This post belongs to the first series of hikes, which is a 11-day backpacking trip from Kananaskis, along the Continental Divide to Yoho National Park. Today's post covers the fifth day.
Howard Douglas Lake to Egypt Lake
18km – 8 hours – moderate – closest town: Banff, AB
Elevation gain - 440 m (1,450 ft).
[1 -Leaving Howard Douglas Lake and Citadel Peak]
[2 –Over Quartz Hill]
[3- Rock Isle Lake]
[4 –Sunshine Meadows]
The hiker now enters the vast undulating subalpine flower filled Sunshine Meadows, through which runs the Great Divide. This is vulnerable, much-visited terrain, so it is important to stay on the trail, which, as the ski resort draws near, becomes a gravel walkway carefully edged and graded. Take the trail to the Sunshine Village Interpretive Centre where the hiker can obtain from the restaurant ‘real food’ or shelter from bad weather.
34.8 miles (55.6 km) — Sunshine Village. Elevation: 7,200 feet (2,160 metres)
Immediately above the resort, Wawa Ridge is crossed, providing good views of the meadows behind and Mount Assiniboine from its crest. The trail then heads over Simpson Pass.
[6-Simpson Pass trail]
[7-Simpson Pass trail]
After descending to Simpson Pass, named for Sir George Simpson of the Hudson's Bay Company who crossed it while searching for a new route for fur traders across the Rockies in 1841.
Then ascending Healy Pass, at 7,650 feet (2,295m), which gives good views all around including, almost inevitably, the distant Mount Assiniboine, although this is the last clear view.
[8 - Up Healy Pass trail]
[9- Healy Pass flowers]
40.5 miles (64.8 km) — Healy Pass. Elevation: 7,650 feet (2,295 meters)
[10 - Distant Mt Assiniboine from Healy Pass]
[11 - Monarch Ramparts from Healy Pass]
[12 - From Healy Pass west near Egypt Lake]
West of the pass can be seen the clustered Pharaoh Peaks where we are headed and in the far distance, snow capped Mt. Ball.
[13- Pharaoh Lake below Pharaoh Peaks from Healy Pass]
[14- Scarab and Egypt Lakes below Haiduk Peak, Sugarloaf on left, Pharaoh Peaks on right]
Then down to Egypt Lake.
[15- Egypt Lake and Haiduk Peak]
[16- Scarab Lake meadows below Haiduk Peak]
and Scarab Lake, one lake sitting directly above the other with a connecting waterfall - a rare sight!
[17- falls from Scarab Lake]
A descent leads to the highly popular yet, forest-shaded Egypt Lake Campground, where there is a shelter.
42.5 miles (68.0 km) — Egypt Lake Campground. Elevation: 6,545 feet (1,963.5 meters)
All campsites have an area set away from tent sites for eating and cooking which include "May (bear) Poles" for food storage - a waterproof food storage bag with a carabin clip is needed and you hook this onto a cable pulling it up so that it is way out of reach of any hungry bears (it's a good idea to put your toiletries in this bag also as various perfumes etc. attract bears as well). The cooking/eating area is a great place for meeting other hikers.
Everything else, especially your boots which porcupines will gnaw for the salt from your sweaty feet, should be kept in the tent.
Photo Credits: -meganpru CC=nc-flickr, -totten_photos CC=nc-nd-flickr, -brilang CC=nc-sa-flickr, -wikipedia.