Sat, Jul 14 2007 - Helen Lake & Cirque Peak (Slowpokes & Dawdlers & Photographers) (View Original Event Details)

Event Coordinator(s): Karen D
Participants:Karen D, Danuse D, John J, Ann N, Adam K, Genevieve L, Rick M, Sibel (Mushroom), Jeff K, Dave O, nicole w, Cezary S


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Write Up:
Wow !!! This is my second hike in a row that on my way to meet my group at the trailhead, I saw a bear on the side of the road (will I have a hat-trick next time !!) This time, my sighting was right after the mandatory park pass check at the beginning of the 93 North, when a small to mid-size black bear was trying to cross the highway…. He then dipped into the small ravine, and finally came back up behind my car where I got a couple of snapshots including one from my side mirror (see pics !)

The weather network promised a day full of sunshine, and for once it was right !!! After an early carpool departure (thank you everyone !), and an essential pit-stop at the Lake Louise bakery, we were on the trail by 9:30a.m.

Our group soon split-up into fast and slow pace where I lead from behind as usual!! It was nice to walk in a forest-like area shading us from the sun… Once we got to the plateau, there were 360° mountains surrounding us and we were still about 3 km from the lake. Gorgeous scenery and all of it to ourselves… Since we had an early start, we only saw two couples on the trail… As we approached the lake, we saw from about 300 metres away, one momma grizzly bear and her two cubs grazing. Everyone got exited and starting snapping pictures….Even though the grizzlies were not near the trail, they started moving quickly in our direction, for what we thought, trying, too avoid us. We quickly tightened our group and fast-paced it to the other side of the lake for safety….. We ate our lunch as planned and talked about the grizzlies among other things !!

Ok, now the Cirque Peak !!! I suggested that those who want to summit the peak to go as a group, and those who did not want to, stay and extend our lunch, and then “summit” the ridge !!! To my pleasant surprise, all but myself and Ann, decided to summit the Peak and off they went ! Ann & I reached our goal of summiting the ridge, and let me tell ya, the views were incredible !!! From snow patches, to running creeks from the mountains & valleys, to beautiful Katherine Lake & Dolomite Mountain & Cirque Peak, we sat on the ridge for two hours watching the rest of our group doing their summit….. I could have stayed on that ridge forever !!! On our way back down, Ann & I played in some snow (see pics !!)

Once back at the lake, we watched our group descend the Peak, and a round of applause greeted them upon their arrival for their achievement !!! Heading back, no signs of the grizzlies ! Most of the group stopped in Canmore and we had supper at the Drake.

As I did not ascend the peak, Sibel has done the write-up for the Cirque Peak section of the hike. (To follow)

Encounters on the trail: black bear on Hwy 93 North, fellow hikers, fishermen, swimmers, wild flowers, lots of pesky small flies at the lake, momma grizzly and 2 baby grizzlies, birds, 2 tourists from Montreal, and lots of relaxing time for Ann & myself !!!

Thank you for joining me on this hike, and I believe that it certainly lived up to its "Premier Hike" rating & more, and hope you did too !!!

Happy Trails ☺
Karen D.

We had 11 who started the climb up Cirque Peak. Soon there was only 9 of us. Each moment, we kept turning around to see where the others were, and to keep an eye on the bears. As the ascent got higher, our focused turned towards getting up to the top. Thanks to Rick who checked our trail, ensured for safe crossings, and to all who took photos for eachother. The first wall we had to climb up was a bit hairy - but slow and careful steps was all it took to reach the flat, reddish, brown terrain. The climb up through the scree was harder than I imagined - foots slipping, second thoughts about "Should I quit or keep going?" I am sure I wasn't the only one with this thought. But stubborness pervailed for all and we made our way to the first peak. 5 of us continued on to the 2nd peak. I loe the photos taken across peaks! The worst of this hike was probably the last few KM's down to the cars. All in all, we ended up with sore muscles, red faces, mosquito bites, and big smiles for a great day!

Thanks to all who came out for a fantastic day!

Sibel K.