Embarking on what I considered to be our first real day of adventure, we aimed for Emerald Lake. The journey there was, of course, spectacular. No amount of rain or stormy weather could diminish the beauty of this wilderness.
I pulled into the Emerald Lake parking area and started to cross every finger and toe. It looked busy – definitely hoping that what I’d read about the touristy areas was true: 20 feet away from the main viewpoint you’ll encounter hardly anyone. I saw the trail head, then off to the left was a bridge leading to several very nice lodge buildings. Fancy. Canada, you are one legit classy broad.
But first things first, I had to pee. I spotted an outhouse by the trail head. Jackpot.
Let it be noted that not only do Canadian's have very pretty lodges, but their outhouses also are really freaking nice! There may not have been running water or plumbing of any sort, but each one I stopped at was clean and equipped with plenty of TP and hand sanitizer. Small but significant comforts.
I assessed the trail map by the bathrooms and walked back to collect the pups. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was the start of our first routine: park car – walk to the bathroom at the trail head – assess maps – return to collect the dogs – hike!
Let’s rock and roll.
We shimmied past the crowd of people that had collected by the maps, chatted with a park ranger for a moment, and continued down the path. The first thing I noticed was the silence. Or rather, the lack of human noises. It was like everyone had disappeared. Bliss.
The trail was wide enough for the pups to walk along my sides most of the time. Starting out, the trail was mostly dry with just a few puddles and muddy sections along the way. The trees blocked most of the rain, not that I minded it too much – nothing could distract me from the scenery!
Aptly named, Emerald Lake was a vision of color! Standing there looking directly at it, it was still hard to accept the colors as real. I just stopped and stared many times along the way.
We came across a few other hikers here an there. Many seemed to turn around once they reached the end of the lake opposite the parking lot and trail head. At first I wondered if I’d missed something. Then decided it didn’t matter because I now hardly saw anyone. That wasn’t a bonus just for the peace, but also because now the trail was getting quite muddy and I was becoming quite a mess!
The dogs were barreling through not just some but ALL of the mud puddles. Cool Whip now had brown legs and if my pants hadn’t been a dark color already they’d have been brown as well from all the dirt and water the hellions splashed up. Perrrrfect. My car is about to get really dirty!
Thankfully we made it back to the car just in time for it to stop raining. :P
Seriously thought, it was a nice chance to brush off some of the mud, give the hooligans a snack, and make out next plan of attack: setting up our home for the next few days! Tunnel Mountain Campground, here we come!