I really love mountains. I get squirrely, excited, jazzed about life when I see them. So it made sense that when crafting my 31-for-31 list this year, hiking in the Rockies would be on there because in addition to mountains, I also really enjoy hiking. There’s something about walking through peace and quiet in nature that restores your soul. Or at least mine. Until I inevitably trip.
It seemed, however, like this goal wouldn’t happen – valid reasons kept cropping up to keep me away from setting out on a hike, and I began to think I’d have to put this on the back-burner. Until it seemed almost possible for the end of July. Timing was good, Steve was recovering from knee surgery at a super-human rate, the weather would be perfect. Wildfires almost derailed plans, but thankfully they shifted and air quality was breathable. Rockies hike, ahoy!
We picked Consolation Lakes because reviews listed it as short, flat and totally manageable for small children. We do not have small children, but between my clumsiness and Steve’s recovery, we needed something that would require less effort and provide killer views. This fit the bill, so with a lunch packed we set out to the trail.
Consolation Lakes is one of the trails that starts off of Moraine Lake, so you begin the hike with that gorgeous backdrop and all the tourists you could ever dream of. Many of them were on the path when we started which made me nervous because none were wearing appropriate footwear (or anything appropriate, really. Please, please leave heels at home. They do not belong anywhere in this vicinity). They quickly veered off to a vantage point (again heels! What is wrong with people?) and we set off on the smooth, flat trail.
Except it wasn’t all that flat.
Steve was beyond a trooper for the first 15 minutes or so. The rocks, for the most part, are large enough to support weight without wobbling, and a dirt trail with a slow incline greets you at the end. While the trail only has a small elevation gain (about 215 ft), hiking at the higher altitude really knocked me out. Also, I was simultaneously stuffing a peanut butter and banana sandwich into my face which likely didn’t help. I’m all class.
As you proceed along the trail and get used to the thinner air, you’ll be treated to the sounds of quietly murmuring Babel Creek to your left and the smells and sounds of a thick forest all around you. For the last half kilometre the trail opens up and you walk through a beautiful meadow lush with wildflowers during the summer months, until you’re greeted with this:
Sparkling lake, a glacier and killer views. Totally worth the wobbly rocks at the beginning!
All in, the hike was about six kilometres round-trip and took us less than two hours. As a head’s up, read the signs at the beginning instead of just casually glancing at them – there are currently regulations in place that require a group size of four people or more on the trail due to grizzlies (there is a hefty fine if you’re caught in a smaller group, oops). You’ll no doubt encounter many hikers (in our case, about eight Germans) who will be disappointed if you haven’t spotted any. Pro tip: you don’t want to spot a grizzly. It may not end well. Just enjoy the hike for its beauty!