This was my first time camping in Canada...well, sort of. So I slept in the car again, but this time we had the intent of camping, not just car camping...but our spot was super windy and the car was much comfier than the ground. Plus there was a small group of 6 of us, plus Ted the Lab, so that makes it more like camping....right?
So another weekend came around and a few of us really wanted to go somewhere, get away and go camping. A few people in the past had camped somewhere called "Abraham Lake" so we decided to head there. We had only heard wonderful things about this spot and hearing how beautiful it was, we had to go!
So we loaded up the cars after dinner on our Friday night, grabbed some snacks and headed off. Our first stop was of course for fuel and more snacks (it's camping, you can never have too many snacks). After this we jumped back in the cars and made our way to Abraham Lake. The drive there was gorgeous, if you've read my other blogs, the road we were on is the same road we took to go to Siffleur Falls.
This drive is beautiful as per all of the Canadian Rockies, it is just breath taking everywhere you look out here. The mountains are giant, bigger than everything in Australia. The beautiful Pine forests filling either side of the roads, it's just amazing.
Anyway, this road takes you all the way to Abraham Lake, which is a stunning blue/green lake with stone beaches surrounded by the mountains. We pulled up in a parking spot where we were planning on staying the night, however the wind was CRAZY strong and I was struggling to stand upright. So we jumped back in the cars and decided to try find somewhere a little more protected from the wind.
About 5 minutes further along the main road, we found a dirt road leading down closer to the lake. The road was obviously neglected and had several large potholes/puddles (massive puddles the size of a small car). So we carefully navigated our way through this section which brought us out to an amazing camp spot. It was close enough to the lake, but also just far enough away and hidden in some trees to we had protection from the wind.
We set up camp, immediately got a fire going and cracked some beers, it was the weekend, so we had to. We had a great night, collecting fire wood, making s'mores, drinking beers and chatting by the fire. It wasn't until 2am before we decided it might be a good idea to get some sleep, we had planned on hiking 16kms the next day after all.
The next morning we woke up, had some very simple breakfast and went for a walk down to enjoy the lake in all it's morning beauty. Shortly after, we packed up camp and all got back in the cars and made our way to "Rock Bound Lake" via Lake Louise for their delicious bakery. After filling up on cookies and sausage rolls we heading to our actual destination.
This is just an epic photo of Rusty's Van - it's basically a house on wheels, and it's awesome!
Upon arriving at the hike we were all excited to finally get walking and so we began at a speedy pace! The landscape was gorgeous, the start of the hike was very lush with fresh water running down the mountain through the valley. The trees were tall and green and the air was delicious and fresh.
As we got higher into our hike, the trees began to open up a little and the paths began to get a little more wet, including a few stream crossings. As the trees cleared for a section we got an absolutely stunning view of the mountains.
Below the mountains there was a large section of boulders and rocks which were crawling with life! Predominantly Marmots, which are adorable little animals that are very inquisitive. They kept a close eye on us all but slowly made their way closer and closer to us, trying to figure out what we were doing and if we were friendly. We names this area the "Marmot Kingdom".
After the Marmot Kingdom, the trail quickly became covered in snow which made the rest of the hike a little more challenging. Most of us, except for Rusty, had waterproof shoes. Rusty had his trusty "Toe Shoes" those weird looking shoes that looking like feet. He decided very quickly after the Marmot Kingdom that these were not the best choice for this type of hike, but he soldiered on with his freezing wet feet.
The snowy trailed continued to lead through the trees until we reached the first lake. This lake was gorgeous, well worth the walk. We were all pretty tired by this point after walking through the snow so we stopped for a little break and a bite to eat. We perched ourselves up on a large rock beside the lake and just took in the scenery for a while. (I didn't take any photos of this lake on my camera, sometimes I like to just enjoy things instead of living behind a camera all the time).
After our little break we decided to continue our walk and adventure on to the next lake, the one we went all that way for. As we left the first lake we began to zigzag higher up the hill into the trees. The path was narrow and steep, but the views as we climbed made it all worthwhile.
As we climbed over the crest of the hill we got our first view of the lake, and we all immediately knew the walk was worth it. The lake was gorgeous, beautiful in colour and surrounded by large cliffs which blocked the wind. The rocks leading down to the lake were all covered in snow and made the area look silky and smooth. We climbed, struggle and slipped our way down to the water, where we found a nice spot to sit. We chilled out on the rock, enjoyed the gorgeous view and talked about coming back and camping. There was a little island in the middle of the lake and we decided that is where will pitch our tents next time we come back. Perfect spot, trees for shade, and enough block from the wind. (It's the little island you can just see in the background on the left side of the photo below.)
But....that camping trip is a story for another time...so stay tuned for that. Overall, this hike was beautiful and I really recommend it if you're looking for an awesome hike to do around the Banff region.