We are definitely not morning people. So after a nice relaxing start to the day we packed lunch and headed out the door. It wasn’t warm and fresh snow adorned the mountains.
Our plan was to do a hike up above Maligne Lake and then stop in at the Canyon in late afternoon when it would be less busy.
But.. we got away late and encountered almost a road block on our way down from the Pyramid Lake road. The momma bear and her cub were literally a road side show and so many cars were just littered on both sides of the road. People were out of their cars and the Parks Canada guy was trying his best. Our encounter of momma and baby felt safer for bear and us than 15+ cars and people on the road side.
This was not to be our only encounter with wild life and the road side hazards people create. But I digress and will potentially return…
Up up the mountain road we drove, 40 kms with a steady climb. More snow and a fair amount of cloud cover. Temperature was 5. I’m having second thoughts because I realize that while I packed mitts for the trip I had not brought them nor my toque. I’m also expressing concern about the length of the hike and whether it is doable.
Upon arrival we decide whether it’s rain jacket or cold weather jacket. My bunny hug (hoodie to the rest of you) provides the head covering I will need. And then my other half tosses across a light pair of gloves with the comment “always come prepared, I was a Boy Scout you know” and off we went.
He also checked times and hike options and set a time for our ascent to leave enough time for the descent. We weren’t the only late start people as we encountered a young 20’s couple, at the first trail split, who seemed less prepared than me!
But off they went up the short but steeper part and we followed. It was 1.5 versus 2.7 and seemed like a good idea. Let’s just say there were lots of micro stops for a quick back & leg stretch and a lovely chat with a German couple that helped me catch my breath.
It was one of those “it’s just around the next corner” sort of hikes. The snow got deeper and deeper. We’d long since made the decision that we would not go for the summit given the time of day, the weather and if we are being honest my speed. But the views were, on occasion, so stellar.
We reached the first look out as the snow started to descend from the sky. Lunch was eaten with cold hands while perched on the edge of a tiny rock The view of Maligne Lake and mountains was slightly obscured by
The descend was planned for the main pathway. There was a couple that went by on their way down as we had lunch so it was nice to have their tracks to follow. While it was longer it allowed for easier walking and a chance to look around a bit more. It also kept us on track for getting off the mountain before early darkness fell with the heavy cloud cover. We did 9.72 kms so felt it was definitely beer time!
On the trip back as we were driving along we saw a car facing us with the door open and someone standing on the opposite side on the bridge. The door was open and the car was not pulled over… Wtf? Really? Turns out there was a moose and yes it was worth taking a picture of but not parked like that.
It astounds me how stupid people can be although I’m not sure why as they prove it over and over again. The Parks Canada brochure that everyone gets on entry has a warning on the front page, in bold letters, if you see wildlife stay in your vehicle. And yet every time people do it and it’s so bad for the animals and potentially for the people. The first day we saw people walking across the road to stand nearer to a huge herd of elk. Like no… Want to get rammed by one of those and end up in a Covid packed hospital with no beds and no staff. Rant over… Back to the scenery.
The hot tub was glorious and just what my body needed. The sun came out while we were in it which was bonus for the view and my solar panel brain.
We still had more day to enjoy with an evening fire and a mountain sunset view. Add to that a beer and a perfectly BBQ’d meal and it ranks up there as another fabulous day. How grateful and blessed I feel that we can have a safe holiday in these crazy times. The only minus was no red chairs on this hike. Just the easy one near the lake that we didn’t do!
Ps my boy scout instantly computes every map, has an intrinsic sense of direction and a calmness that helps instill confidence when I need it most. Handy guy to have around for 40 years.