All posts by Brian Patton

Brian Patton

About Brian Patton

Brian Patton is co-author of the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide.

Permethrin-treated clothing arrives in Canada

After years of frustration, Canadians are now able to purchase clothing that is commercially treated to protect against mosquitoes and ticks and the diseases they can carry. Using “No Fly Zone by Burlington” technology, Marks (aka Marks Work Wearhouse) released a line of men’s and women’s clothing under its Wind River label in May. Shirts, pants, jackets and hats produced with permethrin-treated cloth are now available in major Marks outlets […]

Visiting Waterton Park in 2018

The Kenow Fire, which swept through the park last September, has left the western half of Waterton Lakes National Park closed for the 2018 summer season, including most of the park’s hiking trails. While hiking opportunities in the park will be more limited this year, the closures do offer an excellent excuse to visit some areas you might not normally consider.   Trails With the exception of the popular Crypt […]

Lake O’Hara: A quota for paradise

“Welcoming visitors since 1925 to what is certainly one of the singularly most stunning alpine locations on earth.” This description on the Lake O’Hara Lodge website is certainly no exaggeration.  Lake O’Hara’s scenic reputation and outstanding trail system has been drawing hikers for decades. In the 1970s, a quota system was introduced for bus access to the lake, one based on accommodation at the lodge, the Alpine Club of Canada’s […]

Summit Trail Makers: Volunteering for trails

Parks and wilderness recreation managers across North America are increasingly turning to volunteer trail crews to help maintain backcountry facilities. With the exception of the Jasper Trail Alliance, Parks Canada has rejected volunteer help, despite a steady reduction in trail maintenance and a deterioration in backcountry infrastructure. Administrators provide a vague list of reasons for rejecting volunteer participation. Parks Canada’s Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) union supports expanded facility and […]

Post wildfire recovery in Waterton Park

It is estimated that 30% of Waterton Lakes National Park was burned by the Kenow wildfire that swept through the park in mid-September. The scenes of charred forest and buildings left park fans, including hikers, wondering what the future holds. For many who spent their entire lives enjoying Waterton’s unique landscape and flora, there was despair at what transpired in less than 48 hours. There was a tremendous sense of loss (see Waterton […]

Review: Katadyn BeFree Microfilter

After years of searching for the perfect water filter for the backcountry, I recently discovered  the Katadyn BeFree Microfilter with Hydrapak 0.6L flask—a water filter and soft, collapsible bottle that comes very close to the good old days of scooping water directly from streams with a canteen or tin cup. The variety of water filters and various treatment devises nowadays is overwhelming. Some people use tablets or chemical drops (chlorine […]

Backpacking Banff’s remote Front Ranges

  Each summer, Calgary hiker Jim Shipley organizes a multi-day backpacking trip into the remote valleys and passes of Banff or Jasper Park, exploring country that he and his buddies haven’t visited before. While Jim contacts us for pre-trip tips, we always receive more information than we provide. Following his trek, he composes a detailed report with photos and sends it along for use in this blog—reports that always provide revisions for […]

Waterton Park: After the Kenow Wildfire

  As autumn snow dusts the peaks down to the 2000-m level, Waterton Park has reopened, more or less, and is licking its wounds following the Kenow wildfire, the most devastating forest fire in the park’s history. The townsite is open for business and visitors are hiking the trails on the east side of the valley, including Crypt Lake, for a few more days. But it will take until next year […]

Wildfire evacuation alert in Waterton Park

    Update September 8, 2017—Parks Canada ordered a mandatory evacuation of all remaining visitors and residents from Waterton townsite this afternoon. The order was the result of a weather forecast predicting increasing westerly winds tonight and tomorrow with gusts as high as 70 km/h. These conditions increase the chance of the Kenow Fire jumping the Great Divide and moving into the park’s core. The town and corridor has been successfully evacuated and gated […]

Fire hazard forces closure of BC parks

As British Columbia experiences its worst wildfire season ever, the BC Wildfire Service has closed access to the backcountry in the Rocky Mountain Forest District in the province’s southeast corner, which includes Mount Assiniboine, Elk Lakes and Akamina-Kishinena Provincial Parks. This closure also restricts access to most of the trails in the Sunshine Meadows area of Banff National Park, including the popular hike to Rock Isle Lake, Larix and Grizzly Lakes. […]