The third day would be the one of the most relaxing of our six-day adventure. The trek from Og Lake campground to the Assiniboine Lodge is a short 6-km hike through Og Meadows with little elevation change. This would also be the day we arrive at Lake Magog at the base of Mount Assiniboine for a two night stay in rustic log cabins for the most “civilized” portion of the hike.
It’s early and a couple of campers are already up for the sunrise. Mount Assiniboine’s pyramidal peak is reflected in Lake Og’s mirror-still waters on this perfectly calm morning. Named by Canadian geologist and surveyor George Dawson, the plume of cloud trailing from the top of Mount Assiniboine reminded him of the teepees of Assiniboine Indians. As the first rays of the sun hit the peak, it’s easy to see the resemblance and source of his inspiration.
Taking our time to break camp and pack our gear, we set out on the trail again towards Lake Magog. Clouds roll in and by the time we reach and cross Og Meadows, it is overcast and threatening to rain. Of all the days on the trail, this is the least favourable weather day, and it’s not bad at all. During the trip we were very fortunate as every other day was simply picture perfect.
We soon reach our destination of the day, the historic Assiniboine Lodge at Lake Magog nestled at the base of the mountain. Built in 1928 and owned by BC Parks, this is North America’s first backcountry ski lodge, located 26 kilometers from the nearest road – so the only way to get here is by foot or helicopter. Accommodations here are beyond the budget of most hikers, so many opt to set up camp at nearby Lake Magog campsite. Every day the lodge is open to non-guests for an hour, where hikers and campers can enjoy afternoon tea in the historic dining room. Cake and beer in the backcountry – a true luxury!
We were fortunate to book two nights at one of the five Naiset Huts located further down the trail. These are rustic dorm-style log cabins, built by the Alpine Society of Canada for overnight park visitors and managed by the Assiniboine Lodge, are extremely popular and sell out every summer. The six bunk beds in the Jonesy Hut suited us perfectly! Adjacent to our cabin, the Wonder Lodge Cooking Shelter provides guests a communal kitchen and socializing area, a welcome change after a few days on the trail.