Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Lake O'Hara July 23, 2019 (Lake Louise Camping July 22-24, 2019)

I have been fortunate to be able to hike in the Lake O'Hara area numerous times.  It is a World UNESCO Heritage Site and there is a quota set on how many people are permitted in the area in a day.   When the website to book a seat on the bus went live April 23rd at 8:00am, I very quickly went for one spot and I got it, for July 23rd. Three weeks ago a campsite for the two nights I needed at the Lake Louise Campground opened up and I grabbed them quickly.  The campground had been booked solid for the time frame I needed and nothing was becoming available.  Then one morning at 3:00am I woke and checked on my iPad just out of curiosity and there it was one spot for the two nights I needed was available.   Staying at the campground would save me from a long drive before and after my time at Lake O'Hara.  Lake O'Hara parking lot is just a 10 minute drive west from the Lake Louise Campground.

For this visit to Lake O'Hara I made a plan and I stuck to it.  There is so much to see here and I always want to see lots so I would rush a bit and not invest the time deserved to truly "remember to breathe".  Today's plan was to hike the Opabin Circuit, it's a shorter distance with not as much gain.  It is a route I have completed portions of at different times but had never covered the full circuit.  

For the first time ever I began hiking along the west side of Lake O'Hara having this morning view.
The West Opabin trail veered off into the forest and began to climb somewhat steeply taking me to high points quite quickly.  Every few minutes I looked backed and then this time when I turned around, there was Mary Lake.  I was already feeling thankful for how this day was transpiring.
The trail taking me even higher!
There is a detour off the main trail called the Opabin Prospect.  I was there once years ago and I remembered there to be quite a sight to see at some point.  The detour is well worth the few minutes it takes to get to the lookout point.  The forest opens up and you can see forever.  That's Lake O'Hara.  
on the slab rock at Opabin Prospect with Lake O'Hara below me
view of Mary Lake and Lake O'Hara from Opabin Prospect
There were a few others along the route with me and we hop-scotched past each other every now and then but none of the others ventured out to the Prospect.  Next came the Opabin Terrace Pools.  The scenery here was incredible.  The pools were emerald and green.  There you have Wiwaxy Peaks in the middle.
There were so many pools and lakes.
It was time to ascend again.  Now I could see back to the trail I hiked along and also the full size of Hungabee Lake.  The trail went through a boulder field but was easy to follow with stones placed to make a stone staircase.  I knew what was ahead and I was excited for that but I stayed focused on my plan and made sure to breathe in every sight at this second in time.
Up and over the boulder field and rocky ledge and there is Opabin Lake.
a reflection in the pool along the way to Opabin Lake
I hiked down and then along the shore of Opabin Lake to where this lone rock sat.  Then I sat on it for my destination shot.  It was hot here and felt good to be by water.  I soaked my bandana and tied it around my neck to help cool off.  This was my dining spot, by the water, surrounded by mountains.
Opabin Glacier on the right
I sat and I sat and I sat.  Enough time passed and then I was ready to carry on.  When I did, I took the East Opabin Route.  You can see the trail on the right side of the Moor Lakes, I am headed down there.
along the East Opabin Trail
Still there are many pools and lakes along the East Opabin Trail.
The trail eventually meets up with the Lake O'Hara Circuit Trail.  This time I headed east and followed the lake shore.  Here you can see up to Wiwaxy Gap in the middle.  I zoomed in and it was quite populated with people.  I have been up there a few times and another time I will go there again. But today, once again I remained focus and enjoyed my time when I got back down to Lake O'Hara itself.
one last photo of Lake O'Hara before heading up the trail to catch the bus
This is my route for today.

There is so much to love about this place called Lake O'Hara in Yoho National Park, British Columbia.  I am thankful to be gifted a beautiful weather day.  You never know what you might get when booking the day back in April.  You just pick a day and pray.  It was time now for that 10 minute drive back to my campsite and just hang out feeling the bliss!  

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