Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Skoki Revisited - Banff National Park, AB    August 22 - 24, 2015

(Day 3 - August 24 - Merlin Meadows Campground Out)

This day I wanted to go over Packer's Pass rather than Deception Pass as I had done in the past. I wasn't worried about the 'scrambling' beside the waterfall as I'd read descriptions of where it is, and it isn't hard to find going in the out direction anyway. Its supposedly hard to going the other direction (coming in to Skoki), but really its just before the waterfall where you can clearly see the trail below. Sounds easy enough when you know that. I had thought and read somewhere that the trail to Packers Pass started in the Meadows past the lodge. But on the way to Merlin Lake I had seen a fork in the road, with a literal fork carving at it, and a sign stating that the left fork went to Packers Pass. So instead I headed off on that. It was good trail the whole way, and clearly had the meadow trail I'd heard about connect to it, near where you meet the stream. Someone had put branches over that intersection for some reason. I suppose to stop people from using it going in and to keep on the trail I used. 

After you cross the stream on rocks you head over to the waterfall. The route up climbers left is very clear to start, then leads you to were you either crawl under a chockstone and very easily ascend a chimney, or you take a corner around an exposed (but wide) ledge. I chose the chimney and easily got to Myosotis Lake. This is a very beautiful area. The outlet stream above the waterfall can easily be crossed on rocks so that you could get stunning photos of the lake and Ptarmigan Peak above it.... if it wasn't smoky. It would be extra awesome when the larches around the lake turn. I have to go back there some year during that time.

The trail continues around Myosotis Lake's south shore, then easily climbs up to Zigadenus Lake. Which is another great view. After that I climbed easily up to Packers Pass. The smoke was so thick I could barely see Redoubt Mountain right across Ptarmigan Lake from me. I descended to the main trail, and clearly marked in my mind where the unmarked trail starts up to the pass for next time. More people should go over this pass rather than Deception. It is really lovely. 

The rest of the way down was easy. As I descended the fire road you couldn't see any mountains around you at all, the smoke was so bad. I wondered at all the people milling about at Lake Louise village as I got my food at Laggan's. I guess if your already on holiday from far away, what else are you to do but stick to your schedule even if things go wrong?

 I love lovely easy trails through the sub-alpine like this that are nice and flat. So peaceful.

 Looking back. Near here the trail that goes to the main trail meets this one. Skoki Mountain is in the background.

 Looking on-wards.

 Crossing the stream over a lot of rocks. No getting your feet wet here.

 Looking at the waterfall from the crossing.

 Close up of the waterfall. The trail ascends to the left of it.

 Ascending easy trail through the rock.

 The chimney containing the chockstone. The ledge is on the large rock to the left there.

 Looking down at the chockstone and the chimney.

 The waterfall from the top.

 Looking back down at the trail.

 Looking down as I cross the waterfall.

 Myosotis Lake with Ptarmigan Peak behind.

 The waterfall and Myosotis Lake.

 Myosotis Lake

 Going along the trail on the southern shore of the lake. Look at the nice stones set in the meadow to keep the trail from being a horrible muddy wet braided mess!

 Myosotis Lake looking back.

 Going up to the next lake is easy on trail through here.

 Looking across this headwall. There is another waterfall farther north.

 Myosotis Lake

 Zigadenus Lake

 Zigadenus Lake

 Heading up to Packers Pass

  Zigadenus Lake on the way up. The Wall of Jericho behind.

 Almost at the top of the pass.

 Top of the pass looking at Ptarmigan Peak.

 Top of the pass looking down at Ptarmigan Lake and Mount Redoubt behind it.

 Looking back at the pass as I descend. 

 Looking down as I get close to the main trail.

Where the main trail and the trail to Packers Pass I used meet. There are some other trails that start off earlier that would probably work as well.

This was a great trip. I need to go back during larch season one year. Definitely to Myosotis and Zigadenus Lakes. Probably to Merlin Lake as well. I also need to go back and bag some more of the Kane Scrambles. Hopefully at the same time?

(Day 1 - August 22 - Into Baker Lake Campground)
(Day 2 - August 23 - Baker Lake Campground to Merlin Meadows Campground)

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