Reflections and images from my travels

Archive for December, 2018

Final Day

I awoke after a good sleep. That 20 km ski yesterday had worked it’s charm. I had gone back to the Truffle Pig last night and had the most wonderful baked Mac and Cheese with chicken apple sausage and duck confit. Yum! I also picked up a pound of dark roasted coffee from Nelson BC the pub was selling.

A quick shower followed. Then as I packed up, I had a nice cup of hot green tea. Before I knew it, I was off. The plan was to stop for breakfast in Lake Louise and then go for a snowshoe up to Rockbound Lake. I had been there before a few years back with Dave, my friend, but we never quite made it all the way up to Rockbound Lake itself.

Breakfast was hastily eaten and I picked up some sandwiches for lunch.

The drive was pleasant. It felt warmer today compared to yesterday. Yeah!

I arrived at trail head about 9:30 AM and was surprised that I was the only one there. Oh well, all the better for me!

I got quickly geared up and off I went, at least, that’s what I thought! I was quite happy to put my new trekking poles to the rest, but, they kept collapsing. Had I picked up a dud set? A quick look allayed my fears as I recognized that the tension knobs on all of the flip locks were loose. A quick tightening of all the knobs and finally I was good to go!

The first 6-6.5 km of this snowshoe was in the trees with no views and was up, and up followed by more up! The snow was pretty shallow on the bottom half but progressively got deeper and better as I ascended. Elevation kind of works that way.

The first glimpses of Mount Eisenhower peaked through the trees. Once I got up to the upper valley the views were spectacular.

Numerous snow ghosts and the frozen, attenuated yellow needles of larches greeted me. I was surprised by the number of larches with retained needles. I must remember to come back here in the fall!

I circumvented Tower Lake and then began a short, but very steep, ascent of the head wall beneath Rockbound Lake.

Before I knew it, the entire expanse of Rockbound Lake (well named) opened up before me. Spectacular! I found a rock to sit on “lakeside” and greedily enjoyed my sandwich as my eyes darted back and forth trying to take the whole amphitheatre of rock in before me.

I started to get a bit cold and really needed to get back so off I went. I looked forward to the downhill trek after so much climbing.

As I got back to the Tower Lake Valley beneath Rockbound Lake, the most gentle snow flurries began punctuated by sunlight breaking through. So beautiful.

The remainder of the way down, sun greeted me at every switchback corner. The snow beneath my snowshoes had softened considerably. I was pretty sure though that someone had moved the trail head further away as it seemed like a long time before this lovely snowshoe trek ended. Ah……the tricks of the mind!

Still no one in the parking lot when I arrived back. I was truly blessed to have had this trail to myself today. In the end, it had been 17.4 km under 4:30 hours with 839 m of elevation gain. Not bad for a recovery activity.

What a great weekend! I again counted myself lucky to be fortunate enough to be able to have such adventures . I truly consider myself blessed.

Home beckoned and I answered the call. Until next time.

A Great Day!

I had a really good sleep! I must have been tired. I got up, showered, shaved and made my way to the Truffle Pig right at 8 AM opening time. I was the first customer. They must have still been recovering from the jam session last night.

The latte was very good and I had the “My Way” breakfast- just right- 2 poached eggs, a ratti patti, baguette, 3 rasters of bacon and micro-greens. Yum!

After breakfast, I took a few photos around Field. Much easier to do when it is light. A very quaint village! I included a few photos of my accommodation as well.

I made my way back to Lake Louise at a leisurely pace and stopped in at Wilson’s for an area map. After some hemming and hawing, I decided on the Great Divide XC trail. It was likely to be less busy and was relatively flat (I thought) and long. A good way to spend a few hours. It was definitely chillier than yesterday but I figured the exertion would warm me up.

I made my way to the parking lot which was full and the sled dogs from Kingmik Sled Dog Tours were there. The Great Divide Road is converted to a multi-use trail in winter. It has opposing single track sets, a ski skating lane in the middle and a dog sled lane on the far left. The conditions were excellent and once on the trail it was not very busy despite the fullness of the parking lot.

I glided away easily for about 6 km enjoying the antics and protestations of the children with their parents. I stopped for a nice view before a moderately steep downhill.

Once I descended, the Great Divide marker appeared. It sounds very nice to say I skied from Alberta to BC!

I was originally going to stop at the Great Divide but felt good and carried on. I had to stop for an iconic photograph of a train blaring past the foot of a snow covered mountain. Lovely!

I soon reached my turn around point just prior to the Lake O’Hara parking lot, about 10 km.

Coming back seemed like it was mostly uphill. For some reason, I felt I needed to do the entire distance back without stopping. I was happy to see the parking lot. I completed a respectable 20 km. My right foot (yes, still an issue) complained and was happy for me to remove the ski boots at the end.

After packing up, I went back up to the Fairmont Lake Louise Hotel hoping to grab a quick bite, but, decided just to tour the hotel as it was quite busy. I paused by the shoreline for a few photos (I wondered how many cameras have taken exactly the same photographs over the years?).

Next, I stopped in at Deer Lodge thinking this would be a nice place for lunch, but alas, it was not to be! The front desk staff person said the restaurant would not be open until 4 PM. Argh……! I was famished after that XC ski and remembered the restaurant at the HI Hostel Lake Louise. It has always served good food at a reasonable price. I was not disappointed and that wheat ale accompanying lunch went down very easily! Unfortunately, all of this searching for a place to eat resulted in a later lunch than I had hoped.

Next, I wanted to find the village start point for the Tramline XC ski trail. I might do that trail tomorrow (or snowshoe again with those fancy, spanking new trekking poles I acquired yesterday). It was not hard to find and had a lovely bridge with nice views of the partially frozen Bow River.

I then decided to head back to the Baker Creek Resort to check out their new Bistro along the Bow Valley Parkway. Last time Anna and I were there last year it was closed for renovations, much to our displeasure!

Along the way, I stopped for a photo of Morant’s Curve- an iconic location to get a train photo- but alas, no train whilst I was there.

I arrived and had a quick look at the Baker Creek Bistro- very nice! I thought I might eat dinner there, but, I was still full from my late lunch. Too bad- perhaps breakfast tomorrow morning? I walked up the parkway a bit to find the trailhead for the Baker Creek to Protection Mountain XC Trail. There was definitely less snow here compared to Lake Louise despite only being 11 km east. I am happy I decided to ski/snowshoe in the Lake Louise area.

I had a leisurely drive back to Field and stopped at the bridge to catch the last vestiges of daylight disappearing below the mountain tops. Beautiful!

I toured around the village and found a lovely backroad that would make for a nice run, but, not tonight.

I retired back to my abode and pondered if I was hungry enough to have a light dinner at the Truffle Pig this evening?

Tomorrow I will either snowshoe (Rockbound Lake or Chester Lake in K Country) or XC ski the Tramline Trail from the village bottom up to Lake Louise and back before returning home. A good night’s sleep will help me decide. I really do want to try out those new poles!

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