By the time we arrived at the Shadow Lake campsites I was hungry and tired. Add in lacking signage for tent sites and bear hangs (which we later realized was due to the direction we arrived from), and water that required boiling for consumption…I was grumpy as heck.
After a quick pack-up of campsites, we meandered along the short hike to Egypt Lake for breakfast with a view. The water was pristinely calm, showcasing a flawless reflection of the mountains surrounding the lake. And what glorious mountains they were! The peace and calm offered a meditation of sorts, a chance to shake off the prior day and start anew.
It was going to be a 10-mile day. After leaving Egypt Lake, the trail almost immediately started going uphill. The ascent of Day 2 was more of a stair climb compared to the gradual ramp up of Day 1. I was partial to the stairs, the definite motion of going up. It gave me a straightforward sense of accomplishment.
We rolled up to Sunshine Village and I was filled with antsy enthusiasm. The type that makes you continually feel like you're about to pee your pants. Even after you just peed twice to make sure you really didn't have to pee. Am I nervous? Am I excited? Do I really just need to pee??
Last year the hounds and I catapulted into camping and hiking with a trip to Banff National Park, Canada. I was instantly obsessed with all of the above and knew I couldn't stay away.
Despite preferring the company of my dogs over humans, my desire to explore more of Banff -- especially the backcountry where dogs are not encouraged to go -- prompted me plan a group backpacking trip.
Final day in Banff.
I’d finally fallen back to sleep after the bear scare with thoughts of leaving town early to catch a hotel for my final night. But waking up that morning, in the light of day, suddenly I didn’t want to leave quite so soon.
Since Peyto was one of my top interests going into this trip, I figured I’d take the lesser known hike to the lakeshore. Great idea, until we hit construction and accidentally drove right by the trail head.
Enjoy these sunset views of Mt Rundle from Vermillion Lake #2 while I share one of my favorite stories from our Banff adventure.
FFWD to 3:50AM that night: Us three amigos are deep in slumber in our tent.
3:51AM: <insert very loud adult man scream/> AHHH! AAAAHHHH!!
<insert man still screaming/> AAAAHHHHHH!!!
Cowabunga dude! Wide awake! Bear in camp!
Moraine Lake Shoreline Trail: 1.6 miles out and back
Moraine Lake Rockpile: 0.5 miles lollipop
Boom Lake: 6.6 miles out and back
By the time I woke up and we finished our AM rituals, we didn’t reach Moraine Lake until 10am. Parking lot was already packed! They’re not joking around when they say stuff gets busy at 10am. This must mean Lake Louise is a mad house. <scratches LL off the list>
(Seriously, Lake Louise gets crazy busy - get there as early as you can.)
Continuing on after the doodle dog fiasco, we headed for the Bow Summit Lookout trail.
Except I wouldn’t really call it a trail, considering the small path I’d just come from. This one was more like a road. And you’ll see it in the top corner of a picture or two, it looks like an old farm road!
But we’ll take it, without complaints. Welcome it, in fact.
Peyto Overlook: 3.8 miles roundtrip - worth hiking beyond the first viewpoint with the wooden deck, even if you get the sh*t scared outta ya!!
Day 2: Peyto Lake, one of my most anticipated pit stops of the adventure.
The moment we arrived at the parking lot, the clouds magically starting to produce a sprinkle of rain – very funny Mother Nature!
The main trail was paved, a loop to the main viewpoint and up through the woods a bit. Fairly busy, but while most people seemed to ignore the pups yesterday, today everyone wanted to pet them. We hung out at a bench, letting people enjoy a moment with the hounds and listening to their stories about current and past pets. Dogs have the amazing ability to create an instant bond between two strangers.
Mom, we got this tent life down. Seriously. We have our own camp beds, lots of blankets, AND your fuzzy feet to sleep on – what could be better than this?!