Day 3: Moraine Lake

Sunday, September 24, we decided to take the shuttle to Moraine Lake, in spite of having to wait in line for about 1 hour. It was a partly cloudy day, again cold in the morning, but pleasantly warm later on in the day.

The Moraine Lake area is a very popular destination for tourists in Banff/Lake Louise. There are a number of trails that start there. The most popular in Fall is the Larch Valley/Sentinel Pass trail, about 12 km return, total elevation gain 732 m. We decided to ignore the crowd and hike it anyway. The trail starts at Moraine Lake with a series of forested switchbacks for about 2 kms. At the top there is a large area full with larches, all of them in peak colour when we were there.

It isn’t easy to make pictures of larches, at least for me. They are a funny tree. They are scraggly, almost ungainly looking, but just glow with colour. I couldn’t figure out how to do the feel of the place justice. So many trees! So much colour! What to do with it. I suspect it will take a few years of experimentation to figure out how to make beautiful images of larches.

The trail continues with sparser and smaller larches, to a rocky place, where you can see Sentinel Pass ahead. There are also a number of small lakes called Minestimma Lakes.

The mountains around are gorgeous! Harsh looking, yes, rocky, brown/gold, pewter, a bit of snow:


We had lunch at the topmost and largest of the pools. We decided not to go up Sentinel Pass, but lounge around the lake for a while on the warm rocks. This is Sentinel Pass:


Laura decided to take a nap; I walked around to the far side of the small lake. From there, looking back over where we had hiked up, I could see the Valley of the Ten Peaks, which we could also see from the Valley of the Larches before.  The peaks reflecting in Lake Minestimma made for a surreal scene:


After a while we returned to Lake Moraine, same route as going up.  The larches and the peaks were, if anything, even more beautiful than before:

That evening we went out for pizza at Lake Louise Village.  It was a great day overall!

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