Monday, July 25, 2011

Canadian Rockies Part 3 - Lake Annette

Mount Temple is the highpoint in the range, 11,624'. The hike into Lake Annette at the base of the North Face of the peak is one of the most beautiful in the Rocky Mountains. Lake Louise is next door; Moraine Lake on the south side; and fine hiking trails over Sentinal Pass connect them. We had done Sentinal Pass the previous trip, so today we could knit the whole mountain together. The only negative for the day was that a forest fire in northern Alberta filled the Bow valley with smoke. This first photo of the north face is hazy and gray--just like it looked to us; there is nothing wrong with my camera.
On the side of the trail, the flowers were flourishing in the late wet spring. Pink, soft as a down feather, these blossoms caught my eye as we entered the meadow near the creek.

We hiked along a fairly level trail; when it started to rise gently I never noticed, however Rebecca did. After a while it dipped down for a mile, but I thought it was level the whole way.

Mount Temple rose up out of the forest in front of us. North faces have intrigued me since I was young: the Eiger Norwand, North Face of the Dru, North Face of the Grand Jorasses, North Face of the Grand Teton. Here in front of me is the massive North Face of Mount Temple. I looked for climbing routes, lines of access, but the whole face looked forbidding.
The bridges over the river were beautifully made. We stopped for a bite between peaks; both of us took out our cameras an dueled to snap photos of the other. Her I caught Rebecca with a smile!
After the third bridge, we started up the last mile of trail, a steeper rise through a moist forest and a switchback trail to Lake Annette. The last few yards wound through steep snow, then there it was. It was an explosive view, even with the smoke. A couple of Goldeneyes swam and dived in the lake. I took a dozen photos, trying to get the upper mountain in focus, but he best shots were of Rebecca.
Her shoes were pinching her toes. Wish I could have bought another pair right there for her, but we wrapped a bit of tape around one toe, and she was much relieved. New shoes were in her future.
We took a joint photo in front of the face, bid good bye to Mount Temple and headed back to the car. It was such a beautiful day that I hardly realized the time that passed.
Suddenly in front of us, a porcupine waddled across the trail. It was more scared of us, but splayed out the quills on its tail as we passed. Five minutes later, another crossed the trail. I followed it up into the thick of the forest where it crawled under a rotten log, so I turned on the flash and got a photo of the little guy.
Not ten minutes later, a third porcupine crossed the trail, flared its tail, then headed up a tree. It was the night of the porcupines!

I thought the route down would have been a constant grade to the car. I had forgotten the mile uphill grade; Rebecca remembered. Every rise I thought was the last one. How wrong I was. We talked and had a fine walk back to the car after one of the most beautiful hikes into the Rocky Mountains. Time for a beer!


Connie Dworak Rus said...

Hi Ralph, I've thoroughly enjoyed your trip blog! Although just as beautiful, not quite Alaska but a heck of a lot closer than Western Iowa/Omaha... makes me really homesick. Your pictures are fabulous. Reading it almost made me feel like I was there! Miss you. Hugs, Connie

Ralph said...

Connie, it is so nice to hear from you! We all miss you here. But, you might just be the big excuse for us to visit Omaha!!

Connie Dworak Rus said...

Don't tease!