Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Sentinel Pass Larch Valley September 25, 2018

In this day and age the only realistic & sensible way to hike any route leading from Moraine Lake is to arrive at the trail head via the Parks provided free yellow school bus shuttle service from the Lake Louise Overflow Campground & Parking Lot.  Today that method to madness worked like a charm for us and we got to enjoy everything that is charming around Moraine Lake, Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass.  We came with big hearts today because we hoped there would be loads to love!  
I left home at 5:30am, we left carpool at 6:05am, arrived at the Overflow Parking Lot at 7:40am, we boarded the yellow school bus at 7:55am, we departed at 8:00am, arrived at the Moraine Lake Parking Lot at 8:20am or so and began hiking at 8:32am.  First things first and that was to invest a few minutes capturing the reflection that some of the Ten Peaks were showing off in Moraine Lake. 
The reason for choosing to hike through Larch Valley at this exact time of year is to witness the larch trees presenting themselves at their absolute best. Today they were pure perfection!  The weather was perfection too!       
We arrived at Larch Valley and we were in awe of the spectacle.  
I was already thinking "What more could we ask for?"  
Taking time to breathe!
Our progress along the trail was very slow, very very slow.  The opportunities for amazing photographs were boundless.  What a photographer's dream!  Feeling the warmth from the sun made it even easier to just stop and just stand and just stare.  I was loving everything so far and we still had lots of ground to cover.
 golden larch trees become one with snow capped peaks
The couple of inches of snow covering the ground magnified the beauty of the trees.  It made the tarn stand out and the reflections in it captivating.  We spent quite some time in this valley before carrying on.  We chatted with two gentlemen who were gearing up to make their way up Mount Temple.  It was 11:00am at this point in time and I just hoped in my heart they would be OK.
We eyed our next objective which is Sentinel Pass in the middle, we boosted our energy and then went on our way.  The majority of the switchbacks were snow-covered, icy in spots, easy going but only for those of us with microspikes on.  Others were on all fours, on their butts, voicing expletives.
We arrived at Sentinel Pass.  We found an area all to our selves were we could comfortably lay out our gear, move around, capture all of our photos and then settle down to dine.  This is the view down to Paradise Valley.  
This is the view down to Larch Valley, Minnestimma Lake and across to the Valley of Ten Peaks.  
I have numerous photos from up here to share.  
This is the first of me where I am standing guard over the Sentinel.  
Paradise Valley is behind and below me.  
 happy to be here and feeling so much love for this place today
 perched out as far as my comfort level would let me go
 view of Pinnacle Mountain from Sentinel Pass
We spent more time capturing photos at Sentinel Pass than we did dining time.  We opted for only half our lunch and to savour the other half at another beautiful location.  It was all about sharing the love around.  On the way down I made sure to stay clear of those who were all over the place out of control with no foot traction.
Back down at the meadow we spied the lower lake and agreed that on the shore of it would be an ideal place to shed some more of our love. It took some time to get there, once again, our pace was very slow, very very slow.  
We made it!  There were a couple of big boulders clear of snow, we settled down on them and dined again.  It was tea time too! From here we could see the hikers going up and down the switchbacks to Sentinel Pass.  Also we could see now there were many more people at The Pass.
 just doing what we do
 then I needed to do it all by myself
We meandered through the meadow and through the larch trees.  
I was still full of love so dispersed a touch more amongst the larches.  
They are so soft to the touch.
The afternoon was going on and we still wanted to  visit the first valley again and also around Moraine Lake.  We opted to begin our descent back through the forest.  The weather was still beautiful and the scenery seemed ever more spectacular.  The wonderful afternoon lighting was a bonus.
 into the forest we go
We worked out way back down to Moraine Lake and carried on along the trail that goes to the far end of it.  It was nice to be by the Lake and have it be the color it looks from high above.  You can see the Tower of Babel in the center.
What are the words to that song by Air Supply, I think they go like this "I'm all out of love...", well I wasn't and I proved it!  I was so high and so happy at this point that everything looked lovable to me. I came with a big heart and loved everything from beginning to end.
Today was an incredible experience.  When you go to the mountain playground you go with hopes of receiving the best of everything yet willing to accept whatever you are handed and finding a way to make the most of it.  There was no resorting to willing to accept today, there was no having to make the most of something.  

We were presented with the best of everything today! 
We embraced it with wide open hearts and love!
Thank you for this gift!


  1. Spectacular, magnificent, sensational, wondrous ................

    1. ....and of course Helen, I thought of you! Especially when we stood out on the rocks in the tarn!


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