Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Eiffel Lake

by Darryl Darwent

It's been a week since we gathered in the parking lot of the Lady of Assumption
school parking lot to embark on our journey to Eiffel Lake. Even though we see each other regularly through church, as a group this was the first time GGEH had come together en mass to hike in 2008. through busy-ness and poor weather, the year 2008 has not been a year for its members to do a lot of hiking.

Eiffel Lake is a small carn located in the Valley of Ten Peaks west of Moraine Lake in Banff National Park. From trailhead to destination there is a gain of 450 m, and the round trip is 19 km long.

That's the thing though; those tasks and events that distract and keep you off o
f the trail, the narrow road in the high country, how memorable will they be years from now? There just are some unavoidable moments -- places you need to be that prevents you from being outdoors in Creation. And it would seem that 2008 would pass into history where members of God's Green Earth Hikers would not

I was going to stay home," John Veenstra said, "I was going to study for a test that's coming up. But I am glad I didn't."

John is always a pleasure to have on
the hike. Most often he is in the lead and taking us to the top of some of the peaks.

The first half of the trail was trekking on what seemed countless switchbacks. Only at a few corners were we able to look toward Moraine Lake to see its turquoise waters. As we climbed we remarked to each other how small it was becoming.

As more people are using the National Parks the risk of encountering bears is becoming more real. Legislation is now in place on how many people are required to travel through bear country. In the case of the Moraine Lake area that restriction is four in tight groups. In our party we had the Veenstra family, Dick and Ruby Klumpenhower, Ruby's friend Mee, myself and Andy and Emelie Loogman. At the trailhead we discovered a young couple who were waiting to join a group. We invitied Dan & Lizzie to hike with us.

It turned out that Dan and Lizzie were honeymo
oners; originally from Oxford, England, and making their way through Canada. We found it quite romantic that they chose to start their new lives together in our part of the world, and we were able to be part of it.

Rising above the treeline we feasted on views of towering peaks. Some had dangling glaciers and cols. The trail somewhat levelled out on talus slopes. We could see our target in the distance. Some of us found time to examine features and take notice of ava
lanche chutes.

However, we all knew that the weather office has forecasted
some inclement w
eather in the afternoon. So we couldn't take as much time as we wanted. We pushed on to a rest area above the tarn and we had our lunch there. The view, the temperature and being with companions made our lunchtime wonderful. Edith and myself explored some rocks just to the west of us and found a marmot who was foraging, and being very patient in allowing us to take some photographs. None of these that I took turned out well. We posed for group photos, and then started our journey back.

There is not much that can be reported on this stage. Oh, there is still the sense of awe of being in this valley. It is tangible, you are here and will be even after you depart. Its not just a notation in the hiking journal. How do you hold the memories of this experience so they last, amidst the busy-ness of our daily activities. You have your photographs, but shouldn't there be more. When will you come back again. What words can you use to describe this experience to others who have never been here and may not. These are the types of thoughts that travel through your mind as you place one foot in front of the other. How about that space above you, the avalanche chute -- wouldn't that be a good place for a bear to wait on you? Before long you are sharing that though t with someone else and they are agreeing with you, and commenting on how agile bears are. You are never too far way to remember that you are in their front and backyard.

We heard a couple of booms at several points as we came down the mountain. Were they glaciers calving or something else? We arrived at the trailhead around three-thirty. We thought a signature to this trip would be to head to Lake Louise as Mee had never been there. We didn't even get out of the parking lot when a ferocious rainstorm blew in. We did make our way to Lake Louise, but it was hopeless to getting out and seeing the sights. visibility was near zero. there was hail, and the wind was almost levelling the trees. We found each other in the parking lot and decided to head for Banff for supper before returning to Calgary. The Loogmans went on to Calgary because they had a prior engagement. We had a enjoyable meal at The Keg. We got back home around eight-thirty.

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