Backcountry Canadian Rockies – Shadow Lake Lodge
Journey or destination? You know the query, edging into your brain at the most inopportune time, irritating your mental state, after you rationalized you just want to get there and you don’t care about the expedition.
Destination – Shadow Lake Lodge in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, just west of the famous resort town of Banff. ETA – impossible to determine as you beat off the most insolent members of the bug kingdom, weighty boots adding to gravity’s unwelcome pull as you slog up Red Earth Creek trail in Banff National Park. Your mind plays with how many more turns in the trail await before you can lie prone in those lofty pillow-soft beds, arms outstretched in angel position with legs released from the cast-like footwear, teasing you from taking pleasure in the moments that make the hike experience. Indian paintbrush and mauve harebells dance their mightiest to draw you, but even the beckoning creek side can’t pull your attention off the destination. At kilometer 14.6 the forest opens into a high alpine meadow and laid out across a west-facing corner is your home in the mountains. The discovery of Shadow Lake, Gibbon and Haiduk Pass await as you sip tea and drink in Mount Ball in the distance. The afternoon refreshment spread out in the 1928 CPR cabin tempts beyond the caloric intake of today’s ascent giving high tea a whole new meaning at this remote high country destination, an oasis of comfort and worth every step of the journey.
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