August 11, 2017
The toddler at the neighboring campsite only woke up screaming once last night, so thank goodness for small mercies. That family packed up and left today.
Our plan was to hike up to Lake McArthur and then, if we felt up to it, circle back to the lake via the All Soul’s route over to the Opabin Plateau and then down the West Opabin Trail. We set off up the Alpine Meadow Trail and soon reached the meadow. The Elizabeth Parker Hut is located here. Visitors can stay there, but it’s so immensely popular that reservations are done by lottery. I can see why one would want to stay in the hut. Mountain views abound in all directions:
After the meadow we passed Schaffer Lake:
The outlet was all dried up:
Around the other side of the lake a patch of snow still lingered:
There were some wildflowers along the trail:
The trail climbed up above Schaffer Lake and at one point we could look down on it:
Mt. Owen and Odaray Mountain:
Almost to the lake, hiking through pasque flowers:
I see the lake!
We found a nice spot on the shore to hang out, enjoy the view, and dip our feet on this very warm day. We heard loons a few times while we were sitting there, which was SUPER cool because we don’t have loons in Oregon.
We were quite entertaining by a determined ground squirrel who was determined to get some free food, but he struck out with us:
Greg’s nice zoom shots of our visitor:
We had decided not to do the All Soul’s route and just make this an out-and-back hike to McArthur. So after a few hours hanging out by the lake we put our boots back on and headed back down:
Greg stayed behind at a rockslide on the trail to watch for pikas and I hiked back to Lake O’Hara
Schaffer Lake again, in afternoon light:
I got a popsicle from the day shelter and sat on a bench by the lake admiring the scenery and reading:
We ate our last dinner and then broke open the chocolate for dessert. After sitting in the hot bear-proof locker for several days it was a tad soft and we had to eat it with a spoot. Still tasted GREAT!
After dinner we walked back up to the lake to hear a talk on grizzly bears at the shelter. I got an evening shot of the lake beforehand:
The grizzly bear talk was SUPER fascinating. It was done by Steve Michel, a Resource Management Officer for Banff National Park. It was interesting to hear about the evolution of human attitudes towards bears. It used to be pretty much “kill all bears.” Now bears are threatened in Alberta and they do everything they can to protect bears. A lot of effort goes into educating the clueless humans so that bears don’t become habituated to human garbage, for example. He did a TEDx talk back in 2013 where he talks about some of this: