Sunday, August 25, 2013

Emerald & Hamilton Lakes

Trip Date: August 2012

I was heading to Revelstoke to meet the boys for our annual Meekend adventure, so I decided to leave early and do a hike in Yoho National Park along the way.  I'd never been up to Emerald Lake so I wanted a hike in that area so I could stop by the lake afterwards.  I ended up choosing the hike up to Hamilton Lake.  The Emerald Lake parking area is about 220km west of Calgary just north of the Trans-Canada Highway and acts as the trailhead for the hike.  The hike up to the lake is 11km round trip with 850m of elevation gain, so this was going to be a bit of a grunt!  My lone hiking partner on the day was Rome.

The trail passes Hamilton Falls on the way up
Looking way down from above the waterfall
The area near the falls offered great views of Mt. Burgess... well as Wapta Mountain and Emerald Lake below
The trail crossed over some avalanche chutes.  If you look closely you can see the faint trail on the right.
Mt. Dennis looms in the distance
Mt. Carnarvon sits high above the lake, so that must mean we're almost there!
Hamilton Lake
The lake is surrounded by high peaks, including Top Hat Peak (centre)
We climbed a little way above the lake to get a better view
Rome really enjoyed the lingering snow.  It gave her a chance to cool off!
After finishing the hike we had a chance to check-out Emerald Lake.  Michael Peak stands in the background.
The highest point on Mt. Burgess is Walcott Peak.  It is named in honour of Charles Walcott who discovered the Burgess Shale in 1909.  The Burgess Shale is one of the world's most celebrated fossil beds and is famous for the exceptional preservation of the soft parts of fossils.  The Walcott Quarry, one of the riches fossil beds of the Bugess Shale is located on the pass between Wapta Mountain and Mt. Field.
Tim Wilson was the first European to lay eyes on this lake in 1882.  He stumbled upon it by accident while searching for some of his missing horses.  It was Wilson who named the lake in reference to its emerald colour.  Like other lakes with similar hues, the colour comes from glacial sediment, known as rock flour, that is suspended in the water.
After leaving Emerald Lake I made a quick stop at the Natural Bridge rock formation before hitting the highway.  The photo above is of the mighty Kicking Horse River with Mt. Dennis standing overhead.
The Natural Bridge is just what the name describes.  It is a naturally formed rock bridge.  
The rushing water of the Kicking Horse River eroded the rock away forming the bridge across the river
The mini-meekend, as we referred to this years' adventure because there were only four of us going, was held at Wadey Recreation Site about 25km north of Revelstoke on the shore of Lake Revelstoke along Highway 23.  It was a small, primitive campground, but was the perfect way to relax and enjoy some good weather with great friends!

Lake Revelstoke
We basically had this private cove all to ourselves so the dogs could run, play, and swim without worry!
Dan and Kola floating on the lake
Ben soaking up the sunshine
Ryan and Kola working on their tans

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