As the first leg of our week-long hiking 'vacation' in British Columbia, Dan Millar, Kelly Wood and I backpacked into the Copperstain campground in Glacier National Park on 25 August 2002.  The campground is situated near the park's eastern border and is the gateway to a large expanse of subalpine meadows collectively known as Bald Mountain.  The price of admission is either a really expensive helicopter ride to the Purcell Lodge or, more in our price range, a free 16-kilometre trudge (with about 1200 metres height gain) up a rather monotonous trail.  <WARNING:  Rant Mode ON>  Actually, the Copperstain backcountry campground still cost us $18 per night ($6 per person) which gets you a wooden deck to pitch your tent on (hope your tent isn't too big and doesn't require pegs to support itself), bear poles to cache your food, some primitive benches to cook dinner on (no fires allowed), and a plastic throne pit toilet (hope the bugs aren't biting and it isn't raining).  Considering that it only costs $14 per night for us all to camp at the Illecillewaet Campground (near Rogers Pass) which has spacious gravel tent pads, bear-proof food lockers, picnic tables, cooking shelters, flush toilets, clean running water and free firewood, something is definitely out of whack with the National Park fee scheme.  The Copperstain campground is also very close to the park boundary beyond which anyone can simply pitch a tent and camp randomly for free!  My advice for those that want to visit Copperstain:  camp for free on the other side of the boundary sign but use the campground for its pit toilet and to cook dinner and store food.  </Rant Mode OFF>

Although much of the trail into Copperstain is in the trees with limited views, we were kept intrigued (at least for the first few kilometres) by the great cedar trees and the variety of interesting plants and fungi closer to the ground.  Just after the turn-off to go up Grizzly Creek, there is a public shelter which contains a bunk bed (consider sleeping here only under desperate circumstances), a couple of folding chairs (very handy for a rest stop), an assortment of cookware, tools and survival gear (including a portable shower), a register for hikers to sign, and, on one of the windows, a couple of photo stickers of the Jackson 5.  What more could one ask for in a vacation cottage?  About 4 kilometres before the campground, the views open up as the trail passes through a vast burnt section of forest.  There is a warden's cabin in this area, and although the cabin is generally locked up, the outhouse (a nice one even) on the hill in behind is open for anyone in need of relief.  As mentioned already, the Copperstain campground is situated near the park boundary which also happens to be the watershed between Copperstain Creek and Spillimacheen River.  On a small knoll at the boundary is a large sign containing some park regulations, a topographical map, and some trapped dead bugs.
Where's that bloody campground?
Kelly hikes through the burnt forest near the headwaters of Copperstain Creek.
The following day, 26 August 2002, we hiked up Bald Mountain for a good look at the peaks of the Sir Donald Range.  Although we could have wandered about the meadows for many hours, Dan and I wanted to scramble up Copperstain Mountain located just southeast of the campground.  We marched past the rather posh Purcell Lodge on our way back to the boundary sign, but we didn't stop to chat with anyone or buy any desserts.  While Kelly returned to the campground to enjoy a good book, Dan and I hiked to the summit of Copperstain Mountain (about 600 metres height gain from the campground) to enjoy a good look.
Easy hiking!
Copperstain Mountain dominates the view across the valley.
The Big Payoff
From L to R are Terminal Peak, Sir Donald Galcier, Mount Sir Donald, Uto Glacier, Uto Peak, Eagle Peak (almost hidden by Uto Peak), Avalanche Glacier and Avalanche Mountain.
The summit is farther away than it looks.
The ascent route for Copperstain Mountain follows its northwest ridge.
There's free camping on the other side of this sign!
Sonny stands on the 2606-metre summit of Copperstain Mountain.
Where's the Purcell Lodge in this picture?
The expansiveness of the Bald Mountain meadows are best appreciated from the summit of Copperstain Mountain.
On 27 August 2002, we simply packed up camp and headed back to the trailhead without much fanfare.  In retrospect, we were quite fortunate to have generally clear weather at Copperstain.  Without the outstanding views from the meadows of Bald Mountain and the summit of Copperstain Mountain, the long slog up Grizzly and Copperstain Creeks would not have been worth the effort.  I would be interested to see what the approach from the Spillimacheen River is like.  Furthermore, I would be interested to see what the approach via helicopter is like...
No Viagra needed here!
The Phallic Mushroom
Thank you.  Come again!
This Steller's Jay led me down the trail for the last few hundred metres before the parking lot.