I just came back from a backpacking trip over Healy Pass to Egypt Lake in Banff National Park with a dayhike to Whistling Pass thrown in for good measure. The weather was perfect!
July 30 to August 1, 2005
Pre-trip Accomodations: Castle Mountain Hostel.
Egypt Lake 2005 Photoset on flickr.com | [piclens-lite-link]
Saturday, July 30
Got a late-ish start as our group slowly got organized. We set off from the Sunshine Village parking lot and headed up the Healy Pass trail. Nothing much but forest for the first several km, but then we started to break out of the trees into wildflower filled meadows. The most spectacular that I can remember seeing. Unfortunately my HP Photosmart 935 camera didn’t do it justice. We continued our upward trek to Healy Pass through the wildflower meadows under bright sunny skies. Perfect weather for a day in the alpine meadows. We did meet a ranger near the pass who told us to keep our eyes open for a young grizzly that had been sighted in the area over the last few days. (We didn’t see it). After a break in Healy Pass, we headed down the other side towards the Egypt Lake campground. Once in the campground, we heard more rumours of bears in the campground area, so we made sure that no “smellables” were left in our tents that night. (Again, we didn’t see any bears).
Stats: Distance: 12.4 km; Elevation Gain: 655 m; Elevation Loss:
Sunday, July 31
Sunday, we dayhiked to Whistling Pass, Scarab and Mummy Lakes. That’s saying a lot in a few words! The trail from the Egypt Lake campground up to Whistling pass is fairly steep in places – especially between Egypt and Scarab Lakes. You do have to climb a headwall afterall! The wildflowers were spectacular around Scarab Lake so we took our time crossing the meadows. We took a lunch break at Whistling Pass and enjoyed the view down the west side. Eventually we packed up and headed back down to Scarab Lake where half our group decided to linger to enjoy the warm summer sun. I led two others on the “trail” to Mummy Lake. The trail here disappears into a rock pile at one point, and the only guide you have is that you need to go up the gully to the top. Pick your own route! Mummy Lake was spectacular, but there was little in vegetation along its shores – it was all rockslides. Eventually we headed back, made a brief exploration of the outlet stream from Scarab Lake as it approached the precipice above Egypt Lake, collected the others and headed back to camp. After supper, we headed back out for the short hike to Egypt Lake which was as smooth as glass in the evening light.
Stats: Distance: ??? km; Elevation Gain/Loss: ??? m.
Monday, August 1
Day three, we returned over Healy Pass to the trailhead. It was another sunny summer day. The wildflowers were still spectacular, the views were magnificent, but we were all tired. Due to this fact, we “lost” two members of our group when we passed a junction. They turned off the main trail instead of continuing downhill. This incident made me realize that the rules I set in place at the beginning of every trip need to be followed on every trip. I now make someone wait at every junction for the last member to arrive. Previously, If it seemed straightforward enough, I wouldn’t bother. But when you’re tired, it’s easy to make mistakes. That and the signs pointing to “Sunshine Village” didn’t help since I had told everyone that’s where we were headed. In my mind though, we were headed to “Sunshine Village” when in reality we were headed to the “Borgeau parking lot”. Live and learn. Fortunately no one was injured.
Stats: Distance: 12.4 km; Elevation Gain: ??? m; Elevation Loss: 655 m.
Total Stats: Distance: ?? km; Elevation Gain/Loss: ??? m
Edited: 2006-06-25 – Updated photo album links.
Edited: 2008-02-24 – Updated photo links to Flickr and wrote the story.