Friday, August 17, 2018

Chester Lake & Elephant Rocks August 17, 2018

We planned this visit last year when my friend was here and then put the finishing touches on her visit many months back.  My friend's wish was to escape the August high humidity and high temperatures of her southern state in favour of enjoying the fresh clean Alberta air, low humidity levels plus witness grand glacier vistas and mountain tops, maybe even summit a peak or two.  Those were her hopes & dreams.  Well, I have been trained over and over again on how to save the day and have become a pro at it, so it was necessary to put that training to work.

With an unfavourable air quality index due to smoke influx from the wildfires in British Columbia, we opted for a hike that involved less work than originally planned.  Chester Lake & The Elephant Rocks would afford us meadows, a lake, and boulders to play on.  I had little expectations for grand scenery. 
The Chester Lake meadows are known to be frequented by grizzly bears and is often closed for that reason.  The area just reopened a couple of weeks ago so it was open for business.  We were first to arrive in the parking lot.  That meant we needed to be extra noisy.

My friend is happy to begin our adventure!
It has been double-digit years since I have been up here in any season other than snowshoeing season.  It was nice to see the new signs.   The summer trail is on the opposite side of the meadows from where I snowshoe.
When we broke out into the open it was smoky, but not as bad as it was when we departed Calgary a few hours back.  We knew we would be focusing on anything and everything up close and not far off.
the trail to Chester Lake
We arrived at Chester Lake and I was disappointed because I know how pretty the Lake can be.  We spent a few minutes trying to admire it and then began the short ascent up to the Elephant Rocks.  We could see a few clouds which meant the smoke was clearing at least a tiny bit.
My friend was once a climber so disappeared quickly when she spotted the Elephant Rocks.  
I then saw her up on top and joined her.  
We settled down on a big flat boulder to have our lunch.  
As we dined, the sky continued to clear.  There was a shade of blue up there and these days, I will take that.  After refueling, we worked our way down off the boulders and meandered in the meadow finding the right place to drop our backs and play.
attacking the Elephant Rocks

After boulder play, I took out the air lounger and filled it with air.  It took a little work.
We realized the lounger had a slow leak.  I was not surprised, the past play sessions have been a little on the rough side.  We were able to be entertained for an enough amount of time.  
It was time to move on down back to Chester Lake.  
We took a last look at the bouldery scenery.
Chester Lake looked more inviting to visit now.  
We walked around to the far side to enjoy the views from there.
Chester Lake
enjoying being at Chester Lake and seeing the surrounding scenery
Leaving the lake behind, I spotted a snowshoe sign.  My friend's intention is to visit again but during snowshoe season.  I will hold on to this photo for comparison sake.  We will see if she can touch the red square come winter-time.
As we were heading through the meadow many people were beginning to just come in.  We stopped to chat to a foursome.  All of them were facing me while I faced them and the meadow.  I saw close, quick, fluffy, brown movement and declared a bear.  The bears were moving so fast, the yearling chasing Mom.   I realized with how fast they were moving, if they wanted to be near us they would have been in a matter of seconds, not just the Mom but the toddler too.  They seemed oblivious to us but I still felt it best to move on down the trail.
As we began to leave, they stopped and were watching something.  
I just wanted to get as far away as possible, that was the proper thing to do.  
I believe this was an exciting experience for my friend.  It was for me too but we were a little too close to watch in comfort for any period of time.  I would like to say this sighting was the icing on the cake for our day.  But, instead due to the smoky conditions, and scenery not all that vivid, I will say it was not quite a cake today but rather a cupcake.  There you go, the bear sighting was the icing on the cupcake!

1 comment:

  1. A great 'cupcake' day! I don't recall you seeing so many bears in a relative short period of time, as you have recently.


I'm always curious to know what your comment might be!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.