Canada – Skoki near Lake Louise

12th August 2012 Skoki area backpack from near Lake Louise

After a few day trips in the Rockies we took off for a short backpack to the Skoki Lakes east of Lake Louise.

Click to see interactive map

Day 1- Starting at the Fish Creek Trailhead below the Lake Louise ski area, we walked in for about 3 hours to our camping spot we had pre-booked at Hidden Lake. The tent was pitched in a hurry as the mozzies soon found us before we hung our food up away from any potentially hungry bears. In the afternoon we scrambling up Mt Richardson, a peak above the lake and a chance to escape the mosquitoes and various other biting flies!

We climbed on trail through colourful meadows and onto the ridge of Mt Richardson before heading up a rough trail on the south ridge. The summit area of Mt Richardson is dotted with snow patches and the panorama from there was just fantastic including to the wonderfully named nearby Pika Peak. We both had a short doze on the summit before dashing down scree back into the meadows. Back at hidden Lake we both have a quick cold dip in the frigid water. We retire to the tent early to escape the mozzies- but a great day.

Day 2-We thought we would have a go scrambling up Pika Peak. However we were beaten back by unending loose scree on the middle slopes- wimps that we are. So we decided to move on east to our next pre booked camp and to do an afternoon walk from there.

The walk east was pleasant on good trails to Baker Lake in a scenic open landscape. On the way we saw pika, bald eagles and a loon at the lake. After pitching the tent we headed north over Cottongrass Pass then were pleased to see some interesting crinoid fossils. The cluster of buildings at the rather quaint Skoki Lodge provided a break and a coffee in the luxurious wooden interior. Next we headed west on a grand balcony trail to Merlin Lakes under the north wall of yesterday’s peak, Mt Richardson. A great spot but it was too windy to linger.

A fork in the trail- boom boom!

On the way back to camp over Deception Pass we spotted fresh bear poo on the trail and lo- a bear appeared soon after about 150m from the trail but heading the same direction we were-back to our tent!! We shuffled off quickly but the bear reappeared at our campsite later, taking an unhealthy interest in our food bags hanging from a pole. Fortunately eventually the bear lost interest and ambled off……….

Day 3 -Our day started with a quick dip and breakfast out on a promontory beside the lake for breeze to keep the mozzies at bay. There was an amazing cloud of small insects at the side of the lake, but we could see enough through that haze spot our friend the bear again. This time heading away from us around the lake- phew!

We opted for heading back today as the weather was worsening and the wind was getting up. A coyote crossed our path at close quarters, big and athletic and probably hunting for ground squirrels- always a nice sight. The light rain kept up through the day, but we made it back to the car before a downpour. In summary a varied and grand short backpack with plenty of wildlife! More pics here..

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