turn back before you planned? What made you turn around?
Or, if you have ideas for more gourmet meals we can make when we go camping, I’d love to hear about them!
32 thoughts on “Hike Fails, Waterfalls & Gourmet Camp Meals”
It may have been a hike fail, but it’s the most impressive camping dinner I’ve ever seen. In fact it looks better than most restaurant dinners…Incredible! I’m going to steal your stuffed peppers recipe…yum!
Good for you for talking about hike fails. They happen all the time. Bears and weather and my own lack of preparation have messed things up. I had to abandon a Watersprite Lake hike because I couldn’t find the trailhead…missed the turnoff and ended up way too far on a terrible road.
You certainly made the best of the day. Those waterfalls are stunning!
What are percy pigs???
Yeah, we have had several other hike fails this year. It’s just we’ve done so much, that I don’t normally write about them.
Percy pigs are a piggy shaped jelly-like candy from a posh supermarket (Marks and Spenser’s) in the UK. You can’t get anything quite like them in Canada, so everyone at my husband’s workplace covets them (there are a lot of Brits there)
Stunning pics! I can’t even imangine the terror I would feel seeing a bear on the trail… Coming from nz the worst you can get over here is a wild pig – I’m not slowing adapting to thinking about how one of these days I will see a snake on the trails here in Australia :O
I looove seeing bears on the trail (just not up close!)
A couple of weeks ago I walked straight past a bear, within just a few meters and didn’t see him(!) My husband was a couple of minutes behind me, so told me off and got us to walk closer together after that! Ooops!
I would be terrified of snakes or spiders in Aus though!
Wow, you saw a lot of great waterfalls despite the early hiking fails. But I am floored by the amount of food you brought! Wan’t it too heavy. It doesn’t seem like you dehydrated them first.
Yeah that would be waaaay too much food if we camped in the wilderness. This was car camping, so we had a huge camping grill and cast iron pans that we could never carry into the mountains!
We didn’t carry all our gear on the hikes. We just camped close to one of those waterfalls, and then drove out to the trailheads for the walks.
That is the best Camp food I’ve seen! Surely beats a sandwich and chips I am used too. Though the hiking didn’t go as planned, seems like you still know how to make the most out of a beautiful day!
It sort of feel criminal not to make the most of a gorgeous day in the springtime! We get lots of rain…so we haaave to head outside when the sun is shining!
That camp food was pretty good eh!? That’s what happens when you camp with Austrians. 😀
This post interests me and thanks for sharing your hiking fails to us but even if its a fail it looks like you all still has a great time. When our plan doesn’t go as we planned it it’s amazing on how we can still manage to have fun despite the detour. Great post!
Exactly! Changing plans isn’t the end of the world – you just need to try something else. 😉
Wow that photograph of Alexander Falls near Whistler is stunning and even if you had come across a hiccup during the hike at that time, the view of these falls would have surely made up for it. We love incorporating hiking into our travels and so I truly appreciated that you shared your experiences regarding hiking fails. It may have been a hike fail but you still seemed to have been able to make the most of the experience, and wow that gourmet camping food looked amazing!
Alexander Falls is gorgeous isn’t it! There are a few other fantastic waterfalls in this area, so I think that one often gets overlooked. I thought it was a corker though!
That was quite an adventure! There is so much snow on the path – was it very cold? The camp food looks amazing, so unlike what you’d expect camp food to be! Have you really come across bears on your hikes? The thought of that scares me!
It was actually a pretty hot day. It’s nice when you have a little snow like that as the breeze flows over it to cool you down. Basically we were all hot, with cold feet(!)
As for bears, I think I’ve seen 14 bears since we moved to Vancouver two years ago, but only one of them was blocking the trail/ made us turn back. Normally we see them from far away, so it’s really exciting!!
The friends we were with have been here longer than us (maybe 5 years) and they have never seen bears – so don’t worry! You won’t always see them if you hike in Canada. If you carry bear spray and make plenty of noise when you hike, it’s pretty rare to spot them.
The waterfalls, views, and the food look so great! What a crazy adventure you guys had even after seeing a bear!
We didn’t see a bear on this hike (although I was hoping to, there are lots on this area.) We just had to turn back as there was too much snow.
The waterfalls and food did make the day pretty epic though!
Thankfully I am blessed as I have never had hike fails. But yours looks quite an adventurous one. The picture of Alexander falls is stunning. It is huge and beautiful.
Oooh you are lucky! I hope you stay fail-free for a bit longer!
I seemed to have quite a few this year! I always figure when it’s unsafe, we’d better turn back because the mountains and trails will still be there next time. 😉
You made quite a feast there! I’m a sucker for the grilled corn cob, it’s absolutely amazing. I could eat just that as a meal when it’s available.
Me too! Especially when it a teeny bit charred. It’s so, so good!
Wow, all so beautiful! And you eat better on camping trips then I do at home. 😉 🙂
Melting Percy Pigs!!! Best idea ever😎
Okay I’ll be honest…when I read gourmet camping meal I was not expecting a LEG OF LAMB! That’s awesome. Everything looked so delicious and that picture of Alexander Falls is stunning!
I loved reading about your “fails” and how you responded to them. A lot of times travel/adventure blogging seems to be all glitz and glamour.
I had to look up Percy Pigs. They look pretty good too.
Aw man… that food looks delectable! I think it’s great you were able to make the most out of the day!
You a super hard core hiker compared to me lol. Callaghan Lake looks gorgeous. Wow luxury meal for sure, lamb!
Sounds like you made the right decision to not go further on your hike…and you definitely turned a potential downer day into a memorable one! The food looks awesome – I could learn some tips from you on camp cooking!
You’re just showing off now, really. Glamping and lamb. And chopped salad.
It was pretty much glamping on hard ground with that meal!
We made up for it with just porridge for breakfast the following morning. 😉
I’m sorry but the one thing I’m taking away from this is FOUR HOURS for a camping meal?!?! Hahaha. It does look bloody delicious though! Alexander Falls looks gorgeous, totally missed that in my time there. Next time!
Hahaha That is why we had to find an easy-ish hike for that day! We knew we needed all afternoon to cook our dinner. It was a blooming great way to camp though!