At 10:30 we hit the trail with the masses, only to stop about 15 minutes in to strip of a layer or two! I was already in shorts so just needed to ditch the fleece. The first couple of kilometers was a continuous climb, so slow and steady was the pace through the winding forest. Not much to see along this part of the trail other than backs and backpacks. I was already thankful for my new trekking poles! As we worked our way up, I could feel it warming up and checked my thermometer to see it reading +20 degrees already! Thank goodness it only got three degrees warmer than that as the day went on.
An hour later, the tall green trees opened up to a view of Larch Valley with the mountain view surrounding it. We stopped on a bunch of rocks by a bridge to dine and watch others trek past and watch others trek past and watch others trek past...you get my drift! Photographers had tripods set up working on that perfect shot. We even saw a couple of gals with their eisels set up and painting away!
It took about 30 minutes to wind our way up the "Z" making sure to always look back every now and then to feast on what lay behind and below! I could not believe the view once we made it to the top! Inside I felt emotional! It was another accomplishment for me, greater than what I have experienced in the past. Behind me was a view below of Paradise Valley. It truly looked like paradise! I was nervous walking out to this point but once again, the greater the risk, the greater the reward! We took turns standing on this rock to have our winner's shot taken!
I really didn't believe anything more today could be as beautiful until we took a detour on the hike back to follow a trail that would give us a bird's eye view of Moraine Lake with some of a few of the Ten Peaks in the background. The dots on the Lake turned out to be people in canoes. The water was the most amazing color of turquoise! What we thought was a clap of thunder or a plane turned out being an avalanche on the other side of the Lake, a very safe distance away!
After eight hours of hiking, I was pretty beat, my feet were tired and lazy, I had run out of water and was so glad for it to come to an end. There was agreement from all on this! There was so much to see today, nearing the end it was hard to take in any more sights or to even appreciate them as they should be appreciated! I took tonnes of photos and will look back often, it's a day I will relive over and over!
Today was topped off with a beer and burger in Banff! A beer never tasted so good! I devoured my burger and fries! I enjoyed being with the 12 others today who were all such nice folks. We shared many laughs and stories and most of all we shared in a fantastic hike that had beauty galore!