While boating around Lake Minnewanka recently, we realized there are some pretty sweet back country camping spots. Normally, one would be able to hike to these spots (approximately 18km), but currently a section on that hike is closed due to bear activity. So that means, you can only get to these camping spots by boat... and our little boat has just enough oompf to get us there!
The first rule to boating out 18 or so kilometres and not wanting to do many trips in or out, is to bring only what you will need. The boat cannot be too loaded down so, this is not the trip for multiple sweaters or even multiple pairs of pants. For four individuals, this can be tricky. Items of clothing suggested: 1 pair of good shoes, 1 pair of long pants (even better if they are shorts too), 1 t-shirt, 1 long sleeved shirt, 1 good raincoat or light jacket, 2 pairs of socks. Other items that may make the list: bathing suit, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, bug repellent and undergarments. We packed our clothing in two medium sized dry sacs. (Easily purchased where boating supplies are sold.)
We knew we would have a firepit on the site, but we also knew we had a lot of rain in the forecast. Unsure if we'd be capable of cooking out, we brought along our 12 yrs old Coleman stove. Add in a frying pan, a small pot, some utensils, plates and cups in a bucket (to wash some dishes in). One cooler with food and a few other - never hurts to have it items - a tarp, rope or twine, small radio, candles, matches and lighters. One tent, 4 sleeping bags and we were off!
Pulleys for hanging food were provided.
Please Note: Good back country etiquette is to follow the rules. Do not believe for one second that you are above the rules. Just follow them. Purchase the 'Wilderness Pass' ($31) from Banff National Park and register your site and who will be camping. This helps the park know who is currently using the park and when to expect you back. If your car still sits in the parking lot days after your expected return, someone may come looking for you. ;) Remain in Groups of 4 and do not bring your dog (they'll run a bear right back to you, clever pup!).
Be sure you are equipped with bear spray, bells, and bangers and know how to use them. This IS bear country and we are guests in their environment. That means taking out all garbage brought in, hanging your food/garbage when you will not be around it, keeping your cooking areas and sleeping areas separate (as per the diagram from 'Hiking and Backpacking' by Marni Goldenberg and Bruce Martin) and hey, don't forget to sing loudly wherever you go!
Enjoy being at one with nature! We were the only four people in the whole world for 24hrs and it was very relaxing.