Dear Reader (2020-08-10),
It is time for a change of scenery.
Tuesday July 28 – Helen Lake Trail – 12.5 km – Out and Back
Inspired in part by the road trips of Byron, Steve, and Heather, I had spent time over the previous 4 / 5 days considering where to walk and camp along the Icefields Parkway. The first come first served no reservation Waterfowl Lake campground emerged as a great base for 3 days of walking. According to the very helpful woman at parks Canada, getting there at 10:00 and expecting to find a spot would be a bad bet. This morning I left the house around 5:30. When I arrived at 8:30, there were spots available. I self-register, pitch my tent and get ready for the day’s hike. The campground is not only in a lovely location, it has flush toilets – truly a camping luxury. I drive back down the highway around 23 km to the Helen Lake trailhead. Already, the parking lot is nearly full.
The trail is shaped a bit like an open safety pin as it follows the base of Crystal Ridge and then ends with a vertical section coming off the top arm. Sometimes I hear water, and sometime I hear water wind as I walk the first arm, which is a relatively easy and steady incline through forest. Tens of thousands of footsteps have exposed and polished tree roots, and yet the trees continue to survive. The second arm is unusual for my mountain hikes so far, as the mostly up is interspersed with the occasional noticeable loss of elevation, which of course must then be recouped.
Once above the treeline the visual landscape is one of texture, line, and blue, with clouds for punctuation. Your first response to the images below may be Sean you cheated in post-processing. I did use a polarizing filter, that blue is real, and I did not cheat. At around 2400 m elevation, the sky is that clear and the blue so vibrant I rub my eyes in disbelief.
As always your comments are sought and welcomed. Please come back tomorrow for the second of 3 walks along the Icefields Parkway.
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