The Sawback Trail follows the rugged Sawback Range from the town of Banff to Lake Louise over a distance of 74km (about 45 miles). The trail is rated moderate to challenging.
On Day 10 the hike leaves the Skoki Lodge for a day trip to Merlin Lake via Merlin Meadows covering a distance of about 6.2 km return.
[113-Inside the Skoki Lodge]
[114-Brewers Blackbird - click to enlarge] This bird has a preference for human modified environments. It is sociable and gregarious, nesting and gathering in large flocks.
[115-Merlin Meadows looking south to snow capped Mt. Richardson]
[116-Alpine meadow flowers - click to enlarge]
[117- Bull Elk]
Merlin Lake is set between Merlin’s Castle , 2840m (9318ft) named by John Porter in 1911, and the Wall of Jericho . [Please look at the link to the photo for a very unusual mountain.] This photo was taken from Pika Peak. Merlin Lake is on the left side of the photo of the Wall of Jericho.
[118 - Merlin Meadows looking south to snow covered Mt. Richardson, to left is the west side of the Wall of Jericho - click to enlarge]
[119-Bear Berry - click to enlarge]
[120-Mt. Richardson from Merlins Meadows - click to enlarge]
Mt Richardson 3086m (10,125ft) with long northwest ridge called Merlin Ridge, and the northeastern ridge is called the Wall of Jericho. The eastern ridge extends out to Ptarmigan Peak and its southern ridge includes a smaller summit known at the Whitehorn. Mt. Richardson was named by James Hector in 1859, for Sir John Richardson, surgeon and naturalist on Franklin’s Arctic expeditions.
[121 - Merlin Meadows]
[122- Clark's Nutcracker - click to enlarge] This bird visits mountain camp sites and picnic spots where it likes to scavenge for food scraps, though it's main food source is pine nuts. It stores pine nuts for the winter and is able to carry the seeds a long distance with a pouch under its tongue.
ParksCanada – Banff
Backpacking Equipment Checklist
Gem Trek maps for Lake Louise and Skoki
HI Hostels Intl Survival Guide
Photo Credits: -orlandk CC=flickr, -Gamber CC=nc-sa-flickr, -quinet CC=flickr, -petes_pics CC=nc-nd-flickr, -dbuc CC=nc-nd-flickr,  Chris & Lara Pawluk CC=nc-flickr, -Satoru Kikuchi CC=flickr, -richardcjones CC=nc-nd-flickr.
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