Monday, July 31, 2017

Wenkchemna Pass July 31, 2017

There was a special reason I wanted to make something of today.  In honour of 2017 being Canada's 150th Birthday and also my Firm's 150th Birthday, my employer is giving each employee a birthday gift, a paid day off work.  Since I was already off work on Friday which was my birthday, I took today as my gift.  I knew I would hike today and honestly thought heading to Moraine Lake Parking Lot early on a Monday would be OK with the summit of Tower of Babel as the destination.  Well, what was I thinking!  My Mother would say "You need your head examined!"  We departed Calgary at 6:00am, arrived at the Moraine Lake Parking Lot to see it full and cars already parked a way the heck down the road.  Out of the corner of my eye I spied the gully route to the top of the Tower and then the hoards of people everywhere.  Literally my stomach turned.   I had visions of flip-flopper hikers trying to uncontrollably get up the gully.  I had my helmet but no body armour.  In the mean time we did two loops around the lot and finally got a parking spot.  I expressed how I was feeling and we quickly came to a consensus that Wenkchemna Pass would be today's destination instead of Babel.  

With our stars totally out of line we began our hike waffled by smoke.  
We made our way up the switchbacks in the forest, reached the turn-off and took it, then chatted and hiked along the long straight stretch to the opening and where we could see the Pass in the middle far off.  It looked grey and dismal but in a weird way I could see beauty.
I was thinking this is going to be one of those days where you show appreciation for what is right under your eyes.  That's where I found crisp and clear and color.  I did notice the golden hues appeared as if it was the golden hour.
We reached Wenkchemna Pass.  
It was warm and windless.  
We secured our summit shots.
and played of course
I still have that fever!
We found a rock shelter with seats inside so that's where we settled to dine.  While in there a wind picked up and it began to clean somewhat.  As we began our descent, the views off were beginning to pick up and were looking pretty.  Ah, our stars were beginning to line up.
I had never been to the tarn and meadow below the Pass and always wanted to venture there.  Today was the ideal time to do so.  It got quite hot down here and the wind subsided.  Short Stop said this reminded her of Horseshoe Lake.  
another tarn lined by some of the Ten Peaks
a golden green
rocky creek & wild flowers & peaks
at the tarn with Wenkchemna Pass in the middle above
We got lost in our day in this meadow.  It was truly beautiful and captivating.  We were the only ones here, it was peaceful.  We were far from the maddening crowd.   It was when we began to find our way back to the trail that we realized how far we wandered.  We hiked back to the opening that overlooks Eiffel Lake and stopped for a snack break and a rest.
on the trail above Eiffel Lake and opposite the Ten Peaks
Valley of Ten Peaks
Short Stop is just about ready to turn the corner ahead.  
We were both so thankful the smoke cleared out.
When we had views of Moraine Lake, we knew there was not much further to go.  It was beauty overload by now yet I still had capacity to take more in.  Almost nine hours prior none of this was visible.  I have been out this way a few times and this time takes top prize for prettiness.
back at Moraine Lake with Tower of Babel to the left
After nine hours of hiking we arrived back at the vehicle with car after car after car wanting our spot. We were in no rush as we geared down, washed up and fueled up.  About thirty minutes later we were on our way.  This morning when we arrived here and I saw all the humanity and smoke, I had very low expectations for our day.   I am not sure if I have had such low expectations at the start of any hike in the past.  When we set off I just thought to myself that it will be what it will be.  LOOK AT WHAT IT WAS!  WOW!  It was a birthday gift that was hard to open but was worth the work to unwrap!   Thank you for today!

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