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Author Topic: Looking back part 3: Canadian Rockies (1977-...)  (Read 1300 times)

Eric Myrvaagnes

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Looking back part 3: Canadian Rockies (1977-...)
« on: June 07, 2020, 05:58:25 pm »

In the late 1960s I was a graduate student at Tufts University. My dissertation advisor was a logician and a mountain climber, and while I was writing my dissertation he mentioned that he would be away for a few months as he had been chosen to be on a Mount Everest expedition. His expedition failed, as many do, but he came back many months later alive, for which I was grateful.

Having seen many of the world's best wilderness areas, I believed him when he said that Lake Oesa in the Canadian Rockies was the most beautiful mountain lake he had ever seen.

Based on that recommendation, my wife and I planned a three-week trip to the Canadian Rockies for the summer of 1977. Later I will post some images from our favorite park, Yoho National Park, which we returned to in 1987 (with our ten-year-old son) and again in 2004.

I will eventually post six  sections to this thread:  1.  Floe Lake backpack, 2. Lake Louise vicinity, 3. Wiwaxy Gap at Lake O'Hara, 4. Lake O'Hara in Yoho National Park, 5. Lakes Oesa and Mcarthur, and 6. Twin Falls Chalet in the Yoho Valley.
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Looking back part 3: Canadian Rockies (1977-...) (Pix reprocessed)
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2020, 06:03:33 pm »

1.  Floe Lake backpack

Our 1977 trip started with a three-day backpack to Floe Lake in Kootenay National Park. There is now a backcountry campground and Warden's Cabin at the north end of the lake. There were no such amenities when we were there, and the vegetation has changed considerably since a major forest fire struck the area in 2003.

Here is Floe Lake and the towering headwall in 1977, and the view north from Numa Pass, a short dayhike from the lake.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2020, 12:10:30 pm by Eric Myrvaagnes »
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RSL

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Re: Looking back part 3: Canadian Rockies (1977-...)
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2020, 07:39:19 pm »

Good shooting, Eric. Interesting stuff.
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schertz

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Re: Looking back part 3: Canadian Rockies (1977-...)
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2020, 07:50:36 pm »

When I visited Banff/Jasper/Yoho last summer, lake O'Hara and the hike up to lake Oesa were my favourite part of the entire trip, even though it was a bit challenging with a grumpy 6 year old in tow. I'm looking forward to seeing your images and how the area has changed over time.

-Mike
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Looking back part 3: Canadian Rockies (1977-...)
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2020, 08:02:21 pm »

Thanks Russ and Mike.

I'll have the next installment up in a couple of days.

-Eric
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Re: Looking back part 3: Canadian Rockies (1977-...) (Revised)
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2020, 05:05:05 pm »

2.   Lake Louise vicinity

We did some dayhikes in several of the nearby National Parks: Banff, Jasper, Kootenay, Yoho, as well as Glacier and Mount Revelstoke. Our favorites were Lake Louise in Banff National Park  and Yoho National Park.

Here ia a sampling of the Lake Louise area: Vermillion Lake, somewhere nearby, Moraine Lake (corrected) (it really is that color,) the Valley of the Ten Peaks.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2020, 12:43:50 pm by Eric Myrvaagnes »
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Re: Looking back part 3: Canadian Rockies (1977-...) (revised)
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2020, 05:06:38 pm »

Climbers on the Columbia Ice Field, and nearby misty scenes.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2020, 12:46:40 pm by Eric Myrvaagnes »
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schertz

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Re: Looking back part 3: Canadian Rockies (1977-...)
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2020, 05:54:11 pm »

(Set2):
An interesting look at the vermilion lakes, almost everyone points their camera in the other direction towards Rundle, so it's nice to see a different interpretation. Your "Emerald Lake" image is actually Moraine Lake from the rock pile. The second image is from the Lake O'Hara area in Yoho, taken from around Little Odaray looking towards Lake Oesa with Mount Yukness in the centre. In your last image, the light on Mount Babel is gorgeous, simply stunning.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2020, 08:38:22 pm by schertz »
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schertz

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Re: Looking back part 3: Canadian Rockies (1977-...)
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2020, 05:55:17 pm »

I really like the last image of your third set!
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guido

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Re: Looking back part 3: Canadian Rockies (1977-...)
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2020, 07:22:42 am »

Beautiful work Eric! Thanks so much for sharing it with us!
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RSL

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Re: Looking back part 3: Canadian Rockies (1977-...)
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2020, 09:19:14 am »

+ Many
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Looking back part 3: Canadian Rockies (1977-...)
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2020, 10:22:42 am »

Thanks, folks.

And thanks for the corrections, Schertz. My notes aren't that detailed, and my memory ain't what it used to be. Future corrections will be appreciated, too. I gather you have spent time in the lovely Lake O'Hara region more recently than I have. I'd love to see some of your photos of that area.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2020, 12:48:31 pm by Eric Myrvaagnes »
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Looking back part 3: Canadian Rockies (1977-...) (revised)
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2020, 10:27:02 am »

More Canadian Rockies.

