Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Onion August 20, 2019

Star Power  
When your stars align in every which way possible, 
you become the recipient of a gift that takes your breath away! 
Our plan for today was to reach the summit of "The Onion" which is off the Icefield Parkway above and beyond Bow Hut.  We went for the early start from the city, had no traffic to contend with, got to pick a parking spot from a multitude of vacancies, we were first in the freshly cleaned washrooms, shared the trail in with a group of four who quickly disappeared out of sight, and shared the summit with only two others.  We experienced ideal weather conditions and were afforded the most amazing scenery, experience and adventure.

our morning view of Bow Lake with The Onion at the left of the glacier near the middle
 a calm chilly start 
a fireweed frame
We circled around the right side of Bow Lake and because I had never been this far in before I was stopping to admire the views and to capture photographs at every opportunity.  We stuck to the shoreline as much as possible.
 At the far end of the lake and across the moraine was a staircase leading up.
We hiked through the high up forest and then came out into the open where we could now clearly see  mountains and glaciers everywhere.  The trail was pleasant at times but more so though it was rough and rugged and rocky.
We could now see Bow Hut, where the red star is, and that's where we are next aiming for.   
I wondered how the heck do we get up there.  
I zoomed in on Bow Hut.
See it?
We worked our way along the trail, over the creeks and up the other side to where Bow Hut is. 
It is up there in the middle.
We bypassed Bow Hut and gained a little more elevation and then stopped for a light lunch break.  We still had a way to go which now included route finding,  some steeper sections over not much distance but still a good amount of elevation gain.  Along the way were many colorful glacier tarns.
looking back down at where we were and beginning to become one with the glaciers
 The photos do not truly show how gigantically massive the glaciers are.
We reached the wide open expansive top of The Onion and aimed for the summit.  
The Wapta Icefield stretched the entire length of the view behind us.  
We spied the huge summit cairn.  I got an instant boost of energy and darted to the cairn.  From beside the summit cairn we could see green Iceberg Lake and blue Bow Lake.  You can see red Num-Ti-Jah Lodge at the far end of Bow Lake.  We are parked over there.
 one of my summit shots with Bow Lake below me
 my other summit shot with the Wapta Icefield behind me
 We made it!
It was well into the afternoon and after taking all our solo and group summit shots, we decided on twenty minutes for lunch then we better get on with the return trek.  This was my dining time view.  The weather was incredible for our summit visit.  I could feel the sun beat down on my back and that felt nice.
We tried to retrace our steps as best we could for the return trip.  
The light was better now for a picture of this tarn which is fed by the melting glacier.   
We knew the water would be higher on the way back but we were shocked and surprised at how much higher it was.  The stepping stones now had water flowing over them and at times it was an inch or more deep.  We did find the stones were not slippery which was a saving grace.
After making our way most of the way down from Bow Hut and rounding a corner, the waterfall that was not much in the morning was now a forceful flow that was shocking.  I tried to capture how fierce it was but this was the best I could do.
 The waterfall is on the left but it looks gentle here, that though was not the case.
 on the rocky rough rubble with the glaciers behind us
We now reached the chockstone.  On the way in we attacked it with the help of a gentleman who just happened to appear. He was not going our way but just appeared, helped us and then he was gone in another direction.  Now on the way back we had a plan in place to get back over it to the other side.  We executed the plan smoothly and then went on our now merrily way.  We three as it turned out did have anxious moments leading up to it but now it was behind us.  The stone is about four feet wide with a drop off on each side down into a deep canyon.  It is a scramble to get up and to get back down off it on the return trip.  Having long legs is beneficial.
 We were back down to lake level and we just tiredly but gleefully carried on around the lake.
The lighting was beautiful and created perfect photo opportunities.
 looking back at the stair case in the middle and the glaciers up above
 a look back at The Onion and where we were
it's that rounded mountain in the middle
We had so many creek crossings and on the way back they were all higher.  In one section the trail beside the river by a boulder section was now under water. We worked our way in sections through the water then up a bit and scampered through the boulders.  Thankfully my boots are still waterproof.  When it came down to it though, I didn't really care anymore if my feet got soaked.  
 one last look back at where we were
Now it was time to just look and move forward and get this done.  
To past this bit of time I thought back to our day.

We had a long drive home but I felt it went by quickly. If we had not already talked enough, there was still loads to chat about, food to eat and scenery to admire.  Our day played out perfectly and we were each contributors to that success in any way that we had control over.   The rest, well, it was star power!  Thank you for today!

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