Wednesday, 12 January 2011
Consolation Lakes - HIking Trails
[1 - Road to Moraine Lake - click to enlarge]
The closest town to Moraine Lake and the Consolation Lakes is Lake Louise in Banff National Park.
[2 - On Moraine Lake Road cresting ridge - click to enlarge]
[3 - Moraine Lake]
Moraine Lake is nestled in what is known as the Valley of the Ten Peaks. These are known as the Wenkchemna Peaks which are 3,000m (10,000 ft) high.
Distance: 2.9 km (1.8 mi) one way, taking 2-4 hours round trip
Elevation Gain: 65m (213 ft).
Trailhead: the bridge at the rear of Moraine Lake Picnic Area.
This hike is considered easy to moderate.
This area is prime bear country and hikers are required to travel in groups of 6. A good recommendation would be to wear proper walking shoes or hiking boots as the terrain will be rough in spots and there is crossing of scree and bouider strewn areas.
The trail begins by crossing Moraine Creek at the southern outlet of the lake.
[5 - Trail]
The trail proceeds around the rockpile.
There is another trail here that leads up to the top for a nice view of Moraine Lake.
[6 - Crossing stream]
[7 - Yellow Rumped Warber]
This bird was previously known as the Myrtle Warbler in the east, and Audubon’s Warbler in the west. In the summer these birds can be found across the top of the continent and they migrate to Central America in the fall. Its diet consists of bayberries, wax myrtle berries, insects, spiders, and fruit. During the breeding season it builds nests in confiers, laying 4 to 5 white eggs with brown and gray spots. The eggs are incubated for 12 to 13 days with the hatchlings leaving the nest in 10 to 12 days. Size 5 ½ inches.
The trail passes the Tower of Babel, 3,00m (10,170 ft) located on the right (west).
The trail moves through subalpine forest of Engelmann spruce and fir.
Just before the Lower Consolation Lake the trail opens into a large lush meadow.
[8 - Meadow and Panorama Ridge to the east in the background]
Lower Consolation Lake is contained by a large rockslide from the Tower of Babel.
[9 - Lower Consolation Lake with Tower of Babel in background on left]
As stated at Peakfinder.com: ""Tower of Babel," the top of which is over 700 metres below the summit of Mount Babel.Walter Wilcox named the Tower of Babel after it reminded him of the story in the bible in which the Tower of Babel reached to the heavens. It was a huge rockfall from the Tower of Babel which formed the dam which holds back Moraine Lake. Walter Wilcox had thought when he named the lake that the rocks were carried forward by an advance of the glacier in the valley and left as a terminal moraine."
[10 - Consolation Lake - click to enlarge]
[11 - Consolation Lake looking north to Mount Temple - click to enlarge]
[12 - Consolation Lake - click to enlarge]
[13 - Hoary Marmot]
[14 - Imposing cliffs of Mount Babel]
[15 - Scree slope]
Continue to Upper Consolation Lake by crossing Babel Creek where the trail follows a rather wet trail along the eastern shoreline and areas of scree that can pose a hazard to the unwary hiker.
The summits of Bident Mountain and the four peaks of Quadra Mountain rise from a spectacular glacier lying above steep cliffs at the southern end of the valley containing Consolation Lakes.
Sources: ParksCanada, A Field Guide to the Birds of North America by Michael Vanner, Paragon, 2006, p.211.
Photo Credits: -jockrutherford CC=sa-flickr. -marketingfacts CC=nc-flickr.  wikimedia commons.  Balykat CC=nc-flickr.  subindie CC=nc-nd-flickr.  whipstar CC=nc-nd-flickr.  Borkybash CC=nc-sa-flickr.  Binoo CC=nc-nd-flickr.  pencrush CC=nc-nd-flickr.  listentoreason CC=nc-sa-flickr.