Monday, June 20, 2016

Paddling Moraine Lake

Trip Date: June 2016

Christine and I had such an awesome time paddling on Lake Louise we decided to try Moraine Lake next. Again we headed out early on a Saturday morning because the Moraine Lake parking lot is notoriously overcrowded and for good reason; it's one of the most picturesque lakes I've ever seen! With a spectacular backdrop in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, Moraine Lake is an extremely popular place; one that we are no strangers to. We've done several hikes in the area (please see my previous posts titled Larch Valley and Eiffel Lake for a couple of examples), but had yet to spend anytime on the lake itself.

Moraine Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks
Moraine Lake sits at the end of a 14km access road just outside of Lake Louise in Banff National Park. We managed to find a parking spot, but the lot was filling fast. When we were leaving we noticed that they had to close the access road due to the sheer number of vehicles just trying to get there. Once again we drew some attention to ourselves as we inflated our boards on the busy shoreline, but the cameras didn't come out until we launched the boards with Rome proudly sitting on the front of mine. For some reason she's a bit of a novelty to the out of town guests!

My GoPro paddlecam strikes again!
Rome's point of view!
The lake was like glass and the paddling was easy. The sun was shining as we were prepping our boards, but the clouds came in fast and the rest of the day was overcast with the ever-present threat of rain. Luckily the weather held out long enough for us to complete our paddling adventure but we had a fair bit of rain on the drive back to Canmore, where we spent the night. 

Christine enjoying the morning paddle
Making our way to the end of the lake
We found a quiet spot at the end of the lake to sit, relax, and enjoy the incredible scenery. Christine mentioned that she could have her morning coffee in a place like this everyday! Rome also got an opportunity to do a little exploring along the shoreline. The Moraine Lake Lakeshore Trail runs along the western shoreline, making the east side of the lake very quiet and peaceful.

Docked on a rocky beach
Christine enjoying her coffee with Mount Temple in the background
Chris & Rome
Moraine Lake selfie
A couple of the Ten Peaks (Mount Little & Mount Bowlen I believe) as viewed from our small beach
The Fay Glacier perched atop Mount Fay
We didn't want to risk being caught in a rain storm so we launched our boards and paddled back via the western edge of the lake.

Working our way back
Just another awesome day out on the water!
As previously mentioned we didn't head back to Calgary right away. We spent some time in Banff before making our way to Canmore for the night. We took a little scenic drive around the Lake Minnewanka Road and were rewarded with several wildlife encounters.

Near Lake Minnewanka we spotted a group of three Rocky Mountain Sheep rams
It's not uncommon to see sheep along this stretch of road, but it's always nice to see rams, which tend to be a bit more elusive!
A ram's horns can weigh as much as 14kg (30lbs), more than all of the bones in its body combined!
We also encountered several bull Elk further along the road. Elk shed their antlers each year (usually in March) and will start re-growing them sometime in May. The antlers on this guy are still covered in velvet.
Elk are also known as Wapiti, a First Nation word that roughly translates to "light coloured deer".
After we arrived in Canmore Christine took Rome for a run and I drove up the Spray Lakes Road to the Goat Creek Trailhead parking area. Like the Minnewanka Road it's not uncommon to see wildlife in the area and I was hoping to get for a third sighting in one day. I guess my luck hadn't run out because I was pleasantly surprised to find several Rocky Mountain Sheep ewes with their lambs.

One of the lambs posing for my camera
These four lambs were preoccupied with something happening above them. When I looked up I saw another ewe with her lamb high up on the steep cliffs of Ha Ling Peak.
I have no idea how these creatures can move with such ease across this rugged and unforgiving terrain!
Eventually both of them made it to the bottom to rejoin their herd, but they made the whole process look incredibly easy!
As I'm sure you can tell we had another amazing weekend in the mountains. We already have a few more adventures planned and I know there will be a lot more happening spur of the moment. Until next time...

No comments:

Post a Comment