Monday, September 3, 2012

The Berg Lake Trail

August 6th through 9th we were in Edmonton to see family members, especially our two little grandchildren there.  We left early Friday morning, hoping for good weather and planning to hike the Berg Lake trail in Mount Robson Provincial Park.

We have backpacked and hiked the Berg Lake trail many times now but never weary of its spectacular scenery, and interestingly, have only had rainy weather there once, though the area is notorious for cloudy weather and invisible mountains.

We arrived at 7:00 am and were soon on the trail, which we had almost to ourselves, though as the day went on the trail was quite busy.  We hiked as far as Whitehorn, where we usually camp the first night if we are backpacking.

The Robson River was very high and in one spot near Kinney Lake the trail was flooded.  We took our time and a lot of pictures, both of the river and the wildflowers growing along the trail.  We saw a few orchids but most were gone to seed.

There had been rain in the area earlier and everything was wet.  The trail is good enough that we did not have to worry about getting wet ourselves, but it did give us many opportunities to photograph the rain or dewdrops on the plants and foliage.

As is always the case there was a lot of "small nature" to photograph, too, especially fungi and mushrooms, which for some reason seem to be my wife's favorite subject.  Many of these pictures, not only of the fungi, are hers and not mine.

We followed the trail around the east side of Kinney Lake, enjoying the reflections of the mountains in the water of the lake.  It was there we found a number of the Pad-leaved Orchis, Platanthera orbiculata, our most beautiful Platanthera.

All along Kinney Lake and for the rest of the hike we found endless numbers of the Lesser Rattlesnake Orchis, Goodyera repens.  We had never seen this species in bloom because we are usually in the area earlier, near the end of June.

The plant's tiny leaves were hidden in the moss, but the  white flowers were beautiful especially when seen close up.  We also saw its larger cousin, the Giant Rattlesnake Orchis, but did not even take pictures of this very common plant.

Crossing the flood plain above Kinney Lake we hiked up and over the hill to Whitehorn, arriving at noon.  There we made our lunch, my wife resting while I explored, looking for wildflowers, though there were few in bloom this late in the season.

Leaving Whitehorn about 2:00 we hiked out in two hours and were soon on our way home, driving west and then south on the Yellowhead Highway.  Delayed by an horrific accident near Barriere we did not get home until after midnight.


  1. Hi Ron,
    I love those mushroom pictures by your wife. Does she have any more she can post?
    Why do you not appreciate her fantastical good taste in photographing the wide spectrum of contortions in fungi?
    I love fungi for their frugality--how they use minimum resources to get by, how they shape themselves forgiving of all circumstances-no matter how straitened they might be--stuck on a log, falling off a debris pile, limping through the dark under a tree--and how they send out so many in hope of their children surviving against the odds.

    They are the best sorts of survivors and I understand completely your wife's interest in them. If more people were like fungi, the world would be a better place.

    I love this hike and just looking over it with both of you makes me feel like leaving the nun's room and going to the mountains. Maybe at the end of September when my minivan has recovered from surgery (her alternator had to be replaced yesterday and she is in post-surgical recovery mode right now). Once I determine that yet another repair won't be necessary on the van, we might dare to go back to Jasper.

    You have such a great life.

    1. Hi Julie,
      I post as many of her pictures as I can and usually all of her fungus pictures. I often photograph them, too, but her pictures are usually better than mine. As to her posting them, I've tried to get her on Flickr or on a blog and she's just not interested. Thought your comment was great, "They are the best sorts of survivors and I understand completely your wife's interest in them. If more people were like fungi, the world would be a better place."
      Hope you get back to the mountains yet this fall. I'm taking a couple who have never backpacked before, for an overnighter Friday and Saturday, but that may very well be our last hike for the season, though I would like to get up to Mount Baker too and see the colors.
      As to a great life, we have many opportunities for this kind of thing, but, like everyone else3 have our trials as well. As I've probably mentioned, we have a seriously handicapped son and his needs and problems always seem to loom over everything else and even take some of the enjoyment out of hiking and photography. Perhaps they are more means of escape from the pressures than anything else, but I don't have to tell you about pressures.

  2. Wonderful area and great shots!! Stay away from that Hogweed, though ;)


    1. This is one of our favorite areas in the Canadian Rockies. We've done two long backpacking trips there and hike there nearly every summer. As to the Hogweed, I'm glad I didn't touch it. I've heard of it and know how bad it can be, but didn't realize this was it.


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