Monday, September 3, 2007

Sunday XT - Lake Louise - Plain of Six Glaciers Hike

On Sunday I opted for something a bit different activity-wise so I drove out to Banff National Park in the Rockies to hike out at Lake Louise. We were going to hike from Chateau Lake Louise up to the Plain of Six Glaciers. The hike started out at 5750 ft and stayed pretty level for the first 2 km or so as we wound around the lake. This section was pretty busy and pretty touristy so there wasn't too much excitement yet. We hit the first steep rock walls and saw lots of people braver than I climbing to the top. After that it was pretty well a continuous trek up until we hit a teahouse at about 5.5 km in, and an elevation of 6851 ft.
The pathway was open and you could stare at the glacier directly behind Lake Louise the entire time. The trail was still busy up to the teahouse, and it blew my mind to see people with little kids, or kids in backpacks, or people in dress shoes on the trail. The most absurd was one young guy that ran past us in dress shoes and dress pants, then 15 minutes later ran back past us.

The teahouse offered a welcome break so we stopped to fuel on tuna fish sandwiches, tea and chocolate cake. The teahouse is only open seasonally, and the folks who run it live up there the entire summer season. The major load of supplies are brought in once at the beginning of the season, and any additional supplies are brought up by horse.

Everything is made on site and it definitely tasted good. After refueling we hiked the final 1.6 km to the lookout point at the Plain of Six Glaciers to a maximum elevation of 7224 ft. We hung out to enjoy the view and started back down in time for a few raindrops to fall. It wasn't raining too badly though, so rather than taking the same route back down we took a detour out to Mirror Lake. This trail was quite a bit different - a lot of tree cover and a smoother surface as opposed to the rocks we were on to hike up. About 5.5 or 6 hours and 14 km later we back in front of Lake Louise and ready to refuel again - this time at the Grizzly Paw brew pub in Canmore. The only wildlife we saw along the way were a few squirrels and marmots. Unfortunately no mountain goat sightings, and fortunately no bear sightings...
I'll post some of my pics from the hike to the Flickr link on the right in case anyone is interested in seeing them. And yes, I fully realize that I do some form of a head tilt in nearly 95% of the pictures of me.

1 comment:

Angry Runner said...

I saw the picture of you wearing the Garmin on your wrist. Forgive me if I got a small chuckle out of that.