It is finally time for it, we were waiting for this since a long time.
We have driven lot, flewn even more, but finally here we are, we put on or loyal boots and we are ready to go, our first canadian hike is wating for us.
It took us a while to decide: we would have loved to hike all of the trails which seemd spectacular, but the weather was not really helping. We have decided in the end to do a medium difficult trekking, it will bring us to Forum Lake e Wall Lake, outside Alberta and in British Columbia instead, outside of Waterton Park too: we actually will enter in the Akamina-Kishinena National Park.
But before starting we have a short stop at Columbia Lake, it is just at the end of the road, no too much after the start of the trail. The place is just magical, sourrounded of still snowy mountains and threatening clouds which contribute to make it all more beautiful.
We after start the trail, we have parked our car and started, our first steps on canadian trails.
We walk just for minutes, on a straight and wide path, almost an highway, and here we are at the state boundary: British Columbia starts here, we can finally say we step on it!
Just some photos to have memories about this day, one of the many totem around with all the trails marked, it does inform us that before coming to the Forum Lake, we will pass by the Forum Waterfalls, really interesting.
We walk the 200 meters signaled and turn in a side street which greets us with a blow of fresh air, sure sign of a waterfall around.
We turn again and here it is. It is not so big, but the basin is full of broken trunks and collapsed rocks, it is really suggestive.
We don’t let ourselves get too fascinated about it, we still have a lot more to see that is waiting for us.
We go on again, just some kilometers to go to the Forum Lake, on a big wide path well signaled, slightly steep just in some places, but not really tiring.
We are having a really quick step, without even be aware of that, maybe it is the excitement to be in new places. Anyway, we get to the end of the forest so fast and in front of us an amphitheaer opens, leaving us speechless.
It is obviously a glacial lake, as all of them in the park zone here around. It is a lake which seems to bring along tons of logging and dead wood when the winter snow melts, we can say it looking around in this meadow full of trunks. The walls of rock around us are just huge, half covered in snow and up above, a really cloudy sky makes the perfect backgroud to the landscape.
We decide to have lunch here, so we set up our table on a flat rock and take out all of our eating stuff: some bagel and hummus – just the substitute for our usual sandwich, bread and cheese cream – some apple chips, carrots and not so much more..
There is not even time to get all of our stuff out of the backpacks and we are sourrounded by chipmunks, it is a race of squirrels made famous by a cartoon for kids, they are really curious and come to search for food around us.
Just among the trees, there is a obviously annoyed yellow-bellied marmot sentry, who is unrelentingly yelling to make our presence noticed, even when we get closer to investigate about it and understand where all of this noise comes from.
Once we end to have lunch, we go exploring around the lake. It is just possible to walk on the shore up to the other end or enter the forest from where we arrived and walking in the lake is quite hard since it is frozen cold.
We just walk a little bit from our backpacks that chipmunks assoult it, so we decide to create a little photographic trap: we set the time-lapse mode on the phone and connect the camera with the remote on the other phone, securely placed on the tripod there around, some apple chips on the rock and here we go.
It just take us to go a little bit further and all the team comes out, assaulting our chips, they are so cute – yes, we know it, don’t feed the wildlife, but these ones seemed well domesticated even before and this is our first and last time, we swear. And we will never do that with bears, you can be sure about it!
Once we are done with lunch, we are immediately ready to go again. We decide to go up to the Akamina Pass, the pass which looks the lake from above, still with no knowledge of what we will do after, if a path will lead us down on the other wall or we will have to come back on this side.
We just begin to walk and it is clear we are out of the touristic trail: snow pathces are everywhere, among trees, and they threaten not to let us arrive there, but with a little more or determination we get over this hard moment.
The trail has become more narrow at this point, always quite clear and easy to follov, except when we lose it underneath the snow. It is different from Italy, where paths are marked in red and white, or some other color, on the trees and rocks so it is easy to follow them anyway. Here you just have to search for it.
Before getting to the pass, there is a crawl walk waiting for us.walking hands and feet for a while. The paths gets quite steep and Luca’s shoes are not really the right ones to climb up here, but it doesn’t matter and we go on untile we reach the pass. The landscape totally reward us for our efforts.
From u here we finally have a global idea of how wide the land is down there, full of forests and lakes and rocks and summits, really huge and so wild.
The paths goes on and so do we. Walk and walk, we get over the pass in front of us and another valley opens in front of us, even bigger and more spectacular of Forum’s one: it is the Wall Lake, the twin lake with Forum, this one too taking its source from the melted snow up in the mountains, but way bigger and way more blue.
The path seems to go even higher on the peak on our left, but we have no time to go up anymore. Yep, here the sun stays up so much more and even if it seems is midday, it already is late afternoon, time to begin to go down towards home, not to go even more far away from it.
We look towards the lake, downward and we do not see any rock jump or too steep, I mean, it is steep but anyway walkable and at some time there also seems to be a trace of a trail.
We begin to walk down towards the lake, at the beginning of what seems a trail above the treeline – Attilio will just tell us once we are arrived back that he has found a used bear spray can there and he also touched it and understand how much it can sting and hurt – and after it just became a scrambled descent between trees with a final slide on the gravel at the end of the slope.
And finally we are on the shore. It has been hard and tough and we thought at once that we should have come back, but it has been worth each step of it.
We are tired, but it is not ended yet. We have to come back to the trail, along the steep shore full of trees, so we just take our boots and shoes out and walk hobbit style, with muddy barefeet, one step in the frozen water and one on the shore.
We take our time to put our boots and clothes on again and enjoy this magical lake with its colours, the temperature is just perfect, we are totally good and luckly the weather has been good the whole day with no thunderstorms, as forecast told.
The trail is really enjoyable and slowly we enjoy every single step on it, often in a total silence, only the bear bell ringing so we are well known in the forest. We have met nobody the whole day, except for some bikers on the way back from the Wall Lake.
It doesn’t took us too much to get back to the car and after lots of hours, it really is a pleasure to put on sneakers again.
We go again to the Columbia Lake to enjoy some moments of pure relax on the dock – it is just three minutes drive more, totally rewarded.
Luca decide to show to us his canadian souvenirs: a shirt of the Canadian Flames, the local hockey team so famous here around – everybody recognize it and lots of screams starts!
And, unavoiable, the red maple leaf on a white background. We pose for a pretty touristic photo, but it is totally worth it for just once in a while. Then it is really time to go back, we are tired and hungry and the day is not finished yet!
We go back to our car and…first hiking: done!!!