Monday, June 17, 2024

June 17 – Moraine Lake and Consolation Lake

All winter I worried that our time here would be interrupted by smoke and fires. Little did I know that percipitation would be the problem and we would end up hiking through snow banks.

To get to one of the most famous views in the country you can no longer drive your car. You can take a Parks Canada shuttle bus for $4 pp senior rate or much more expensive commercial bus services. Every time we walk into the visitors center we see that the shuttles are fully booked. You can book the shuttle online starting March 18, which I did. I am not sure if they let all the spaces be booked because you can also try and get tickets for 2 days from now starting at 8 am but they go fast.

I didn’t like having to book the tickets so far in advance because you have no idea what the weather is going to be like. If it happens to be pouring rain then tough luck.

Our weather luck while not perfect today was not bad and certainly not terrible. When we got up I thought otherwise. There were low clouds and we couldn’t even see the mountains we usually see from our campsite.


To get our 9 am shuttle you must park at the huge lot at the Lake Louise Ski Resort. As we were walking across the lot I looked up and joked that this was the only mountain view we were going to get.


It was kind of hilarious to compare our two bus drivers. The one going up was very cautious and stayed exactly at the speed limit, looked 15 times at each stop sign and slowed for every bump. The trip seemed to take forever and the trip is only 19 km.

We knew we were in for a fun time on the way back just by the way this one accelerated out of the parking lot. Speed limits and stop signs meant nothing. On the twisty bits he would even cross the center line to straighten out the road. He caught up a poor van driver who must have felt very pressured to pick up the pace. We got back before we knew it.

The weather was much improved by the time we climbed up to the lake. Mostly cloudy but high cloud with even some blue sky patches.

The first thing every one does is climb the short trail up what is called the Rock Pile.


It is a huge pile of boulders at one end of the lake that give the up high best panoramic view of the lake and the mountains behind it.

Just us and a few of our friends as everyone jockeyed for a spot at the front for their shot of the lake or selfie. SO many selfies which to me, were some strange poses.


There were several viewpoint so we hit each one.





A wide panorama.


There is a wide beach that we checked out later.


And a not so well stitched together photosphere.

We could see that the mountains above us had gotten some recent snow because all the trees were covered.


Other than climbing the rock pile or walking the beach, there are some hikes that climb up into the mountains that are well beyond our abilities. There was one hike that we did think we could do.

The Consolation Lake Trail is just under 6 km return and climbs about 100 m in elevation. Normally from these specs the trail would not have been a problem but even this slight increase in elevation meant we were into the snow belt.The trail was wet and very muddy and we did have to walk through some snow.

Off we go.


Some parts were rocky.


And for some parts you had to climb over giant boulders.


Can you tell where the trail is?


Just follow the slightly browner rocks, I guess from people tracking dirt onto the rocks.


A photosphere from here.

Hard to believe this is the middle of June. I hear that Ontario is in a heat wave.



Someone didn’t think the snow was very deep.


As I said, lots of muddy spots to try and avoid.


Then we got near the end of the lake that seems to drain into this wide field.



And finally to this field of REALLY huge boulders that you had to navigate if you wanted to get to the lake.


Jennie made it part way in and rested under this huge cliff face.


A photosphere.

I continued on.


Another truly breathtaking place. The lake was still mostly frozen and partially covered in snow.


Looking back towards Jennie.


A panorama.


I should have climbed up the hill (through the giant rocks) to get a more downward view of the lake.

A photosphere from the edge of the lake.

The end of the lake had a glacier.


And then there was a huge hanging one off to the right.


Then back to Jennie for lunch, all the time guarding our food from an aggressive chipmunk.



Time for our walk back, during which the sun seemed to break out of the clouds for a long time and it was actually hot. To bad it didn’t happen while we where at the lake and it didn’t last until we got back to Moraine Lake. Oh well.


The hike back did seem faster mainly because it was mostly downhill but by now more snow had melted making for more mud and the snow we did have to walk over was very slippery.

Back at Moraine Lake we headed down to check out the beach.


One more photosphere.

Behind us was the Rock Pile.


SO many selfies.


It looked like it was snowing up higher in the mountains.



It started to get rather cold with a chilling wind so it was back to the bus and our exciting ride down to the car.

The hike really took a lot out of us and we crashed into bed back at the RV. Just as we did it started to absolutely pour rain. So we dodged a bullet there. When I got up it was still raining and there were actually large wet snow flakes mixed in.

Then as we were having dinner two cars drove by with several inches of snow on their hoods and roof. I am not sure where they were but I hear the the higher elevation of the Icefields Parkway get way more snow than here.

There is more snow predicted for tonight.

Bring back summer (but not the Ontario heatwave summer).

1 comment:

  1. Iconic and breathtaking photos and so many people on some of those selfie photos spots! You're the real hikers who go the extra distance one those very rugged trails!!!!