Saturday, June 13, 2009

5 Trails! 1 Hike!

It seems we traipsed all over creation today!

Of all creation we saw today, this bird's eye view, I mean a Beehive's eye view of Lake Louise was what took my breath away! In 5 seconds short of 9 hours and .5 kilometers short of 20km, we covered 5 trails each with it's own unique and stunning scenery.

Finally we were greeted with a day where I could start out in one single layer of shorts and a short sleeve shirt. That was a sign we were in for a large day.

Lake Agnes Trail was the first trail that quickly and steeply led us away from our starting point of Lake Louise. Lake Agnes was not yet totally thawed which presented an unusual appearance. The Western Anemone were in full bloom and really brightened up some darker areas along the trail. The Lake Agnes Teahouse which was named after the second wife of the first Prime Minister of Canada Sir John A. MacDonald, was a busy yet still beautiful place to stop for lunch. A medical emergency was taking place with a member of another group while we were there. They needed to clear the area for the helicopter to land so we carried on with our hike. A little while later after following the trail along the lake as you can see in the bottom right photo, we hiked around to the other side and upon our ascent, the helicopter passed by on route to assist at the emergency. Our ascent on the other side of Lake Agnes was steep and snow covered in spots. We could see the reminisce of very old avalanche run outs. We took it slow, gradually working our way up the hair pin turns. We felt safe and prepared with hiking boots on for grip and poles for support and were able to by pass others who were obviously not aware of the risks with this type of terrain.

This portion of the hike was along a trail that involved beehives but thankfully not the kind that bees live in. We saw the Big Beehive with Mirror Lake at its' base and eventually we reached the summit of it where we could see Lake Louise being true blue.

The third section along the Highline Trail was filled with views of snow covered mountain peaks, and it was here where rumblings in the distance started and could be heard every 30 minutes or so. As we carried on to more open areas we got to hear the thunder of snow breaking up and then to actually see it rumbling down the mountain side. This happened so quickly and I could not match the quickness to get a photo.
The Plain of Six Glaciers Trail turned out having views so totally different then the three previous trails. I did this route many years ago and only a minor percentage of it was vaguely familiar. We walked along a narrow ledge which fell away to one side. For the faint of heart, steel cables were bolted to the mountain side to hold on to. I'm hard core, I sailed along this stretch! We passed by The Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse along the way, then once we reached the far end had a magnificant view of Lake Louise and the Chateau off in the distance. Yet, right in front of us was the Death Trap and Victoria Glacier. Between the two peaks in the top right photo, we could see the roof of the Abbot Pass Hut.
With many hours and kilometers behind us, it was time for the trek along the final and fifth trail, The Lakeshore Trail, which would take us back to our starting point. The climbing was over, this portion was flat and oh so scenic as you can see below.
These last few kilometers of slowly strolling were passed by with lots of chit chat, lots of laughs, lots of tourists wanting to chit chat and even video us talking about our day's trek. Many cliff climbers were doing what they do so gingerly and nimbly.

How fortunate I was to see all I saw today! Nearing the end, it was hard to truly appreciate all that was surrounding us but I still tried to savour every moment. I never like days like this to end but when the day closes is just means that sooner than I know it, another one will be opening!


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