After today, we are 1/2 done with this wonderful trip. This past week has gone a bit differently than originally planned, mostly due to the weather. It’s always good to be flexible, and we are so lucky to have extra days to work around. It rained all morning today including pea size hail. We noticed snow up in the Lake Louise ski area as we drove to the village today. It also rained all night Wednesday with marble size hail.
Monday we returned to the Lake O’Hara region to do our favorite hike to our favorite place, Lake McArthur. The day was overall disappointing due to a fire in Kootenay National Park which caused a smokey haze in all of the mountain valleys here. We have been to Lake McArthur before and know how spectacularly blue and beautiful the setting is. Thus we were disappointed in the views and our photos that day.
Yesterday, Friday, we had another day reserved in the Lake O’Hara region. It was a glorious sunny, brilliant blue sky, and cool mountain day. We had to go back to Lake McArthur to experience it in all it’s glory. The setting is in an alpine valley surrounded by mountain peaks, and it feels like heaven! For the most part, any other hikers there are stunned by the beauty and respect the quiet and serenity of the scene. We wish we could capture the awesomeness of the setting and the brilliant blue of the lake to show you in the photos. We have included a few from both Monday and Friday.
The trail from Lake O’Hara to Lake McArthur is so interesting and varied. There is a short part through open forest and then alternating scramble over the “Devil’s Rockpile and the Big Larch trees. (Some of you remember we planted larch trees at our St Louis Park and Minnetonka homes after a visit here. They are known as Tamaracks in MN). The trail opens up to small Shaeffer Lake and a meadow, then up over another a big boulder/larch area, a rock scramble, narrow passages through cliffs, one long last climb up and over a crest to the first views of the beautiful lake. What fun!
Midweek we made a quick trip to Banff for supplies and a bit of shopping. We love the townsite of Banff, even though it has become busier and more commercial, it is still neat, quaint, in a majestic setting, and has the most gorgeous large flowers everywhere. We’ll stay there for a few days later, but have to share a couple photos now.
Tomorrow we plan to hike to Eiffel Lake from Moraine Lake. The bear restrictions require us to be in a tight pack of 4, so we hope we can find another two people who hike at our pace (slow but relentless) and that the rain goes away.