The smoke clears and the Rockies appear

There are still over 500 fires ablaze across Western Canada, but on Sunday night it rained thankfully. Not enough to put them out, but enough to clear up some of the smoke.

We had got used to it – to a point. We spent 2 days in Jasper without ever seeing the mountains that surround it. We went to Emerald Lake and only saw the lake. We were reading about the health issues of the smoke and it was only on Sunday that is started to affect us – it feels like you cannot get a full breath and walking uphill is a challenge. It is unnerving and takes some time to get use to it.

From Monday it has improved and we have reaped the benefits.

We have been in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, huge gnarly chunks of rock with dramatic glacial valleys, turquoise lakes, a Parks organisation desperately trying to stop them being spoiled and 10’s of 1000’s of tourists desperate to get their money’s worth.

Once the smoke cleared we started to see what the fuss was about and this is a wild and beautiful area.

We’ll let the photos below do the talking. All these lakes can seem a bit repetitive yet they coalesce most of what we’re looking for: tranquility and drama coupled with accessibility. We are staying very much on the tourist trail and not doing any ‘backcountry’ camping.

The only challenge has been the lack of bears. We have seen zero bears in the Rockies and neither it seems have other tourists. Theories abound – the berries which the bears gorge on in August are not as bountiful this year; the smoke has driven the bears away; there are just too many tourists and bears, contrary to popular belief, try to avoid humans.

Peyto Lake

Moraine Lake – the best place we’ve been in Canada

Emerald Lake in the smoke

Takakaw Falls

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