Today was insane. I'm talking 400 pictures, 2 rolls of film, 4 locations insane. The Canadian Rockies are rugged and beautifully carved by amazingly bright glaciers, and there is actually still a ton of snow here. This made for some stark contrasts and incredible scenes that I wouldn't believe with my own eyes, so thank god I had two cameras ready to rock and roll.
The first stop of the day (after coffee and bagel sandwiches because BG status) was the quick hike through Johnston Canyon. The lower falls provided a little cave to be able to see the first waterfall better, but the upper falls were much prettier. We spent the whole 6km hike discussing whether or not you could kayak this river, and all the way up we agreed it would be okay if you had the proper equipment and training and craziness.... until this 60 foot waterfall. You would for sure die going down this, but at least you'd have a good view going out.
Our second stop was about a 30 minute drive up the Icefield Parkway to get to the hike to Peyto Lake. To our supreme advantage, there was only 3 feet of snow on the trail. In the picture with Derrick above, it doesn't look that deep, I agree. But from personal experience, (aka when I stepped off the packed snow and fell hip height into the fluffy, deep powder) I can tell you that the mountain snow was indeed that deep, and also quite refreshing. The silver lining of this treacherous trek was that it deterred some of the tourists from crowding all of the places we wanted to be.
The snowy path led to one of the most amazing outlooks we had ever seen. Unfortunately, the lake was still 95% frozen, so we didn't get to experience that amazing blue/green color in its entirely. This unique color happens when the super cold glacier run off collects silt running through the delta into the water. When it enters the lake, there are a lot of particles in the water, so it scatters the higher wavelength of light and reflects the lower wavelength light (blues and greens). There's a baby bit of thawed lake that you can see in the picture, but it will probably take a few more weeks until all of the ice is cleared. While we were taking in the view we got to see a small avalanche on the upper rim of the mountain; it was a lot louder than I ever thought snow could be!
The third stop might have been my favorite of the day. Herbert lake was the definition of picture perfect. The amazing skyline of the Rockies was watching over the lush green forest enveloping the crystal clear water and it was so unbelievably peaceful. We stayed for awhile just sitting and looking at the magnificent scenery, wondering how something so beautiful could come to exist. If heaven is anywhere, it might have been right there.
Last stop of the day was Moraine Lake. Again, only 5% melted, which was kind of a bummer considering these lakes are typically amazing reflectors. However, the ice on the shore made up for it with a conundrum of science. I was walking along the frozen bank and all the sudden the snow changed and it sounded like I was walking on broken glass. There was a space in the thick ice where some water must have come up from the lake and refroze, creating these beautiful shards of ice. They were so fragile and amazingly formed, but also made a very satisfying sound if stomped on. So I took a picture before all of them got destroyed by some heavy-footed soccer player who has a weird destructive side. Dinner was incredible with a view of Lake Louise (which I promise to get pictures of tomorrow) and a show from Derrick who broke his chair and fell over in the middle of the restaurant. We are off to Glacier National Park in Montana tomorrow, so keep checking in for new pictures and always more adventures!