Banff, Banff NP, Alberta – Avalanche in the Rockies

For today we planned a hike to Aylmer Lookout. Initially we follow Lake Minnewanka shoreline. The name means “Spirit Lake”. The entire route shall be 24 km long and include an elevation gain of 560 m. Unfortunately it is not enough to double this number to find out the covered altitude difference. The first eight kilometres are a constant up and down; there is not even one even metre. After that it is just a steep mountain. When the mountain path leaves the lake a sign warns us from grizzly bears and pleads for highest attention. Today, we’ll not see one. Instead we are witnessing an avalanche. A not ending thunder sounds. Fortunately we are at the only place with good view to the mountains on the other side of the valley. From the top a snow slab slopes into the depth, sweeping away melting water and rock, and lands with a crash hundreds of metres deeper. We understand now very well why parts of Banff National Park are still closed. Arriving at the peak we know that all the stresses and strains were worth it. The view to the lake and the surrounding mountains is magnificent. An ice-cold wind blows around our noses. There is not too much wildlife today besides the charming golden-mantled ground squirrels that skilfully dig up mushrooms from the ground. We are somehow motivated during the four kilometres downhill. The ongoing up and down along the lake becomes long, longer, too long. But there’s no taxi waiting for us, we have to return on foot. Arminius is awaiting us eagerly.

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