Plain of Six Glaciers - Winter
Date Walked: 11th February 2012
Distance: 5.6 miles (9km)
Actual Ascent: 853ft (260m)
Time Taken: 4 hours
Being finally 'settled in' in our new home in Canada Sarah and I decided to take a long weekend at Lake Louise, Sarah was keen to try snow-shoeing and the Plain of Six Glaciers is a fairly straightforward hike from Lake Louise so we chose that as the best option.
the view from our hotel room gives a great overview of the hike, going directly across the lake using snow shoes and into the pass beyond, where the ascent begins
down at the lake it was all smiles as Sarah got her snow shoes on for the first time ever
we walked over to the side of the lake with the deepest snow (3 or 4 feet here) and tried out the shoes, which Sarah got on with easily, actively seeking untrodden snow to explore.
its a hell of an invention that can keep a big fella like me afloat on soft powdery snow ; )
crossing the lake was great fun, the only reason I took my GPS was to end up with a map that showed a hike directly across a lake! Sarah took the lead on many occasions and really enjoyed being out 'riding on top of the snow'
though occasionally she did find pockets of least resistance and saw one leg or the other drop down through the fine dry powder
Once across the lake we were able to take off the snow shoes and carry them along a well trodden trail, though one foot either side soon left you wishing you had left them on
after 4.5km Sarah finally admitted defeat ( I had repeatedly asked but she insisted on continuing to this point) as she sat resting I continued on across an avalanche chute to a frozen waterfall I could see ahead.
with no direct light on the ice it shone a stunning blue in the dull overcast morning
I grabbed a few shots before heading back to Sarah, looking toward the end of the trail we were less than 1km from the viewpoint at end of the trail, but being glaciers I think they'll wait for us until another day
Sarah looks happier as I return and we set off for the hotel, looking back the shadows of the mountains make a great pattern in the sky as the cloud starts to move away and a little blue sky appears.
on to the steepest descent point and another short break
soon we're back down to lake level and the hotel is in sight though still 2.5km away as yet
we reach the point where we crossed the lake inlet on the outbound leg and I suggest we leave the snowshoes off and take the trail round to the side of the lake where firm snow makes for easy walking.
Sarah is having none of it and is back in the snowshoes and picking her poles up in a flash, ready to take on the lake again
looking back as we cross the lake, the shadows of the mountains dance behind the clouds that are now burning away
the frozen waterfall at the end of the lake looks every bit as beautiful as its earlier counterpart though less blue now as the light increases
this shot shows the true scale of the waterfall seen here on the right hand side of the frame
Sarah is really labouring now and taking more rest stops as we cross the lake, I'm glad I had a few hikes under my belt already or I may have been the same
After one last push we are back across the lake as the sun sneaks around the western flanks of the lake illuminating the mountains and forests opposite.
Finally back where we started Sarah still claims to like snow-shoeing..though maybe a little less of it at higher altitudes.
Later that evening Sarah was really poorly with a banging headache that wouldn't clear until dosed with extra strength Tylanol, too much work to soon for a flatlander in the mountains of Canada....but she'll be back.