Mon, Jun 22 2009 - Lake O'Hara Early Season Day Hike - Yoho Nt'l Park (View Original Event Details)

Event Coordinator(s): Ed, Karen D
Participants:Kelsy, Ed, Karen D, Frank C, Hannah

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Write Up:
It turned out to be a great weather day for this event !!! I was worried as the weather network was forecasting snow for Field this past weekend, and that the trail report indicated snowbound, poor, and several trails not recommended. The weather was cool, light rain with a few sunny blips in the day !

We all met at the Lake O’Hara bus parking lot. We arrived there about 9:30a.m., to find many others were already there. None of us wanted to take any chances missing the 10:30 bus with all the road construction between Castle Junction & Lake Louise !!!

Based on the recommendation of the Warden, we hiked to Lake Oesa thru the valley floor. We started our hike on the shoreline of Lake O’Hara. Only Ed & I have been here before, and our other fellow hikers were in awe of this natural beauty !!!! We hiked ¾ of the shoreline till our fork in the road for Lake Oesa. We started our moderate incline thru the trees. We finally got out of the trees, and saw Victoria Falls ahead in the distance. They are so pretty !!! As we reached them, we encountered other hikers. In the summer, you will see a few artists with their easels painting the falls along this part of the trail. We past Victoria Lake, and slowly made our way up and over another ridge and reached our destination – Lake Oesa !!! At this time of year, the lake is still frozen, and is surrounded by lots of snow, and lots above it waiting for warmer temperatures to melt into the lake. We had lunch on one of the many large flat rocks, and it began to rain – a constant light rain unfortunately. But that didn’t dissuade us, we sat there with our raingear and had a short lunch as it began to get cold (well, actually our bodies cooled down from the exercise and the cool rain accelerated it !). We started our way back and got just beyond sight of the Lake around a towering rock, when all of us heard this loud thunder ! Hannah was the last hiker in our group and was the first one to see saw the small little avalanche far up above Lake Oesa on the other side ! The rest of us turned around and got in front of the rock where Hannah was, and we all witnessed it !! It lasted a long time, we all got some good pictures of this event !!

Once we got back to Lake O’Hara shoreline, it was 14:30, and we had plenty of time before catching the 16:30 bus. Ed suggested that we start hiking toward Lake McArthur and turn around when time ran out, or trail conditions became poor. We hiked thru the Alpine Meadow, past Elizabeth Parker Hut, all the way to Schäffer Lake. The trail had some snow patches, but mostly clear & muddy !! Shäffer Lake looked glorious surrounded with some snow, but the lake was mostly unfrozen ! We took some pictures and started our return to “Le Relais”. A few of us had some hot drinks & snacks from Le Relais.

We stopped for supper at the Juniper Hotel & Bistro (formerly Timberline Hotel)at the Norquay exit in Banff. Great company & gourmet food made for the perfect ending to our early season hike at Lake O’Hara !!!

Thank you for joining me on my visit to Jewel of the Canadian Rockies !!!

Encounters on the trail/event: Wonderful wonderful wonderful views, small avalanche far far far far way, other hikers & families, snow, ice, cloudy skies, sunny skies, light rain, light hail, beautiful tiny wildflowers, and lots of smiles !!!! A little additional note: On the way to the event, I saw a bear on the CP tracks just past Lake Louise, and so did many others who stopped their vehicles to create a “bear jam” on the hwy. I pulled over about a km later, and reported the sighting to Parks Canada – remember all bear & cougar sightings should be reported to Park’s Emergency Dispatch.

Happy Trails :)
Karen D.