With autumn upon us, snow beginning to accumulate, the gate to close December 1st, there is not a picture-window-size frame of time but more of a peep-hole size to venture into Rae Lake. Today was the perfect opportunity to arrange a visit and it came with many nice surprises which confirmed this was the right day to be here. The trail leading up hill from the parking lot was barely covered in snow which was a welcoming sight right at the get-go.
Then to arrive at Elbow Lake within about 30 minutes and see it frozen but not covered in snow made me so happy. I wondered would we be fortunate enough to see the same at Rae Lake. Only time would tell! We circumnavigated the Lake where there was minimal snow and lack of wind, could this be a good sign.
Even in the wide open Elbow River Valley and Desolation Flat, the snow was just around or below ankle deep and dare I say, still no wind. How unusual is that for this area! Things happen in 3s: #1 little snow, #2 no wind, #3 golden larch trees! The larch trees put on their show for us. Desolation Flat does look desolate but yet, in a beautiful way.
Sporting my new bear paw mittens!
Looking through Desolation Flat to the far end.
We decided to go for Rae Lake the easier yet longer way. The larch trees were glorious the whole way there. We arrived at Rae Lake shortly after noon and how gorgeous the area was. The Lake was frozen but not snow covered. Given the ideal conditions, we took the opportunity to have an extended visit.
Creek & Larches!
My destination shot!
After dining, we checked out around Rae Lake. A couple of us built a stone walk way across the creek to get to the other side. One friend made the Lake sing by skipping stones across the ice. Such a pretty tune! When it eventually came time to leave, it was hard to. We were hesitant to, realizing how fortuante we were to be at Rae Lake and have no wind and for it to be on the warmer side. This was certainly a time and place to embrace!
Since we were making good time, on the return trip we took a detour down into Tombstone Valley.
From above we could partially see the devastation from the June flood.
We descended down to the valley and hiked to the bridge that was reported damaged. Even getting to it, was over rough terrain. The area on our side now has a brand new creek and no trail. We worked our way through that. The bridge was listing, it's not attached on the far side. There is a steep bank to descend and then ascend. We stayed clear of all that.
We ascended back to the junction then hit the main trail that would lead us back to Elbow Lake.
The wind picked up considerably.
We put our heads down and faught it....
...and arrived back at Elbow Lake.
This time circumnavigating the other side.
It felt good to be back at Elbow Lake, we knew we only had a kilometer of down hill left. We visited the campground and then stood by the Lake for one last look. I took a few minutes to be thankful for how today turned out. There were many little pieces that fortunatley all fit nicely together to turn this into a wonderful day in the mountain playground.