With a splendid weather forecast on 21
September 2019, Teresa Kosmala, Zosia Zgolak and I ventured out to the
Lake Louise area of Alberta's Banff National Park to visit one of my
favourite places for viewing larches--Temple Lake. As we had done
on a previous trip,
we hiked up the decommissioned trail which starts at an unmarked pullout
along Moraine Lake Road. The crux of the trip was getting through
the barricade at the start of the road which is now the norm during
summer and early autumn. One of the workers manning the barricade
became irate with the occupants of the vehicle in front of us and began
shouting angrily to get them to go away and use the park's shuttle bus
system to access Moraine Lake. The occupants of the vehicle in
front of us persisted though, and eventually, the exasperated worker gave
up and let them through. We had much less hassle after simply
stating that we were NOT going to Moraine Lake.
The actual hike to Temple Lake was less dramatic. Some deadfall
near the start present some minor challenges, but overall, the trail is
still easy to follow. The golden larches surrounding the lake were
at the height of their splendor, and we spent about 1.5 hours relaxing on
the northern shore in the warm sunshine. Although a couple of other
hikers joined us briefly later on, we pretty much had Temple Lake all to
ourselves. Besides the couple at the lake, we saw a photographer
who was on his way out during our approach and another couple who were
just starting up the trail during our return. This was in stark
contrast to the hordes of tourists at Moraine Lake which we briefly
visited after our hike. As we were leaving, I remarked that I did
not feel the need to return to Moraine Lake for another twenty years (or
ever!). Temple Lake, on the other hand, is well worth repeated
visits as long as it remains relatively obscure to the masses.
Zosia and Teresa climb up the decommissioned trail alongside the outlet
stream for Temple Lake.
||Zosia and Teresa duck under some
deadfall on the lower parts of the trail.
||The forest begins to open up next to
||Golden larches are scattered all over
the southeastern slopes of
stands high above Temple Lake.
||Zosia, Sonny and Teresa gather for a
group photo in front of some larches along the shore of Temple Lake.
Golden larches are reflected in Temple Lake.
Zosia and Teresa are awed by the beautiful scenery at Temple Lake.
More golden larches are reflected in Temple Lake.
||Teresa and Zosia hike back out the
Distance: 5.7 kilometres
Round-Trip Time: 4 hours 3 minutes
Net Elevation Gain: 307 metres
||Here is a view of
Tower of Babel
from the west shore of Moraine Lake.
of Zosia Zgolak