Submitted by: Dan
Our backcountry adventure in the Wilmore began as we parked our cars at the Rock Lake staging area. Stashing our watches and cell phones in the glove compartment, we freed ourselves from our attachments to the outside world, save for an emergency satellite phone. With only the sun to tell the time, we hefted our bags to set out for four days in the wilderness.
Less visited than Jasper but covering a larger area, the Wilmore offers no motorized access, leaving visitors to travel by foot, horse, or mountain bike, entering a world less frequented than the well trod trails of Banff or Jasper. A favourite haunt of backcountry sheep hunters, our early-June adventure found the place virtually to ourselves. Hiking some 20 km into the park to spend a few days exploring the surrounding peaks we saw not one other person, yet the signs of wildlife were everywhere almost in inverse proportion. Perhaps it was luck, but among other wildlife sightings, in only a few days we found a total of 11 moose antlers including one gigantic matching pair.
Working across northern Alberta as a biologist I’ve had the privilege to visit some truly remote and wild places, yet even in the furthest corners of the provinces, outside of our Parks there are few areas where a bird’s eye view fails to show signs of peoples’ widespread reach. That visit to the Wilmore was an eye-opening reminder of how incredible the truly wild places of this province are, and how important it is we maintain and protect them so they continue to exist and flourish into the future.
“Wilderness is a resource which can shrink but not grow… creation of new wilderness in the full sense of the word is impossible.”
― Aldo Leopold