Saturday, June 06, 2015

Bourgeau Lake

This weekend's climbing/hiking program was kind of screwed again. I have not been able to do a decent, lovely and joyful hike/scramble since I left Utah. The original plan was to go up Mt. Allan in Kananaskis. I read everything and prepared the information and even was ready to print the map but at the last moment I realized that the trail had been closed until June.21 because apparently this is Big Horn Sheep lambing season. Good for them!
I then switched the program to Bourgeau Lake/Mountain in Banff National Park, another hike that I had been wanting to do for a long time. I problems with this one were two, maybe even more: First of all I had to drop The Lady at her work. So by the time I reached the trail-head it was almost 10:30, at least 04:30 hours later than my usual commencement time. Then there's this entry fee to the park. Some $19. I wouldn't mind paying that much but that is good for a day and a half not a short hike up to a lake in between mountains and a solo hike.
Starting late has not always been a problem for me but at times was. In Lost Dutchman State Park I failed to reach to the summit mainly due to late start which caused heat exhaustion. On the other hand I did Middle Sister in the exact same fashion last year although I got lost and was not able to find the trail-head for 1 whole hour at the beginning. of the trip.
Anyways I parked the vehicle and went through a gate which Parks Canada has put to prevent wildlife coming out of the forest and hit the trail at the specified time. The first 55 minutes of the hike is in the forest and there's absolutely nothing exciting about it. You gain a little elevation and you have the chance to listen to singing birds and look at some beautiful tiny flowers. That's all. That's where you reach a bridge and then go back to the forest. There are a few nice waterfalls on the way with the biggest one closer to the lake but unfortunately I don't have a nice shot of them. After almost 2 hours yours a beautiful meadow and the geology of the area changes. I immediately realized that I have reached the lake. It was just less than 10 min. to see the partially frozen lake. 
Chipmunks are the permanent residents of the Rockies. They are familiar with human beings due to their frequent trips of them and they are at times are fed by them which is said is not something right to do. There were three of them around me when I got elevated a bit to have a shot of the lake and surrounding, sniffing the backpack and my boots (like this one) with the hope for a little bit of snack. I didn't give them anything though.
The lake itself and the surrounding is very beautiful. It beats the hell of both Rockbound Lake and Lillian Lake that I did them both last year but its hike is easier than both of them. The benefit of going to Bourgeau Lake is just after 2 hours you have a beautiful area to see and then you can continue from Harvey Pass and go to either or both of Harvey Lake and Mt. Bourgeau. I made excuses of being late and having snow on the path and didn't go. What I did what I tried to circle around and go to the end of the lake but I guess I was not feeling well because I ended up at the exact same spot! Then I thought I had time: Let me get up a bit and have a shot of the whole lake. So I climbed up a bit and the result is seen in the main photo. I guess it was almost 02:00 PM that I started descending. Nothing specific on the way back. Just ran to a young German couple whom I had also met on the way up but we did the last half an hour or so together and chatted. Ideally Bourgeau Lake is not a very impressive hike until you get to the lake itself and it will be a good hike only if you combine it with Mt. Bourgeau's. But it's me. I wanted to get out of the town for the day and get a little exercise and I did. 
(Photo, top: Bourgeau Lake form it's northeastern corner. Harvey Pass, which is not seen easily in this photo, is located above the trees and goes up and to the left to get you to the summit of Mt. Bourgeau which I'm hoping to reach one day, not that's it'll be so far-fetched)

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