(If you can’t see the pictures for some reason, just click on the question marks…)
So we set off on a Saturday (late!) afternoon from the base of Sunshine Village ski area. When I say set off, I
mean we got on a bus that took us to an upper lodge where we began hiking from. I was extremely opposed to the whole bus thing–I thought we were totally cheating. But, we cut out a good 3000 feet of elevation gain, and we did begin our adventure around 3 in the afternoon. So it ended up being a good idea to take the bus, otherwise we would have arrived to Egypt Lake in the dark with no campsites left. Speaking of no campsites left….we packed in 14 km and expected to be one with the trees and mountains, but it turns out we weren’t the only ones with that idea! Egypt Lake campsite was completely packed. In fact, we got screwed out of one of our reserved sites because somebody had poached it. Ugh, I didn’t think nature-lovers could be jerks. Guess I was wrong there. Anyway! We spent the first two nights at Egypt Lake (in one campsite, not to mention….which was actually quite nice. It was like a slumber party in the wilderness). The first day we woke up in our tents, and it was quite cloudy and eerie. We had heard it was going to rain, but we nonetheless got our stuff ready for a day hike and ate breakfast. As we cleaned up our dishes, it started to pour. And it didn’t stop. All day. So the first day was really quite relaxing (Sophie and I made playing cards out of drawing paper in the tent), but we were certainly ready for some adventuring after the rain cleared out. We packed up our stuff the next morning and were out of our campsite by around noon. Actually, I don’t think we made it out of our tent until 10 any morning but the last, and we never got moving until noon. Which was quite strange since we went to bed around 10 every night…guess we were pretty exhausted.
(This is what we temporarily thought was Shadow Lake…but nonetheless Juju and I are apparently psyched)
We went on a short day hike (to Talc Lake) before heading over the Pass, which was refreshing and beautiful! Then over Whistling Pass we went to the Ball Pass campsite, where we were the only campers! Ball Mountain was beautiful and grand, but a bit intimidating and seemingly too steep to summit, so we stuck to the passes and some scrambling here and there. The day after we arrived at the Ball Pass campsite, we hiked past Shadow Lake (see above picture) and up Gibbon Pass (I think?). Sophie and I ran (actually, sprinted…) down Gibbon Pass and proceeded to “ice bathe” in freeeezing Shadow Lake.
It was quite nice for our legs muscles (which were incredibly sore the next day), and though we called it so, I think it was far from “swimming” in a glacial lake. Shadow Lake was gorgeous and unbelievably large for a glacial lake, and we ended up eating lunch/hanging out on the shore for a while before we headed back to our campsite at Ball Pass jnct. The next day we headed back over Whistling Pass….
(Ball Mountain is the huge, snowy one to the leftish of the picture)
and decided to hike (with our packs) to Scarab and Mummy Lakes. Actually, when we got to Mummy Lake we opted to head over a saddle that went straight from Mummy to Talc Lake (where we day hiked to on day 3), and then back to Egypt Lake. It ended up being quite the scramble with our packs on, but we were all really glad that we did it.
(there we are scrambling!)
We all passed out absolutely exhausted that night, with the sad thought in the back of our minds of returning to civilization. But we woke up early (8:00! hah!) and regretfully packed our stuff to head back over Healy Pass and home to Canmore. I will admit that the burger and beer at the end of our last day was rewarding and delicious!
But our trip was over. It made me realize how fast time flies when you’re enjoying nature and friends. I hope it’s not too long before I get to go backpacking again with people I love and amazing scenery! I really wish I could have packed through these areas 50 years ago, when there were fewer people, more wildlife, and less-troden trails. It was nice to get to spend some time with Allana again. In fact, I don’t think we’ve ever gotten to spend that many days in a row together while at the same time getting along (for the most part). Sophie and Juju both had an amazing time, and we all agreed to do it again someday. Though our packs weighed 50 pounds (well, Sophie and I carried a lot because Juju and Allana claimed we were “in training and needed a workout.” Pfft.), it was good exercise, fresh air, and mentally restoring.
Now I am in Chile! It is also an amazing place to be (I get to spend time in so many cool places), and I will be posting more soon. Keep checking. Lots of love and smiles from the southern hemisphere! See below for some more pictures!