Plain of 6 Glaciers Walk and Tea House
20th September 2012, Alberta, Canada
There was a subtle difference to the morning of Thursday 20th September 2012; we'd woken up in a tent, again, still in Canada (Lake Louise Camp-site in the Alberta Rockies to be precise) and it was cold, about zero again, but promised to be clear and hot (around 28C) - the difference today was that I woke up with an incredibly painful back. I have no idea how I managed to do whatever I did to my back but needless to say that thoughts of total inactivity and reading book after book on my kindle were running through my mind!
After a painful breakfast and probably too many Ibuprofen we decided to head back to Lake Louise and to walk the "moderate" 5.5km (each way) walk up to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House with a possible extension to get a closer view of the Victoria Glacier.
|Looking back to Chateau Lake Louise|
|The sun rising over Lake Louise|
Before reaching the tea house you have to make your way across a fairly narrow ledge and a steel rope has been bolted to the rock face and runs along the length of the ledge to aid walkers - not really necessary in the summer but in claggy or snowy weather this would be essential to ensure the safety of walkers.
Looking down to the left as you walk further up the trail you can see the debris covered glacier that, at first glance, looks like a rough gravel path but on closer inspection the ice of the glacier can be seen through the cracks.
It was standing here, in the eerie silence created by the surrounding mountains, that I saw (and heard) one of the most amazing sights from my whole Canadian trip - tonnes of snow and ice falling from the glacier to crash down on to the rocks a few hundred feet below. About 20 seconds after watching this in silence the roar and thunder reaches your ears and can still be heard after the snow has settled on the rocks below.
It's amazing, and slightly worrying, to think that the ice and snow that has been attached to that glacier for thousands of years is slowly crumbling away into the valley below and you can really get a feel for the true force of nature.
|Abbott pass - affectionately called "Deathtrap"|
|Sub-Alpine near the Tea House|
Stopping at the tea house itself is a definite must and sitting on the decked veranda drinking hot chocolate and eating apple pie was bliss.
The tea house itself was built, in 1924, by Swiss guides and stands at 2100m above sea level. There is no electric or mains services here and everything is cooked on gas stoves with the main stores for the whole season being dropped in by helicopter at the start of the year. Staff (who live there during the week) have to hike in, or bring in on horseback, any other dry or fresh goods that are needed.
|Hot chocolate & Apple Pie - hiking fuel!|