Sunday, July 31, 2016

Cirque Peak, Not a Bad Hike

I and The Hope had this discussion as what hike we should do this weekend and although he's a little bit, maybe more than a bit(!), crazy, I wanted to go with him. This time he said he was about to rent out his house, sell his car and go back to the old country(!) and for that reason he could not bring his car! Fair enough. I drive mine this time, I said. After all he has driven his BMW X1 every time we went for a hike and I think he felt a little abused, maybe! Then we got into my vehicle and hit Highway # 1 to get ourselves to Icefield Parkway and do Cirque Peak hike and he goes: I forgot my wallet! I knew right away that it was a plan. He probably thought he had spent too much every time we went out and now wanted me to compensate! 
Anyways we left his place in NW part of the city at about 07:35 and by the time I pulled into the parking lot for the hike, it was almost 10:00. We geared up quickly and the place was almost full. Icefield Parkway is a beautiful road and attracts lots of tourists, especially if it's a long weekend. We crossed the road and there was a large group which we later found out was ... . A group which mainly consist of Oriental, old fart Caucasians and refugees from Africa. They, as the fucking name suggests, are slow and create a mess in the area they arrive by making noise, load laughing by ridiculous accents which you barely understand them, littering and other stupid stuff which is expected from this type of people. However I'm not too concerned about them. We put them behind and started our hike at almost 10:10. The trail has a fairly easy start and then becomes a little steep. That's were you finally reach meadows and you can see Dolomite Peaks, an amazing mountain seen on your right when you're going to west on the trail. The trails was not very busy but there were a few people ahead of us and surprisingly a small group of Chinese! The Hope was a little behind and I waited for him when I reached this pothole called Helen Lake! Majority of the people end their hike at this place and sit for a lunch. The Hope, looking at his GPS system on his telephone told me that it was not the lake but I told him I had seen holes smaller than that in Canada being called lake! 
We then continued and got ourselves to the ridge.
This was taken form the true summit of Cirque Peak, looking almost at north. All that could be seen was a sea of mountains. It stretches to Highway # 11 or David Thomson Highway which we enjoyed being there a few weeks before this trip. 
When you get to the ridge you realize that this is probably the only hard part of the hike. The ridge is pretty steep but easy to walk on until the last, perhaps, 100 meters to the summit. I looked back and realized The Hope was way behind but I didn't want to stop, not even for photography. It would be much better opportunities on the top, I told myself. I finally reached the first summit and checked my watch: 03:02 hours. Not bad, I assume. The true summit which is only a few feet higher than the false summit is only a few minutes away. I then went there and took a few photos. Then I returned to the false summit and waited for The Hope. He arrived 15 minutes after my arrival. We didn't spent too much time there and headed down after only a few photos. He didn't even go to the true summit which is not a big deal but I always want to reach the very top, if I spend 3 hours on a trail. We headed down and he was behind again and after only 10 minutes the storm started. It was first light rain and then turned to thunder, heavy rain and finally hail! I waited for The Hope at the main stream and when he reached me, we continued together. Sun came out but it didn't last long and hail and rain started again! This time we were socked! Water reached my underwear and I couldn't do anything. This happened once again and by the time we reached the car, dogs and cats were coming down! We didn't even got the chance to change and slid in the car! 
I stopped at a cafe in Lake Louise based on his request, for a cup of tea. I wondered why he insisted so much by saying: Let's go to Tim Horton's in Lake Louise! I knew there was no Tim Horton's there but quickly grasped that he wanted me to pay for a tea, so he can drink it with a sandwich he had made the night before. We got to this place called Laggan's Mountain Bakery, located at the main plaza when you turn to Lake Louise main road. It was not packed but not bad for a long weekend. They have pastry, cookies, coffee, tea, sandwiches and stuff like that. I got two large cups of tea for $5 something and he had it with sandwich. I got myself nothing but the tea but the tea, a green one, was good. We were not comfortable because our cloths were wet and the doors of the place at both ends were wide open and breath were blowing to us. In addition to that sitting in a cafe with all mouth-watering but not-so-healthy food, after a 6.5 hour hike is not very appealing! 
If I,m asked to rate Cirque Peak hike, I would say it's a nice hike, worth trying. It's a bit far away from Calgary and for me it would have been a waste of time, had I stopped at the pothole, called Helen Lake and not hiked to the summit. The view are amazing, probably one of the best I have ever seen in Alberta. In addition to that I found Dolomite Peaks trail-head and I'm hoping one day I can do that as well.
(Photo: Cirque Peak seen before getting to the ridge. I guess it's probably 1 hour and a few minutes from here)

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