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!