When I think of the word "tombstone", I think of Arizona, I think of graveyards and of gun fights! Today we hiked to Tombstone Lakes off Highway 40 along the Highwood Pass and the only thing we saw that was remotely related were hunters on horses carrying guns (good thing this was in the parking lot at the end of the hike). Our hike took us out of the Park onto land where hunting is allowed. The hike to Tombstone Lakes started at the Elbow Lake Day Use Area. I was here just a few weeks ago when I was hiking to Piper Pass. After 1.3 km of hiking straight up right away from the parking lot we arrived at the always beautiful Elbow Lake. It was very windy which kept the clouds away, yet didn't allow for any reflecting here today. The wind was so strong at times that I thought I might have to carabiner on to someone bigger than me to keep me grounded.
We stopped just long enough to get a calendar shot then quickly carried on around the lake and ended up in a meadow, surrounded by mountains. We followed this trail for a few kilometers passing by where I turned off to go to Piper Pass a few weeks back. You can see those Cats Ears off in the distant center.
We carried on down the trail and eventually reached the Tombstone Campground where there were a few tents set up. We found out later this was a class from Mount Royal College, backpacking for two nights and learning all about "leave no trace" and survival skills.
We decided to go to the Upper Tombstone Lake first because it was suppose to be prettier and we could have lunch there. The Lake protected us and sheltered us from the wind. Of all the times when you don't want wind, that is it. After lunch we hiked the 1.1km around the Lake getting to see it from all angles. The golden larch trees against the emerald water was a sight to see.
We took the back way from the Upper Lake to the Lower Tombstone Lake. We passed through a small boulder field and by some gorgeous larch trees, all the while having views of snow covered mountains around us. This is a Wildlands Provincial Park which means random camping is allowed. Maybe! Someday! I would love to! Anyone care to join me?
Looking back over the Lower Lake, we had the same backdrop as the Upper Lake but just further away. Without the wind, we now have reflections! They say the Upper is prettier then the Lower but I am not so sure about that! Then again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
After completing the hike around the Lower Lake, we worked our way back out to the main trail and found our way to the campground again. I was told there was a Warden's Station close by so off I went to find it. This is it! No one is home this time of year! What a waste! I would love to spend a weekend in this beautiful log cabin.
I took one last look back to admire the beauty before it was heads down, feet forward, battling the wind for the hike back.
I thought when I started on this hike that it would be an easier day! Not quite! We hiked for just over 21km and that includes the hike around the Upper Tombstone Lake and the short little side trip to see the log cabin. Not everyone did the lake loop and the cabin curiosity, so this distance would just be for DGo&Go&Go and I. We did it all! The wind made it challenging at times, throwing me off balance. It took extra energy to push into it and that wore me out. That is still all good though! As a friend once said "I am pleasantly depleted"! That is exactly how I felt!