Saturday, September 20, 2014

the time is NOW

It has arrived!  The wait is no longer!  They are here!  That very short window of opportunity to view the spectacular larch presentation is open right now.  I was witness to it today with my own two eyes and here's the proof.  You wait, you plan, you go, you hope.  We did all that and our timing was spot on for a fabulous adventure to Gibbon Pass.  This destination is tooted as a larch viewing area without crowds.  Is that an oxymoron or what?  Well, we saw thousands and thousands of gorgeous golden larches with only 27 other hikers dispersed here and there along the way the whole day.   The elevation profile may have something to do with that, which you can check out at the bottom of my story.  The work is so worth the reward!

view from the Vista Lake Viewpoint parking lot & trail head
this hike starts with a downhill and before you know it, you arrive at Vista Lake
the colors are already starting
as are the clothing layers coming off
We rounded Vista Lake, then began the long climb up to Arnica Lake.  More layers came off along the ascent.  The lighting on Arnica was pretty.  I was wishing there were a few wispy clouds in the sky.  It was challenging at times to capture perfect shots, there was so much going on with the colorful trees and the hues in the lakes and the bright sky.  We had a short snack break here and enjoyed the beauty of Arnica Lake.
the larch trees were splendid through Arnica Pass
Not only was this a day full of larches, it was a day at the lakes too.  
Upper Twin Lake
We bypassed Lower Twin Lake, the area was a mud fest, a breeze rippled the water and the sun was blinding.  We instead aimed directly for our main destination of the day.  The trail from Lower Twin Lake heading towards Gibbon Pass had gradual elevation gain. It was green and on the dark side for awhile until almost just like that, around a corner, the view took my breath away.
We meandered our way along the trail, through the larch trees, onto the meadow and landed at the summit cairn at 2300 meters.  Me & Short Stop giving the thumbs up as our rating for the day so far.  
Gibbon Pass Summit Cairn
We carried on past the summit and aimed for the wide open meadow area.  It was in this area that I met Tanya.  She is the lady behind "Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies".  While this is a family oriented blog, it contains a wealth of information even for me.  It was nice to meet you Tanya, I knew we would cross paths one day.  

The colors in the Gibbon Pass meadows were amazing.  
It was splattered with tiny tarns which added to the beauty.  
A big boulder close by was our dining spot.  
a ridge off Gibbon Pass
me in the meadow
view of Mount Assiniboine & larches from the meadow
After spending a good amount of time (but not enough, it's never enough), we began the trek back.  
This area has its own boulder field that the trail passes through.   
Once again we bypassed Lower Twin Lake, had another short visit at Upper Twin Lake then gained the elevation back up to Arnica Lake where we devoted more time.  The lighting was still challenging  yet the view was gorgeous  The air was so still it afforded a crystle clear reflection.  We added a layer of warmth, enjoyed baked goods, admired the view then got down to business to quickly complete the last five kilometers.   
The waiting, the planning, the hoping, the going plus the elevation profile & distance were all worth it.  This was my first time to Gibbon Pass and I can tell you, it won't be my last.  For larch season, this is a place that made me feel like I was "on top of the world"! 


  1. Fabulous to meet you! And good on you for always getting your stories written so fast! I have a lot of photos to download and edit so I don't see my story coming for a few days at least. Great photos in your story. I hope mine turn out as well! Some day we'll have to go hiking together.

  2. What spectacular weather you are enjoying. Makes for great photography!


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