Thursday, July 15, 2010

Backpacking in the Canadian Rockies (4)

Day Four - July 8, 2010

Robson Glacier, Wall Mountain, Mount Robson, Berg Lake

Woke about 5:00 am and went to the shelter for breakfast - no one about.  Nancy had freeze-dried eggs but I could not stomach the thought of them or of more granola with powdered milk, so I had Chicken Teriyaki.  Were out hiking by 6:00.

Had decided to do the Mumm Basin and Hargreaves Lake Trail, a twelve kilometer loop that took us north to the Robson/Jasper, British Columbia/Alberta border and then south high above Berg Lake and then at Hargreaves Lake and Glacier dropped back down to the south end of Berg Lake, following the Berg Lake Trail back to the camp.

We hiked across the valley once again, this time to the north and missed our trailhead, crossing briefly into Jasper National Park and Alberta.  I even stood with one foot in British Columbia and one foot in Alberta, one foot an hour ahead of the other - talk about confused!

Near Robson Camp

We saw Platanthera huronensis, the Green Bog Orchis, everywhere, as we headed back to the trailhead.  These were interesting because some of them were only a few centimeters tall and the species is described as being 10-100 cm.  The plants shown were about 10 cm, but they were the tallest.
After returning from our brief excursion to Alberta and Jasper National Park, we found our trailhead near the Robson campground.  Crossing a small stream we hiked through the Campground and started up the very steep Mumm Basin Trail.  The trail was mostly in the woods until we came to the top of the ridge having gained about 1500 feet of elevation.

At the ridgetop, which was also very close to the treeline, we were treated to views of Robson Pass and Adolphus Lake to the north and Mount Robson, Robson Glacier, Berg Glacier and Berg Lake to the south.  Our vantage point allowed us to get some near-panoramic pictures of the whole area.

Adolphus Lake and Robson Glacier

At the top we turned south and had the pleasantest of strolls through the flower-filled meadows of Mumm Basin and across the many mountain streams that intersected our path.  We refilled our waterbottles at one of the streams, something we needed to do under a cloudless sky.

Alpine Phlox

The Sentinel

It was difficult not to take the same pictures over and over again and twice we saw snow and ice breaking loose on the glaciers across the valley and avalanching down.  Once we saw Berg Glacier calving into the Berg Lake.

Robson Glacier

Near the junction of the Mumm Basin and Hargreaves Lake trails we took a brief detour of about 300 meters up a very steep and loose slopes to visit some caves.  The largest of these was about a meter high at the entrance and was under a massive slab of rock.

Inside the cave a person could stand up and it was very cool.  Without lights, however, we could not venture very far into the caves. and wished we had remembered to take our headlamps.  Along the trail to the caves someone with a sense of humor had turned the cairns that marked the trail through rocky areas into miniature Inukshuk, the stone figures erected by various northern Indian tribes.

At the junction of the two trails we had the option of returning to camp along the Toboggan Falls route, but opted instead to press on along the mountainside to Hargreaves Glacier and Lake.  The first part of this trail was through the woods where the shade and cool air were very welcome.  The last part of the trail was in the open on shaly slopes and was very hot.

Hargreaves Lake and Glacier

In the woods we saw more wildflowers than we had seen thus far, including Glacier Lilies, Lupines, and Pasque Flowers.  We stopped often for photos and lingered in the shady woods.  At the south end of the ridge we had to take another side trip up a glacial moraine to see Hargreaves Lake and Glacier.  The effort was certainly worthwhile.

Descending the moraine and the ridge we rejoined the Berg Lake Trail and hiked back to camp where we soaked out feet and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.  Supper was Pad Thai and Chicken Teriyaki, both beginning to pale a bit.

Took some pictures around the camp, sat and enjoyed the evening scenery for one last time and retired early, planning an early start for our hike out the following day.

Variable Checkerspot 

Berg Glacier


  1. So many amazing sites and shots =) A beautiful area!


    1. Thanks, Fizzie. That was an amazing and wonderful trip and one we would like to do again.


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