Larch Trees

One does not always have to go far or for a long hike to connect with nature. There is enough research showing how we can benefit by connecting even a small way to nature. Just looking out the window at the sky can make a positive difference in our mood. Nature has a way of breaking the cycle of problems we may have going through our head. Going for a small walk, sitting on a bench by a river, lake or on the edge of a forest can help. Providing a break to think about what we are seeing and hearing in nature. In the fall I enjoy watching leaves falling, seeing where the next one will land and every now and then trying to catch one.


Last week I was not only doing that, but also watching the larch needles land all over me, don’t tell the law enforcement, but by mistake some ended up home. They have a way of attaching to your pack and clothes. On my first off day few of us got an early start and headed for the Lake Louise area, we enjoyed the hikes and the colours. I spotted four goats and knew a location to see them closer, about 80 to 90 meters away. But the hiking version of the Christmas shopping crowd was making their way up the trails, we decided it was a good time to go home. The next day I was out on my own across the valley to explore the back country. Saw and talked to some of the 23 hikers that were on the trails that day, I got to look at more amazing views than that. It was a great day. The larches are never in their prime fall colours on the same date every year, but this year I was there for the ones I came across while exploring Boulder and Deception Pass and beyond.

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Larch Trees

Is it worth it hiking there and back for about 20 kms and gaining about 1000 meters in altitude to see the larch trees in their fall colours. Yes! But there is always more to any hike. Got an early start to reach Harvey Pass. It started with a nice walk in the forest before views of the Bow Valley come into play, seeing the Sawback Range across the valley. Then enjoying a quick break to take a picture of the beautiful falls before the steeper switchbacks to reach the Bourgeau Lake. With an overcast sky, I decided to keep making my way up as I listened to the hoary marmot whistling on the far side of the lake. I saw one as well, up the slope about 200 meters away, running across the rocks. By the time I reached the spot it was long gone, I kept moving up and only stopping to enjoy the views behind me. 

Once I reached the pass, I took my time to decide what pictures I wanted to take and from what location. I decided to take several pictures and combine them into the attached panorama, going for an old panorama film camera ratio of 6x17. The larches were still about a week or more away from full fall colours, but not a bad view on an overcast day. Then it was time to sit and eat away from the cold wind, while I watched a pika cache away food for the coming winter. As soon as I got down from the pass, I removed some layers and made my way to the bottom of the valley. That day the wildlife viewing was limited to pikas, marmots, and a chipmunk for mammals and pipits, chickadees, juncos, kinglets, nutcracker and possibly a Golden Eagle high up in the sky for birds. It was a fun hike back to the trailhead, only stopping to have a quick chat with some of the 41 hikers and one dog heading up to the lake and or the pass.

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Larch Trees

A few weeks back it was an overcast morning and it was going to stay that way for the duration of the day. With minus five degree the hike started about half an hour after the sun rising behind the clouds. Much of the hike to Rockbound Lake is in the mostly evergreen forest, slowly the sounds of the vehicles from the road and highway disappear. Any wildlife encounter was mainly in the form of small birds and the only mammal spotted was a red squirrel. When the train started to even off, the reason why I was on the hike became visible, larch trees in their beautiful fall colours. The numbers increased as I got near Tower Lake and becoming the dominant tree upon reaching Rockbound Lake. I probably ended up spending more time exploring the lake than it took me to reach it. Taking pictures from various locations as a Common Loon and a Raven watched me. This picture described what the morning looked like that day by the lake, various shades of grey with the golden larches.

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Floe Lake

Around this time all hikes for me have  to do with fall colours, here in the mountains, it's all about the golden yellow colour of the larch tree needles. We had decided to head for Floe Lake in Kootenay National Park. The vegetation along the trail was showing their beautiful fall colours, we kept our fingers crossed that  the clouds we were seeing above the lake from our approach would move on. It was not meant to be, light rain was falling at  the lake, after locating shelter we put on layers and ate. Soon joined by another hiker, we sat and talked as her dog Mena took turns licking our faces as the rain fell around us. I decided I was not leaving before getting one good picture of the larch, the lake and the famous limestone rockwall, few minutes before we headed back to the trail head, I had the picture.

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Larch Trees

Through my camera and lens, I was zooming in and out looking for the right combination of spruce and larch trees to get the picture I wanted to take. I could feel the wind was starting to pick up and darker clouds were moving in. Before the weather made things difficult to get the pictures, I was done. This image was my keeper.

Until next moment,


Larch Tree