Dry Island Buffalo Jump Hike

It’s been a while since I last made a blog post. I’ve had a tremendous amount of change happen in my life with dealing with a breakup, moving, and a refocus on travel. Since my Iceland posts I’ve travelled to Alaska, been on 4 other hikes, and I’m heading to Europe in a week. As you can see I’m quite in arrears with my posts.

In late September I visited Dry Island Buffalo Jump, which is a little known gem located near Trochu, Alberta. Before we dive into that we should talk about the beautiful drive along Highway 590. There’s a winding section near the Tolman Badland Heritage Rangeland, which I highly recommend driving through. The views are breathtaking!

When you first arrive at Dry Island Buffalo Jump there is a parking lot off to your right, which offers pristine views of the valley area below. If you only drive a 2wd vehicle I highly recommend that you ditch your vehicle here as the steep incline into the park will make it difficult for your vehicle to gain traction getting out.

I parked my car at the top and descended into the valley and explored the various pathways. Every 100 feet there was another unique perspective of the park. I highly recommend visting this park, as you will not be disspointed!

Headwall Lakes Hike

Last weekend I hiked two hikes; Headwall Lakes and Iceberg Lake, which were my 20th and 21st hikes of the year if you count all the walk/hikes I completed with Julie in Wells Gray Provincial Park. The first hike I completed was Headwall Lakes. Headwall Lakes is a moderate difficulty 16km hike that has 652 metres of elevation gain.

The hike starts in the same parking lot as Chester Lake, a hike which I completed a few weeks ago and you can view here. The start of the hike is an easy 3km saunter along an access road, before venturing into the forest. The forest trail was quite tight in some areas so I decided to put on my pantlegs on my Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible Pants (which I highly recommend by the way).

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About 5.5 km into the hike I was about to emerge onto the rock scree when I heard the roar of a bear!!! It made all the hair on the back of neck stand up, and I cautiously turned back to head towards the parking lot, while announcing my presence loudly.

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About 10 minutes on my journey back I ran into a group of 7 male geologists and told them about my experience. They said that with a group of 8 the bear wouldn’t be scared of us and asked if I wanted to tag along. In the group there were 2 Rob’s, 3 Ian’s, and a cool old Romanian guy who I chatted with for a bit. I learned a bit about the different rock formations and had a great time with them. After about an hour I split apart from the group and blazed my own trail towards the first lake.

The wind started to pickup towards the first lake, and at times I was actually starting to get a bit cold, so I decided to put on my hoodie. Emerging at the first lake I was completely awe-struck at the sheer beauty of the scenery around me!

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At the first lake I took a break for some water and a sandwich before venturing up towards the second lake. The climb up towards the second lake was beside a beautiful waterfall with alpine flowers growing up alongside the waterfall edge.

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Gazing backwards towards the first lake I was presented with such an astounding view that I couldn’t help myself from continuously looking back at.

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Finally, I arrived at the second lake, which was quite the different perspective. It wasn’t as beautiful as the first lake, but was still pretty in its own accord.

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After taking a rest at the top I ventured back towards the car, without any more bear drama! The total time on the hike was 4.25 hours, but if it were not for my encounter with the bear it probably would have been closer to 3.5 hours.

Stay tuned for the next installment in my hiking series; Iceberg Lake!

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August 23rd 2016 – New Zealand Day 3

Today I woke up at about 7:00am. I had a pretty lazy day today but I had some house keeping stuff I had to do. I needed to dump my waste water, and pickup fresh water. I drove to Kaikohe and used a dump station there. It was fairly easy, considering I had never done this before.

I then started to drive towards Omapere where there was a beautiful lookout overlooking the sand dunes that I had read about. I got distracted along the way and saw a sign to Wairere Boulders, which I followed. I’m glad I did! It led me down a gravel road for about 12km until I reached a private property with signs on it. A Swiss gentleman named Felix drove down from his house on his quad and reached the visitor hut that I had parked at. He greeted me and asked me where I was from, and then he told me a bit about the property, the history around the property, and a bit about himself. There was a $15 entry fee, which I didn’t mind paying. This place was rated one of the best 50 locations in New Zealand to visit, and the photo’s he had on display made it seem worth it.

The boulders are reminiscent of volcanic activities from thousands of years ago, and they are very unique because they are very hard basalt rock, but they are eroded. The erosion is due to debris from Kauri leaves, cones and branches, which created a very acidic environment. Felix is a geologist and a civil engineer and he said this is extremely rare.


The amount of effort he put into building bridges and steps on his property is incredible. He said that it took him nearly 5 years with the help of his wife. You can tell that he over engineered everything because there was absolutely no flex in anything, and the wood was fairly beefy. He even had some drawings left up to show the detail of his work. Very Swiss indeed!


I then continued on my way to Omapere, where I was absolutely awe struck by the beautiful views that were to be had!


After Omapere I continued on my way to the Waipoua Forest, where I stopped to see the worlds oldest and tallest Kauri tree, which stands nearly 60 metres tall, and is around 2000 years old!


My friend Anne, who I met in Australia on my tour contacted me via Facebook and told me that she was in Auckland tomorrow and that we should meet up. I was headed back that way anyways so I said I would drive as close as I could and we could meet up tomorrow. It was time to find a camping spot as it was starting to get a bit dark. I headed to a beautiful campsite overlooking Port Albert around 70km away from Auckland. There was only one other camper in the parking lot besides me; another Britz rental.

I had a shower, made some dinner, and did some photo editing, and wrote my blog, before heading to bed.

Tomorrow I’ll be off to Auckland to meet up with Anne for breakfast!

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