Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Elk Lakes & Petain Falls August 6, 2019

Today's hike to the Elk Lakes and Petain Falls in Elk Lakes Provincial Park in British Columbia became a test to see what we were made off and how deep we could dig.  One November day a number of years ago Adventure Designer and I snowshoed in to Elk Lake Alpine Cabin for two nights.  When I saw how beautiful the Lower Elk Lake looked in winter conditions I then became curious as to what it looked like in summer.  I never did write that hike on my list of ones I would like to do but it remained on the back burner for maybe some day.  Today became that some day! Our plan was to hike to both the Lower and Upper Elk Lakes via Fox Lake, on the return pay a visit to the Elk Lake Cabin and then make a loop and boot it up the hydroline and back down the other side.  As soon as we saw the sign that included the distance to Petain Falls my friend put the idea out there to see those too.  So we added that on.  It was a large day, the largest distance I have ever hiked, it was a hot day hotter than we anticipated.  Here's my story about our day!
As is seen in my diamond lined framed photo above of the Upper Elk Lake, it was a diamond of a day and it all started around 8:15am when we left the Elk Pass Parking Lot.  It was quiet, there was no one, we beelined straight uphill up the trail announcing our presences the entire way.  It was easy going and we made good time along Fox Creek and to the picnic table at the intersection for Blueberry Hill.  This was our first short rest stop to snack and snap shots.  We already noticed the wildflowers were in abundance.
A few minutes along the Elk Pass Trail we veered off at the big metal pole and followed the official trail all the way to the kiosk marking the border between Alberta and British Columbia.  I have been here many times but for snowshoeing.  This is where my friend put the idea out there to go all the way to Petain Falls.
 at Fox Lake below Mount Fox
From this point on the surroundings were new to me and I thoroughly enjoyed that.  The trail was well defined with clear signs and there was no question on which way to go.  The meadows where covered in all kinds of wildflowers.
 We finally reached the Upper Elk Lake and it was spectacular. 
The trail followed right beside the Lake the entire time and we were thankful for that.  It was already hot and it was still morning time.  We were slow along this section taking every opportunity to admire the scenery and to check out the glaciers in the mountains ahead.
 at the far end of Upper Elk Lake
 a view from Upper Elk Lake
 It was a pretty trail from Upper Elk Lake heading towards Petain Falls.
 Another thing we were thankful for was to be in the trees for stretches at a time to get shade.
The flowers carpeted the forest deep in as far as we could see.
Back out into the open we could now clearly see Petain Falls although we began hearing them quite a while back.  We had this meadow to hike through, then up through another bit of forest, then up through a small boulder section.
 You then come out to a wide open vista of Petain Falls.
They were thunderous and we needed to speak loudly to be heard.
We made this our bigger longer lunch destination.
 Here we are!
 I present to you, Petain Falls, today's prize!
 fast & furious & full
 This was the view in front of us as we headed back through the meadow.
The hike back seemed to go by quickly and we were pleased with that.  We arrived at Lower Elk Lake and once again took our time sauntering along right beside it.  We hiked past the Elk Lakes Campground which was just on the other side of the trail.  This would be the campers view while having their morning coffee.
 boardwalk along Lower Elk Lake
We arrived at the Elk Lake Alpine Hut.  This is where I stayed for those two nights a few years back.  We settled down at the picnic table to fuel up again before attacking the long uphill stretch along the hydroline.  We also chatted with a young family of five who were fortunate to have the whole place to themselves last night.  Tonight would be a different story.
 the wheel barrels to haul gear from the parking lot to the campground
 We exited the entrance!  
It was a tough climb up the hydroline.  I was beginning to feel I should ration my water supply.  I was not quite sure how much of the three litres I had left.  The wildflowers were gorgeous and they were a pleasant distraction from the heat and the climb.  We had a gleeful feeling when we reached the wooden arch being the border between Alberta and British Columbia.  We were home, well not exactly home but back in our home province.  We took some time at the picnic table.  I checked my water supply and it was good.  We fueled up again as we still had a distance to go.  We also met Jacob here.  He's a young fellow biking his way from Calgary to Vancouver Island, embarking on quite the journey to a new life.  I hope you have a safe wonderful adventure!
 The hydroline was lined with flowers of all sorts and were so beautiful.
We were happy it was all down hill except for a short uphill.
We got it done!
We arrived back at the parking lot and wasted no time gearing down.  It was sheer joy to get my boots and socks off and to sit on the soft car seat and breathe a content sign of relief.  As we began the drive we noticed the clouds rolling in over the mountain peaks and knew we were in for not the nicest drive home and that turned out being the case.  That though did not take away from the many many hours we just experienced.
What are we made off?
Anything and everything it took to accomplish this wonderful adventure!

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