Thursday, July 19, 2018

Elbow Lake Backpack July 17-19 2018

I have been to Elbow Lake so many times on the way to and from places like Piper Pass, Rae Glacier,  Tombstone Lakes, Rae Lake, Tombstone Pass.   On the way back from these hikes when we arrived back at Elbow Lake late in the afternoon or very early evening, I tried to prolong leaving because I liked it here so much.   I always wondered what it would look like here at sunset and sunrise.  I have all the time in the world now so I put a plan in place to witness these occurrences.  

Accomplishing this would mean a short solo backpack trip for two nights.  From the Parking Lot to the Elbow Lake Backcountry Campground is only about 1.4 kms with around 150 meters of cumulative elevation gain.  The hike up almost feels like the angle of a slash  / .  I was a bit apprehensive carrying everything on my back by myself.  I got my pack on my back, I wobbled a bit, got my balance, put my head down, did not stop, did not look up until I got to the Lake.  

I wanted to do this so I could have time to do just this!

I picked a campsite and set up my home away from home for two nights.  I got the tent up and as I began to set up the guide above it, three teenage boys from the next campsite scurried over.  They had a little time to pass before vacating their site so took over getting the guide up.  They were from France, Mexico and Germany and were on a guided camping trip heading next to the Icefield Parkway.
It was early afternoon and very hot.  I sauntered around Elbow Lake and then sat by it for quite some time watching two guys fishing and paddle boarding.  Afterwards I joined them as they made a fire and cooked their meal before leaving for the day.  They were fortunate to have the day off work so made the best of it.
same spot but now into the later evening
I strolled around waiting for sunset but was not successful in witnessing that.  My eye lids got heavy and I needed to get into my home away from home for the night.  It was a hot evening so I left both outside doors open to let air pass through.

I was successful in seeing the sunrise the next morning.
After enjoying the sunrise, my coffee and then breakfast, I changed my attire and went for a stroll.  
I walked around the Elbow Lake shoreline....
....then followed the Big Elbow Trail towards Tombstone area.  I ventured off trail here and there, up onto rolling hills and into wide open meadows.  It was early and the light was beautiful.  I made loads of noise to let anything or anyone know I was in the area.
I went as far as the Tombstone Overlook and could see down towards the Tombstone Campground and yes it is closed and under construction.  On the way back I went into see the Edworthy Falls.  I knew they were there but when hiking out this way, we just passed on by.  

This was the first view of Edworthy Falls.
 I worked my way down to the bottom...
...then invested a little time here.
As I arrived back to my home away from home, I could hear thunder rumbling in the distance.  
Full darker clouds were developing and the wind picked up.  
I changed into warmer wear and kept my rain pants & jacket close by.  
It was time to get a fire going and just hang out.  Some neighbours joined in.
As dinner time approached it began to rain so I headed off to the cooking/dining area where there is loads of shelter.  I joined a son/father/grandfather trio for dinner and enjoyed their fire.  Others joined in and we had quite a gang, with great conversation. The rain stopped and the sky cleared but it remained cool.
After dinner then after fire time, my eye lids got heavy and I needed to get into my home away from home for the night.  It was a cool night so I made sure both outside doors were closed up.  Once again, I missed the sunset but I caught the sunrise the next morning.

some sights from the 3 days
After admiring the sunrise, then enjoying my coffee by the Lake, and savouring breakfast, I dismantled my home away from home.  I took time to make sure I got everything neatly and properly packed back into my pack.  I got my pack on my back, I wobbled a bit, got my balance then headed on down to the parking lot.  I made it!
This was a learning and growing experience for me.  I carried more weight than was necessary but still managed fine.  But, it was a short easy trip.  Rain or shine, with the right gear I could be comfortable at all times.  The backpacking people are very friendly and inclusive.  Recognizing that I was solo, they were so willing to lend a hand and extend invitations.   I will admit, I feel somewhat proud that I went through with this and came out the other end having pushed my comfort zone a little further out.  That's what I call success!


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