Thursday, July 22, 2010

Okey dokey, Skoki!

I've been wanting to hike into the Skoki Valley north of Lake Louise for quite some time. Kilometres of sub-alpine meadows, dotted with lakes, surrounded by amazing rocky peaks... to me it sounds like a hiker's dream. And guess what... I found out first hand that it is!!

The weather has been really hit-and-miss here in Canmore, so on a whim, I called up Skoki Lodge on Monday to see what the chances were of staying there one night this week. Well how's my luck when the lady said they did indeed have a cancellation - Tuesday night was available! Yeah! Since Todd is still nursing his shoulder and climbing is out of the picture at the moment (read: I am dragging him hiking with me every chance I can!), we put together super-light daypacks and headed out Tuesday morning to catch the shuttle.


Yes, that's right, a shuttle. If you are a paying guest at the lodge, you get to hop in a van and cruise up the first four nasty kilometres of the Temple fire road instead of slogging up it. I tell you, that in itself was probably worth the cost of the excursion!! Then you depart from the Temple Lodge (back side of the ski hill) on a well-marked trail, and in about 30 minutes you are out in the open, enjoying stellar views!

We stopped at Deception Pass and made a scrambling attempt on Fossil Mountain... but recent snowfall made for wet, slippery scree and we encountered a snow gulley about two-thirds of the way up that I was not comfortable crossing... so we came back down and continued on to the lodge.


The lodge hosts had an awesome lunch waiting for us when we got there, so we gorged ourselves and then had to lay down and rest for awhile!


Just before supper, the skies cleared up a bit and we made a quick trip up Skoki Mountain. The views from the top are fabulous and it is definitely a must-do if you are ever there.

Then we sat around and had a couple of beers before the incredible dinner, and we met and visited with some of the other folks who were enjoying this backcountry bliss. Yesterday morning we got up and filled our bellies with an unbelievably yummy breakfast, then packed up some lunch and headed out on the return trip. Instead of travelling back the way we came in, we went east over Jones Pass and Cotton Grass Pass and came around to Baker Lake.


We stopped at Ptarmigan Lake to eat our sandwiches and Todd took a quick dip in the not-even-remotely warm water... crazy man... And once we got to Boulder Pass, we cut across to Hidden Lake and then rejoined the main trail at Halfway Hut.

In total, we covered roughly 36km and gained/lost 1500m of elevation in about 12 hours of liesurely hiking over the two days. And we didn't even get rained on - not significantly, anyway! It was fantastic!!



Anonymous said...

wOW !, WHO WOULD EVER THINK THERE WAS SUCH GORGEOUS SCENERY ,BACK IN THE MOUNTAIN RANGE,,HOW DO YOU FIND THESE EXCURSIONS,?your pictures are fabulous and one of a kind !what a way to spend 2 days off,,,,cheerio,,,dunkster,,,

Anonymous said...

open i d would not take Tried to comment on todd's blog ,but would not take,,I was wondering ,was that a SASKQUATCH, wading in the lake ?? never know what you will see in the BACK COUNTRY !! ,,, dunkster,,,

Cheryle said...

Ha ha!! Saskquatch - that's funny!! Well his feet are almost as big, that's for sure.

Cliff said...

thanks for blocking out that embar-ass-ing photo! LOL