Sure, the our last morning at Lake O'Hara was beautiful (again), but would it rain later in the day? Rain gear should always go into the day pack.
Joan and I set out for All Souls Prospect via the Big Larches. As we passed by the dock on Lake O'Hara, the water was so clear that the boats seemed to be floating on air.
This was the route as far as the base of the All Souls Prospect trail.
As before, we saw marmots
and a pika in the rocky section of Big Larches.
Then Joan and I embarked on the climb up to All Souls Prospect. We passed the minor bench where we'd stopped a few days earlier, but explored a large bench higher up. We're not at the top yet!
Around the corner was a good lookout over Lake O'Hara.
No time to sit down, though. We resumed climbing. I did pause to photograph this tree, grown into a slender bonsai molded by the wind and rocky soil rather than a pot and wires.
The All Souls trail isn't long but it is relentlessly uphill.
There are one or two spots crossing a rock band where many hikers, including yours truly, use hands as well as feet. If you're headed up and thus facing the mountain, it's not scary. Headed down and facing out, I take a deep breath to overcome any minor discomfort.
At the top we took in the view and fended off little beggars.
Here's a panorama looking north.
To the south the trail to the Opabin Plateau was clearly seen, stage right.
We set off for Opabin.
There were meadows of rocks to go through near the Opabin end of the All Souls alpine route.
From here we could see a group, including some of the folks from our Odaray Grandview hike, taking a breather as they tackle Yukness Col, the saddle between the two peaks of Yukness Mountain, across the valley and higher up. They are the bumps at lower left. Click on the image to enlarge.
The east end of the trail consists of a staircase of boulders, with some big steps in places. This photo looks back, as if we were just setting out on the All Souls route.
We headed across the plateau and went a few yards along the Prospect trail, to a promontory overlooking the cascades. Here we had lunch. The bump in the middle of the valley hosts the Highline trail.
The intrepid Yukness Col hikers had reached their goal by the time we finished eating.
Joan and I crossed the cataracts and started up the Highline trail.
We met more marmots; in season the Opabin Plateau is Marmot City.
From the Highline Joan and I could look back at our lunch spot, the bluff just beyond the stream, and All Souls Prospect, near center top of the photo.
A squirrel had harvested this mushroom and then abandoned it at the side of the trail. Usually the 'shroom is toted up to the notch of a tree to dry out.
We also had a hummingbird zoom by, and spotted a mountain goat hiding from a rock fall across the plateau, under Mount Schäffer.
After heading down to Lake O'Hara on the East Opabin trail, we decided to take the long way around to the lodge and spotted these mergansers.
At one point on the lakeshore trail a wooden footbridge crosses the outflow from the Seven Veils Falls. A couple of the veils are visible in the background.
At 4:00 the lodge bus took us and other departing guests 11 km to the parking area, where a staff member emerged from the women's restroom. She'd taken shelter after spotting a black bear cub -- where was Mama Bear? -- about five minutes before.
We retrieved our car and drove down Kicking Horse Pass to Cathedral Mountain Lodge, just a few minutes away. We were sticking close to the town of Field because tomorrow, after several years of schedule conflicts, Joan and I will take the guided hike to the Mt. Stephen trilobite beds, a UNESCO World Heritage site that's off-limits except on guided hikes.