My intuition told me today was going to be one of those "on top of the world" days and I have learned to trust that sense and today proved why I should continue to trust it! Some phrases I would use to describe this adventure would be "larger than life", "epic" (length wise and scenery wise), "a multitude of WOWs". I didn't know which direction to look, at times I thought to myself where on earth am I and today was so fulfilling and rewarding it was one of the very, very few times I was content with leaving my playground in the mountains and going back home to the big city at the end of the hike.
Signs and trails lead the way to our destinations of Simpson Pass, Eohippus Lake, The Monarch Ramparts, Healy Pass and Healy Creek Trail and when all is said and done, we should have covered approximately 26 km. This 26 km does not include the 5.7 km bus ride from Sunshine Bourgeau Parking Lot up to Sunshine Village where our hike began.
Thoughts were that today would be grand with wild flowers but the grand vistas far out weighted the wild flower show. I was still able to capture some color though.
Once out of the trees and into the wild and wide open spaces, we could see another of our destinations off in the distance. The long ridge that spans from end to end is The Monarch Ramparts and measures roughly three kilometers long. I was looking forward to being on The Ramparts but we needed a break and time to relax first so found the perfect spot.
That perfect spot was amongst a riot of glacier lilies that carpeted the meadow beside Eohippus Lake which is at the base of The Monarch. You never know who you will run into in these spaces! I saw a group of trail runners heading our way. With affirmative answers to just two questions for them "Are you from Banff?" and "Are you Banff Trail Trash?", I got to meet Leslie whose blog I follow. We chatted a bit then they were on their way.
We finally made our way up on top of The Monarch Ramparts and had this view behind us of where we just were for lunch. It's hard to believe it is the middle of July and a portion of the lake is still frozen. I was glad it was, because it made for dramatic photos.
Further along The Ramparts, I found a great spot for my summit shot. We're not really on a mountain summit but by now I was feeling like I was "on top of the world" so that made a summit shot worthy!
Every where I looked there were lakes. Thinking back, I wish I kept track of how many.
I do know I would have needed all 10 fingers to keep track.
Once off The Ramparts, we landed on Healy Pass. At this point we were almost 20 kms into our hike and it was close enough to dinner time, so we made it our dinner time.
Once again we found a meadow that was a riot of glacier lilies and settled down for awhile!
The last leg for today was about a 7 km hike down Healy Pass Trail which followed beside Healy Creek. This portion went by quickly and quietly. I kept checking my 60CSX the closer we got to the end. The display was approaching 26 km but by the time I arrived back at the car, it didn't quite reach the 26 km so I did two laps of a few cars to bring it up to 26 km exactly!
Today was one of those days that I know I will talk about for a long time to come and will always remember. I believe this is the longest distance I have ever hiked. My only issue after 26 kms was that nearing the end, the bottoms of my feet felt tender but that went away as soon as I got the boots off and the sandals on.
Being in the midst of Riots and Ramparts was a great way to spend a Saturday!