Cirque Peak via Helen Lake trail is a challenging day hike along the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park. It's not for everyone: there are a couple of scrambly bits, there is a bit of exposure to stree drop-offs and it's very steep. But for those with the experience and skills to summit the views of Bow Lake, Bow Glacier and Dolomite Peak are absolutely stunning. The summit is small and the hike is popular, so leave early to beat the crowds.
An out and back hike starting from the parking lot at Emerald Lake, the relatively steep trail to Hamilton Lake in Yoho National Park traverses a patch of Western Interior Cedar-Hemlock Rainforest, follows a stretch of Hamilton Creek to the base of a lovely, multi-stepped waterfall, then climbs through more typical forest, crossing a couple of avalanche slopes where wildflowers bloom in abundance, before finally reaching the brilliantly-turquoise Hamilton Lake. We opted to carry on past the lake, up a long talus slope to the base of Top Hat Peak. Looking down on Hamilton Lake brought back fond memories of hiking the nearby Lake O'Hara region of Yoho National Park.
As a long-time blogger, I regularly notice how there's something about translating thoughts into letters that makes the brain slow down. It's a form of meditation, where the object of focus appears in black and white as fingers depress computer keys. On really good days, I enjoy a flow state from the time I click "start a new post" until I click "publish". Those days are rare. For the photo blogging challenge, the process lasts a month!
Floe Lake and Numa Pass are part of the multi-day backpacking route between Marble Canyon and Vermillion Crossing in Kootenay National Park: the Rockwall. Most itineraries describe it as a four to five day adventure, and recommend starting with the trail into Floe Lake. Since we're strictly day hikers, we ascended the trail to Floe Lake for lunch, continued to Numa Pass in the early afternoon and retraced our route arriving back at the parking lot a little before 6 pm. A long and rewarding day, the Floe Lake backcountry campground has got us thinking about giving backpacking a try.
A long day hike from the Elbow Pass Day Use area on Highway 40 in Kanananskis Country, the route to Piper Pass skirts picturesque Elbow Lake, crosses expansive meadows where abundant and colourful wildflowers bloom, includes the option for a short side trip to Edworthy Falls, requires fording the Elbow River, passes many waterfalls in Piper Creek Canyon, leads to an expansive alpine meadow and ultimately to a challenging, steep scree climb to a pass with amazing views both north and south.