Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Gem of a Day

As I drove west early this morning and the sun began to rise and shine, I knew we would be in for a gem of a day!  What else should you expect when you go to a place with a name like Emerald Lake?  This day turned out being extra-ordinary!  I checked out the meaning of "emerald" and was surprised to learn what it represents!  As you follow along with me on our day here, you will notice I emphasized the meaning of "emerald" with bold italics.

I was prepared for cold, snow falling, a frozen lake, carrying a backpack and wearing snowshoes.  The opposite, though, held true.  We began the hike at the head of the lake and this was one of the first views we had.  The bridge brings you to Emerald Lake Lodge in front of Mount Burgess.  
We started the loop in a clock-wise direction so we would come to the avalanche area soon and access if it was safe to carry on to do the full loop.  We determined it to be safe so followed along the edge of the lake where we had unobstructed views.
The far end of the lake looked like a winter wonderland!  The snow was brand new, it sparkled, and was untouched.
Once we crossed the bridge to the other side of the lake, we wound through a snow covered forest where the lake and the mountains peeked through every now and then.  There was enough snow that we needed our winter hiking boots.  It was a good test for my Valdez, and I now know they are keepers.
When we reached the lodge, we stopped in to check it out.  It just opened again for the season on November 17th, and is decorated in Christmas splendor.   It looked warm and inviting!   Maybe one day I'll stay!
Not only were the large views spectacular but the small things stood out too!
We completed the loop around Emerald Lake in two and a half hours.  Its posted as being 5.2 km.  This hike was more about photography, appreciating scenery and making the most of the unexpected gem of a day, than it was about distance or elevation.

Before leaving, I took a few minutes to absorb this beautiful and simple product of nature!  
Hiking around Emerald Lake wasn't the only gorgeous scenery we saw today!
One last place to check out scenery was from the Fairview Lookout which is a short trail that leads up and behind Lake Louise.  We didn't have a whole lot of time before the sun set, so made it a quick trip up.  From the Lookout,  I took one last look to the mountains and the sky as the sun begins to set.  Our timing was perfect and the conditions were perfect for the alpenglow show.   We stayed a few minutes to watch the presentation.
As the day ends and we begin the journey home,  I appreciate what a gem we had at Emerald Lake and our other stops along the way.  I could not have asked for anything to make our day more perfect.  Just then, the full moon peeks between the trees.  The power of the emerald is highest at the full moon!
The emerald has long been the symbol of hope.  My hope is that all of you get to have experiences in your life that lift you to a place that makes you feel like you are "on top of the world"!  The word emerald lived up to its meaning today!


  1. Gorgeous photos...absolutely beautiful! How lucky you are to experience these vistas on a regular basis.

  2. Gorgeous photos, I really enjoyed them! I am jealous ..

  3. Amazing photos as always, especially the second one - I would hang that on my wall! I'm stuck at home with a migraine today instead of hiking, so thanks for the visual escape from the couch :D

  4. Fantastic photographs, some of the best ever and that is saying a lot! The fresh snow is so brilliant and clean!

  5. I cannot stop to watch the photos!
    The first one and the moon among the trees are 2 typical Christmas cards.

  6. What a wonderful day! Pristine moments and pictures too...
    Great image of Mt. Burgess, which is a challenging scramble as well.


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