Lake Minnewanka overnight
an 11km in and out overnight along Lake Minnewanka in Banff

Remus, Jenn, Laurier and I got out to spend a great weekend with just enough of a hike to avoid civilization.


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The trail follows the Lake Minnewanka shoreline all the way to Devil's Gap at 22km, beyond which lie the Ghost Lakes.
We camped at Inglismaldie - 11km.

The first thing you run into on this trail (before you even leave the strollers and starbucks hikers) is Stewart Canyon.
This is a short, but narrow bit of the Cascade River, just before it empties into Lake Minnwanka.
The canyon is neat - the incredible low water level allowing you to see far more of it than usual.

Bridge over Stewart Canyon

Close up of the water - look how shallow it is running!!

View up the canon to North. The normal water line is visible on the side.

After the canyon, you begin the steepest climb of the whole trip, with a gain of close to 75m!
Coming on to the North side of the lakeshore, there is a brief walk through an old burned-out forest.
I'm not sure what year this burned, but there is considerable growth already back in.
There are some beautiful views of, and across the lake at the high point here.

Remus walking through a burnt part - the bark falling off the trees.

Mounts Inglismaldie (main) and Rundle (background) through a burnt hillside of trees.

Looking across the lake - a beautiful colour from this perspective.

Close up of Mount Inglismaldie from the North-West.

The rest of the trail, continuing straight to the 11km campground is a fairly level walk through changing forest.
For a while you are deep in evergreen. This gives way to aspen forest, and some open space near Aylmer Junction.
There are also a few nice lookdowns to rocky beaches along the lakeside.
It is not a difficult or stunning trail, but it has a particular quiet beauty.

Jenn hiking though meadow just before the Aylmer turnoff.

Unnamed face behind a hillside leading west of Aylmer Pass

Former site of Aylmer fire lookout - hikeable by a side trail. I did this trail a couple years ago.

The Inglismaldie campground is situated just a few metres above the beach on the hillside,
and as night fell, the fading light and alpenglow made for some great sights by which to cook.

View along the beach to west, and the setting sun. Peak at the back is Cascade.

Looking across the lake to Mount Girouard

Mount Inglismaldie outlier and Lake Minnewanka in the evening glow.

Quiet stillness of the lake through trees. This is the view from the cooking area.

Alpenglow on Mounts Girouard (l) and Inglismaldie (r).

Jenn and I cooked dinner over the campfire, while Laurier and Remus fought the stove.
We kept the fire going until a little after dark. Nothing big, but it was warm and enticing - as all fire.

Jenn playing with fire.
Confucious say "Don't annoy girl with flaming stick!"

Campfire shot.

close up of the glowing fire as it settles.

After a wonderfully long sleep, we woke up to a morning with just enough sun peeking out to warm us.
Having played with the water for a while, we headed home - with a certain amount of goofing off.

Panorama shot from the beach in front of the campsite. Quiet morning light.

The view from our tents - a few trees, and a gorgeous blue-green lake.

Jenn walks the beach as we slowly drift to wakefulness.

Laurier skipping a rock

Jenn checking out a particularly nice throw.

Jenn and Rachel hoping to fly off a log in camp.

Remus, Laurier, Jenn, and Rachel, finally getting a good group shot on the way home.

Remus the über hiker is ready to go!

Laurier plays with the water filter - nothing beats fresh from a mountain stream.

This trail passed a number of unique wildflowers. I only got good photos of a couple, but I'm working on it.
The wildlife count was reasonably high, with a herd of sheep on the trail, two deer walking through the campsite, and a small snake.

Calypso Orchid (calypso bulbosa)

Blue Clematis (clematis occidentalis)

Early Blue Violet (viola adunca)

Dall's sheep (ovis dalli)

Wandering Garter Snake (thamnophis elegans vagrans)

Photos taken by Jenn and Rachel.

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