3.   Lake O'Hara --- Wiwaxy Gap

We then spent a week camping near Lake O'Hara. Lake O'Hara is a beautiful lake, surrounded by mountains and several high-level mountain lakes, including Lake Oesa. On one of our first dayhikes we encountered a park ranger whom we asked about trails to Lake Oesa. He saw the way we were equipped and clearly thought we were more experienced mountain hikers than we were, so he suggested we take the "Alpine" (i.e., for serious hikers only) trail by way of Wiwaxy gap. The trail, about one foot wide, went up a 40-degree talus slope until we finally got to the col (elevation gain = 495 meters or 1624 feet.)

The first picture shows Lake O'Hara as viewed from Opabin Plateau.
The next shows Wiwaxy Gap at the top, a bit of Lake O'Hara at the bottom, and the beginning switchbacks of the trail to Wiwaxy, starting at the lower left corner of the image.
The third is a view back toward Wiwaxy from the tril leading down to Lake Oesa, and the last image is the view from Wiwaxy Gap in the general direction of Lake Louise.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2020, 12:52:06 pm by Eric Myrvaagnes »
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Looking back part 3: Canadian Rockies (1977-...) (revised)
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2020, 10:34:57 am »

4.   Lake O'Hara
There is a superb lodge on the shore of Lake O'Hara. On our first visit, we camped in the nearby campground, but had one excellent breakfast in the lodge. The next two trips we stayed in the lodge, making our reservations a year in advance.

The first image is looking up toward Opabin Plateu, from Lake O'Hara. The second is of a small lake on Opabin Plateau. The third is looking down at Lake O'Hara (on the right) and other nearby lakes. The fourth is a stream running down from Opabin to O'Hara.

« Last Edit: June 23, 2020, 01:00:32 pm by Eric Myrvaagnes »
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Re: Looking back part 3: Canadian Rockies (1977-...)
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2020, 10:36:18 am »

Some truly wonderful stuff, Eric. Love the light in that last one.
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Looking back part 3: Canadian Rockies (1977-...) (revised)
« Reply #15 on: June 09, 2020, 10:37:07 am »

Thanks, Russ. Here is more:

The first image is my wife and son looking down at the Morning Glory Lakes from well above Lake O'Hara. The second is an avalanche near Lake O'Hara,  the third is another look back at Wiwaxy Gap, and the last is another avalanche, this one at the rear of Lake Louise..
« Last Edit: June 23, 2020, 01:03:58 pm by Eric Myrvaagnes »
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schertz

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Re: Looking back part 3: Canadian Rockies (1977-...)
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2020, 12:39:38 pm »

A beautiful set of photographs from an amazing wilderness. The area looks almost exactly the same there as when we went last summer (although 40 years is just a blink geologically speaking). We weren't able to get a spot at the O'Hara lodge, but were lucky enough to snag a ride in on the school bus for a day trip. With two kids in tow (and my wife a bit afraid of heights) we took the more direct route up to Lake Oesa using the switchbacks shown in your CR77_15 image above (the route to the Wiwaxy gap goes up earlier along that avalanche path seen to the left in CR77_26). That path was way too challenging for us, but the direct route to Oesa was ok. We didn't get a chance to explore the Opabin plateau last time, but it's on our bucket list for the next trip.
Great catch on the avalanche!
Cheers,
Mike
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Looking back part 3: Canadian Rockies (1977-...)
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2020, 02:30:25 pm »

After that first adventure using the Wiwaxy Gap trail to get to Oesa in 1977, we took the direct route in both 1987 and 2004.

Opabin Plateau is a good hike and a fine area to explore. The hike up is steep but short, with no great exposure, and one can wander around lakes and nice scenery before descending again. The hike out to Lake Mcarthur is longer, but fairly easy, and the lake is a fine one.

Now might be a good time to reserve at Lake O'Hara Lodge for next summer. But it might already be too late.
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Re: Looking back part 3: Canadian Rockies (1977-...) (modified)
« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2020, 07:44:17 pm »

6.   Twin Falls Chalet

After finishing our stay near ake O'Hara, we did a long day hike up the Yoho River Valley to the Twin Falls Chalet (then a Teahouse) near Twin Falls. We had tea and home-baked goodies and learned that there were several bunk rooms that one could reserve for an overnight stay. On the first trip we returned via the Highline Trail, and for our next two trips we reserved places at the tea house.
By the third trip the Highline Trail had been closed and a new trail, even higher, called the Iceline Trail took us back to our car at Takakkaw Falls. This trail skirted just under the edges of several small glaciers, and provided magnificent views.

We learned that the Chalet had been owned and operated for many years by an elderly but lively woman named Fran Drummond, whom we guessed to be in her 70s when we first visited. I just checked on the web and learned that as of 2019, Fran was still operating the Chalet, while a young relative (niece?) handled reservations. The Chalet website is no longer up, so I expect the pandemic has closed the Chalet, at least for the coming season.

Photos: Twin Falls; the Chalet; Fran Drummond--proprietor of the Chalet since the early 1960s; and a nearby walk,
« Last Edit: June 23, 2020, 01:12:55 pm by Eric Myrvaagnes »
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Re: Looking back part 3: Canadian Rockies (1977-...) (revised)
« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2020, 07:46:02 pm »

A view of Trolltinder Mountain across th Yoho Valley from the Chalet; the same mountain plus a visitor; a bridge over the stream above Twin Falls at the start of a day hike; A downpour occurred while we were hiking, and this is what it looked like when we had to cross back.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2020, 01:15:14 pm by Eric Myrvaagnes »
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