Yamnuska Natural Area Lakes

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Distance - 13.3km Elevation gain - 190m
3:54 (moving) return, plus 1:15 stopped

This visit to the Yamnuska Natural Area followed three others over the course of the winter (though 'winter' is a questionable term here).
The primary mission was to revisit the Twin Lakes and Sink area from the opposite direction in hope of finding a more clear trail, and whatever else came up.
Jeff and I started out at the Landfill, but shortly left the fence to follow the path back to Sink Lake.
We explored a couple alternate paths along the way, with one connecting to the main valley loop, and several others going nowhere in particular.
The Sink route was a little different than before, but it's close enough to the fenceline that this route is pretty clear and open.

A strange pile of something white at the landfill.

The trail starts to the right of the fence.

Crossing the powerline.

The trail follows the start of the fence.

The Yamnuska view from the route to the Sink.

Following the ridge to The Sink.

The junction between the new connector and the Sink.

The trail connecting to the valley loop.

The open route to the Sink.

An alternate trail out of the Sink.

The valley of the Sink and Yamnuska.

The open ridge on the east side.

After Sink Lake, we continued on to the Twin Lakes. This was a longer route, and I shifted options a few times to stay on decent paths, but didn't find a good trail.
We then looped the Twin Lakes, checking out the peninsula in the middle, and started out the good route between them, following paths to the main loop.
It looks like I'll have to do this section a couple more times to put together a solid route - though I was able to confirm the correct start/end points.
Surprisingly, after the amount of snow and ice that was here a week ago, the lakes were now melted with only a small spot of ice, and there was no snow left on the trail.
It must have been very warm here all week to melt out all the lakes so completely so quickly, and made routefinding much easier.

First view of Twin Lakes.

Twin Lakes and the peninsula.

View from the SE shore of the east lake.

Jeff walks the peninsula from the north.

After reaching the main trail, we turned right and continued to confirm the correct 5-way starting point junction, and then followed on to Reed Lake.
We then hiked up the short steep hill to the other central lakes. Reed, Hilltop, and Crescent Lakes had also all melted, making them much prettier.
From the corner of Crescent Lake, we took the short steep hillside route up to follow the shortcut back to the main trail, then looped back down the usual route.
Surprisingly, we missed the main trail on our way up, and after looking around a bit, still couldn't find it.
Eventually, we managed to hook up with the big junction, and confirm the right place, but I now understand why I've travelled so many different routes in this segment.
Apparently, the trail pretty much splits up and filters out, giving a lot of different options, but making it easy to lose the main trail.
At any rate, we found the correct turn, and took the usual pretty trail back down to Crescent Lake, where we walked west along the shore a little.
We continued on over the hill again and down to Reed Lake.

The correct starting point at the north end.

Jeff approaches Reed Lake.

Reed Lake - now with water!

A last look back at Reed Lake and across the Bow Valley.

Jeff hikes up the steep trail to hilltop.

Hilltop Pond and Goat ridge.

Defrosted Hilltop Pond and the view southwest.

The trail continues beyond Hilltop Pond.

A first look down to melted Crescent Lake.

Jeff hikes beyond Crescent Lake.

The colourful hillside above our route.

Jeff crests the ridge above Crescent Lake.

Coming back down to Crescent Lake.

Looking along from the west shore.

More colourful hillside above the lake.

Pretty water from the trail above.

Looking back at the trail approaching Crescent Lake.

Hiking along the lake. It's really nice with water colour.

Crescent Lake and the view SW.

Looking down on Reed Lake from the ridge above.

After arriving at Reed Lake, we headed NE to try to check out Marl Spring from the south. This route is on an old road that shrinks to decent trail.
Unfortunately, I misjudged the time we had left, and we had to turn around at the spring flats without reaching the actual source of the spring.
I have a return trip planned to spend some time investigating the various spring routes, as it did seem neat enough to be worth a visit.

The start of the trail beyond Reed Lake.

The smaller trail continuing up the spring creek.

The flats below Marl Spring and Yamnuska.

Reed Lake on the return.

On the way back, we were pressed for time, so decided to take the Powerline back (which I'd wated to check out at some point anyway).
Unfortunately, while the powerline route is indeed quite nice, despite the power lines, I'm not sure it turned out much faster.
Though it is indeed the shortest route, and shorter than the alternative by 2/3 of a kilometre, it turned out rather slow.
The trail rolls constantly, going up and down small distances the whole way, but never flat. At any rate, it got us back just fine, and is nice enough.

Jeff takes the trail down to the power line.

Starting down the Powerline trail.

Jeff hikes down the end of the trail.

The road leading back from the landfill.

Photos taken by Rachel

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