The weather gods continue to be on our side. There were a few light sprinkles during my run very early this morning, and it was a crisp 5 degrees Celsius, but things eventually warmed up to the low twenties. It was a more-cloudy-than-sunny day, but the sporadic rain seemed to save itself for when we were in the car getting from Point A to Point B, and there was patchy blue sky for most of our stops.
We began at Emerald Lake, which is just 10 kilometres or so from our lodge. It was surreal: a bowl of green water, surrounded by conifer-girdled mountains, and dotted with little red canoes that the national park service rents out. There were also the remnants of an avalanche that we hiked to.
We then backtracked into Alberta, across the Continental Divide, and we headed north toward Jasper on the Icefields parkway. Those mountains mean business. Stern and tall and angular, they are the higher peaks of this chain, and they soar above the road, laced with glaciers and snow.
We turned around at Bow Peak and headed to Banff, which unfortunately was chock a block with people, and not somewhere we wanted to tarry. We took a chance on the way back that Moraine Lake might be accessible – it is a steep 14km climb on a narrow road, and there is limited parking at the end point, so the entry point is often closed, once the parking maxes out up top. We were lucky and managed to get in. And wow, what a way to finish the day! The drive up to the lake was spectacular (I’m fully aware that I am using far too many superlatives, but they’re justified) and the lake itself is a jewel of green and blue, nestled in rugged, boulder-strewn crags.
On the way back to the lodge, we spotted a couple of bears scampering up scree at the side of the Trans Canada. They look like black bears rather than grizzlies, but it was cool to see them.
The only blemish on the day was the ubiquity of RVs. There seems to be an entire culture surrounding them, and they like to travel in packs. I know they have as much right as we do to be here, but between them and the tour buses, I shudder to think what ‘high season’ is like, in July and August.