Moraine Lake

July 30 , 2008

Leaving Lake Louise, we backtracked to the turnoff to Moraine Lake and drove the 10km there without seeing another vehicle except a service truck headed for Moraine Lodge. We arrived about 7am, so not too many other folks were up at that time.

We had a look at the beautiful blue lake and decided to have breakfast in view of it at the Moraine Lodge. Our waiter was from Australia and was planning to go to Chile in October. We have met an interesting array of young people in service in the national park for the season.

By the time we had finished breakfast the rain had stopped and there was actually some sun on the peaks. It was about 40F so it was quite cool - we were glad we had sweatshirts in the backpack. The blue of the water and the white glaciers up on the mountain were awe inspiring. There was actually a dusting of new snow on the peaks from this morning's storm which brought rain to the valley where we were.

This view of the lake includes four peaks of the famous "ten peaks view" of this location.

We set off rejoicing and praising the Lord for the beautiful setting and the privilege to walk along the lakeshore path. We walked as far as we could toward the waterfall at the far end of the lake. It was a time of reverie. The glaciers high on the mountains were gleaming white and the new snow above them added to the beauty.

Below is a telephoto shot of the high glacier shown in the view at right. Above the glacier is a new dusting of snow brought in by the storm that we had early this morning.

We saw two ducks near the shore, diving for food and quite accepting of our presence.

We saw the ducks do multiple dives in the clear water, and you can see that the water beads up on this duck's back after the dive. The phrase "like water off a duck's back" was in operation before our eyes.

The path led along the lake shore with continuous views of the big peaks and glaciers above us. There were lots of small streams flowing into the lake. For our trip out, we had the trail to ourselves at about 8am. We met people from several countries on the way back in.

I was intriqued with the structure of the high hanging glaciers. That's not a thing we see very often. After the early storms, we were pleased to see a little blue sky, and you can see evidence of the light dusting of new snow above the glacier.

Zooming in on one of the high hanging glaciers, it was interesting to see the structure of the ice.

Zooming in a little more, you can see even more structure. You can also begin to see the subtle blue color of the bottom of the glacial ice.

We enjoyed the walk down the length of the lake toward the falls and stream which flowed into the far end of the lake.

After seeing the falls above and the fast-flowing creek entering the lake, we wanted to get closer to the falls. We headed out on an apparently well-traveled trail, but encountered downed trees as shown above. Then after we forded three or four small creeks, it became evident that this was not an intended trail and that this whole end of the valley near the falls was a network of small streams. We gave up getting to the falls, but had enjoyed the whole process and gotten good views of the blue lake.

On the walk back the clouds were changing rapidly. At times we got a little blue in the sky as well as the water. There were lots of nice streams tumbling over rocks to the lake.

When we got back to the parking area about 10 there were three tour buses and lots of cars. It had rained lightly at times and the clouds where changing rapidly on the peaks. At the parking lot, it was actually hailing!

Morraine Lake has inspiring views in all directions. The view of the new snow on the peaks at left was taken from the now-crowded parking lot. The majestic peaks and the unspoiled green forest really lifted your spirit.

It cleared off again and we decided to walk up to the morraine end of the lake, the place that we had enjoyed so much on our 1995 trip and had taken pictures we have enjoyed since. It was again beautiful and we made more pictures. It was by this time a pretty busy place with people from the tour buses and at least one organized tour group up on the trail. The very international group was very friendly and we enjoyed the fellowship with them.

Further along the trail, we encountered our old friends the Clark's nutcrackers that we had enjoyed so much at Crater Lake.

We had seen and heard Clark's nutcrackers at Mt. Edith Cavell, but I couldn't get close to them. Here they were quite friendly.

This is a view higher up on the trail at the eastern morraine end of the lake. This photo was taken for us by an young Italian couple with whom we had talked earlier on the western trail. They were covering the trails as thoroughly as we were.

This is a composite view of part of the trail up onto the morraine. It had regions of huge boulders, and regions of just a jumble of smaller rocks, characteristic of morraines. This whole end of the lake is presumably the terminal morraine of a previous glacier that reached this far. Nearly always we were in view of the beautiful blue color of Morraine Lake.

Brenda on the jumble of rock that forms the terminal morraine from which Morraine Lake draws its name. At right is anothe view of the lake from that morraine.

It was probably snowing on the top of the mountain as we took this picture. It was certainly a magical view to us - not something we get to see often. The new dusting of snow had come down in this morning's storm to add to the snow patches that were already there.

Returning to the Morraine Lodge, Brenda got a cup of coffee while I walked back down the lakeside trail a bit to take some flower closeups. We stayed until almost noon at this beautiful lake and it was a time of great joy for us.

Wildflowers of the Morraine Lake area

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