Monday, 30 May 2016

Hiking with the amazing Andra and friends - Larch Trail.

To better enjoy the photos, please click on them to increase their size.

Most Monday mornings see me entranced by the trails hiked by Andra MacKnight and her friends, through her blog 'Making Waves'. This routine has been an important part of Monday mornings for the past 3 years. I 'oo' and 'ah' constantly as I read. I try to imagine following in her footsteps, as her words and photographs  transport me across the miles. Some mornings I think, 'Yes, I could hike there' and mostly I think, 'Not a chance.'

Saturday morning a car stopped in front of our accomodation in Banff. Had I not been at the gate, 5 people had planned to knock on the door and say, "Come hiking with us today." A dream come true! Thank you Andra, Darlene, Deborah, Leena and Ken, for making me so welcome.

As we drove the last 500 metres to the Morraine Lake car park, I was greeted by the spectacular view of some of the Peaks of the Valley of the Ten peaks. The stunning, blue green moraine lake awaited me at their base. It's impossible to capture the beauty of its colour with the camera lens. It is far brighter and brilliant as seen with the naked eye and is constantly changing with the sunlight.

Layering up!

Let the hike begin.
Darlene Andra, Deborah, Leena, Ken.

We immediately entered towering,  pine forest for the climb to Larch Valley. The well graded switchbacks allowed me to keep up with the group with not too many 'Help, I need a rest' cries. The pines were mostly thick, but occasionally we would catch a glimpse of the gorgeous colour of Moraine Lake and the snow capped peaks above them.
Ladybird insisted on playing in the first snow.

Soon after the fun loving Canadians joined in. They didn't have to be asked.

The higher we climbed the more snow we found and eventually had to hike through.

Not ours!

Our arrival in Larch Valley, heralded the end of the steep climbing and our view opened out to 360 degrees. My happiness metre had been high, but now it soared to new heights. I just didn't know where to look. I couldn't stop. We had to keep in a bunch for bear safety. It's a wonder I didn't stumble or fall, as I was most certainly not looking at where I was putting my feet as much as I should have been.

Five of the ten peaks, of the Valley of Ten Peaks.

Eiffel Peak - left. Pinnacle Mountain - right.

Finding a path to Upper Minnestimma Lake.

Let the post holing begin.

Yeah, we made it! Behind us is the zig zag path to Sentinel Pass. 

Andra set up her tripod  for our photo shoot.

When the playing was over, we sat in sunshine eating our lunch, with this jaw dropping view.

In a matter of minutes the sunshine was replaced by cloud.
Suddenly I was asking, 'Is that snow?'

It most certainly was. Such excitement for me!

Our descent commenced making new trail towards the lower lake. The majesty of the panorama before us, just filled me with awe and wonder.

A friend at home had asked me to make a snowman and snow angel for her.  Finding all this snow, I just had to take up the challenge.
Thanks for your help Darlene.
And Andra.

And still there was time to play.

The view in front and behind us was constantly changed by the mood of the weather Gods.

Time for some trail bashing.

Not forgetting to look back.

A last push through some thick young pines and we were back on trail, with fields of wildflowers and again glimpses of the memorising blue of Morraine Lake.

A final photo shoot on the 'Rock Pile', beside the lake, brought this sensational hike to its conclusion.

Andra loves to select a word as a theme for her hikes. Today it was 'orchestrate'. I am so grateful for her orchestration of all the elements of this hike, to bring me the 'hike of my dreams'. 
I would love to read your comment.

This is the link to Andra's wonderful blog.    I'm sorry you will have to copy and paste it wouldn't link for me!


  1. What a fun adventure! Moraine Lake is gorgeous - I would love to do some hiking around there. Great that you got to encounter snow and build a snowman too. And best of all, you got to meet a fellow blogging friend. :)

  2. Wow---- wonderful scenes, even with the wild and wacky participants. What a lot of fun!

  3. Helen I just read your post and then Alex's and was thrilled by both. I've made some wonderful friendships through blogging and can imagine how getting to actually meet Alex after you follow someone's blog for years was something very special indeed.

    Your story and photos are deightful And I LOVE that you took all these fun pics with the girls throughout the hike : they scream JOY, they celebrate life in a grand way. Glad you're getting to experience all this.

    PS - next time you travel you'll need to come hiking here in the Dentelles. I hope my photos make you want to badly enough :)

    1. Thank you Nathalie. It has been fantastic, especially meeting Andra and hiking this amazing trail.
      Your photos do make me want to visit, but the distance is so far. Time will tell.

  4. Helen, it felt like you belonged with us! It was great to share the day with you!

  5. Boa tarde, maravilhosa selecção de belas fotos do lindo passeio que desfrutou de muita beleza ao seu redor.
    Resto de boa semana,

  6. What an amazing scenery, Helen! You clearly had a wonderful hike, with great company and a lot of fun... not to mention the exercise and fresh air. :)
    Thank you for sharing!