May 1st in Canada was Victoria Day this year. After a fairly mild winter, I was excited to be able to get out and go for a hike out in the mountains. Being the romantic I am, I figured what better way to celebrate the holiday than to head out to Victoria Glacier on Victoria Day. The icing on the cake is that my home state in Australia is Victoria. It’s enough Victoria to make you sick!
I decided I wanted an early start and so I camped out in the back of the Jeep the night before out in the carpark so I could beat the crowds. I love sleeping in the back of that thing. I usually have something to eat, do a bit of reading, listen to some music and have a beer or two. I took full advantage of being out there too by taking a few photos of Lake Louise in the middle of the night that you can see here.
Being spring time, the majority of the lake was still frozen but that didn’t stop taking a few snaps. Check out the mountains in the distance, the one in the centre that you can see is Mt. Lefroy. That is roughly where I would eventually hike to, just over 7 kms in the distance. The final distance return, being just over 14kms. My longest hike yet and one that left me a little sore but was totally worth it!
The walk around Lake Louise is a pleasant one, especially at that time of day. The lake can be so busy and crowded with tourists, climbers and hikers that it really was magical to walk around with barely anyone else there. The air was crisp and it looked like I was going to get in a really beautiful day. Below you can see the view from the other side of the lake, next to where the glacier meltwater runs into the lake. From that point, I did not see another person until on my way back hours later!
It wasn’t too bad of a hike, well for someone in the physical condition that I am in, it certainly gave the lungs the a bit of a workout but for any regular hiker, I would imagine it to be a piece of cake. The views along the way were spectacular. I loved the entrance way into the thick forest below. Slowly making my way towards the glacier it was a cool little part of the hike that I couldn’t help but take a photo of.
Once I got through the trees, I could see the start of the lower glacier. It was an awesome site, with huge moraines on either side of the valley where the once mighty glacier would have carved its way through the mountains. Th walk along the ridge line was tight with them towering a few hundred feet above the glacier below as you can see but it really was exhilarating! Mount Lefroy which was once in the distance was now drawing ever closer and for the first time, I could see these mountains are actually different to how they look from the shores of Lake Louise. The whole time as I walked along the ridge line, I was imagining just how mighty this glacier once was to leave such scars behind.
It was cool to look back on how far I had hiked. In the distance, I could see a frozen Lake Louise and the huge chateau now just a tiny little object in the distance.
Nearly there! Mount Lefroy to my left with the lower glacier covered in snow below and Upper Victoria Glacier straight ahead. Such an epic view!
The Death Trap and Abbot Pass pass separate Mount Lefroy and Mount Victoria with the Upper Glacier sitting on top. Would you believe me if I told you there is actually a hut that sits between the two mountains? Maybe another time I will have to try make my way out there…
I took this last photo on my hike back. If you look closely, you can see people just beginning to walk along the ridge line on the moraine. I thought it was a perfect way to show the sheer size of these mountains. A majority of the photos I feel just don’t show the pure magnitude of the mountains but those tiny little people illustrate it perfectly!
I am happy I got to go on this hike at the time of year I went. It was absolutely magical! Although in some spots, as you can see above there was some walking through snow but the majority of the hike was fairly well compacted which didn’t make it too difficult to walk through. It was only the last 1.5kms where I could tell only a couple of people had trekked to get to the final lookout where I found myself waist deep in snow. Not great after hiking a couple of hours but some very well needed exercise for this guy!
Looking forward to the next adventure!