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.
Well…might as well keep heading north and see what we can see. Like all the way up into Jasper type north! We just barely tiptoed into Jasper with our most northern stop being Athabasca, Toe of the Glacier. It was a short hike up to the ice, and of course CW complained the entire way. She made is extremely apparent during this trip that uphill is 100% not her thing.
Driving from the glacier back toward camp we stopped at what seemed to be every roadside pullout and viewpoint. Why? Because why not?!
It wound up being one of my favorite days. There would be no cars when we parked, so we’d wander down the side of the roadside up to the edge of the river flowing by and just hang out until people started appearing. Then we’d hop back in the car and continue to the next spot. A relatively lazy day of soaking up the sunshine and hanging out. <3
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!
High alert mode activated: Herc's ears are up and he's sending out aggressive woof signals (deep growl, with a low woof under his breath).
Man stops screaming finally.
CW lifts her head, looking mildly annoyed: What? Is something going on?
Herc belts out his most fierce killer howl!
Yeah, that's right, my thug dogs haven't made a peep the whole week even while the yippy dogs barked all day...until the time comes to protect, then bam! Bring it on bear!
I mean, we're gonna stay 'hiding' in our tent, but if that ferocious furball comes to see us, we're ready.
I know, I know... The princess may not have been quick to rise but I know she'd have teamed up with Herc for a bear beat down. She's my #1 draft pick for bear wrestle-mania.
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>
Started our hike along the lakeshore and arrived at the start of the Larch Valley trail where there this is a lovely sign noting that group travel (4 or more people) is strongly recommended (due to bears). No matter which way I count our group, it was still just two dogs and one skittish girl. Not quite enough to make hiking Larch Valley a wise decision.
So we simply took our time hiking along the lakeshore and enjoyed the gorgeous views.
With Larch Valley and Lake Louise off the list for today, we suddenly had an open afternoon.
Boom (Lake)! (below)
It was a wide trail, a little muddy from the rain in spots, but spacious width made it easy to avoid most of the mess. Downside? What I had thought was the round trip mileage for the hike turned out to be the one-way mileage. Whoops!
About halfway down the trail we came upon a lovely group of older ladies. They loved the dogs!! We stopped and chatted for a bit. They mentioned I was about halfway. The next hiker we came upon was an older gentleman with fishing gear. He agreed with me in that it was a longer hike than he’d expected but that if he could make then so could we.
In reality, it wasn’t that this hike was incredibly long, it was just the misconception of the distance in my brain and that Cool Whip was pulling out her princess act again.
Mud? Are you kidding me? Princesses don’t hike through mud. Rocks? Are you kidding me? Princesses don’t hike over rocks. <insert snooty chin lift and scowling puppy dog eyes>
Of course, the end was worth it. Spectacular view! Boom Lake was beautiful. And it felt like we were so out in the middle of nowhere that it made it even more wonderful. No resorts hidden in the woods, no other trails in sight or any other trace of humans. Just the rugged terrain, two dogs, and a girl. And the rain. Because of course it started raining as soon as we reached the openness. ;) As the rain got heavier I decided it might be a good idea to return to the woods and head home.
In our last 20 minutes of the hike we received our most massive downpour. Not even the trees could stop it. The dogs got nervous and antsy so I pulled out their raincoats. As this was their first experience with them on in the rain I wasn’t sure if it would help or hinder our progress. Luckily they seemed to enjoy the protection and we moved swiftly onward. Exhausted and drenched, we retreated to camp for a much earned lazy evening in the tent.