Friday 5th June
The sun was shining by the time we woke.
Before we went to breakfast I asked the office if we could have another night at Deer Lodge at the same rate as Simone & Lazar had negotiated. It was agreed we would stay for another night for about the same cost as a meal with wine at a nice restaurant. I should mention that as good as our room was, it had no refrigerator, no TV and no lift to the third floor. The room was top of the range with a King Size bed. The weather has been reasonable enough for us to sleep with just a sheet instead of the heavy doona and quilt which was on the bed.
In the morning we took a Gondola/chairlift ride on the Lake Louise Summer Gondola. This is the same gondola as used in the winter! The ride took us to the restaurant and interpretive centre near the top of the mountain. In a field of flowering buttercups and dandelions we saw a young grizzly bear.
Young in this sense that he is about 6 years old so not quite as big as a full adult. We were told that electric fences have been set up to keep all the bears out of the chairlift area. This young grizzly is within a huge area bounded by the electric fence. Although he had previously been moved he kept returning to this area. It is his territory. What we had not been told was that he has been fitted with an electronic collar so his movements can be tracked. Although this bear seems placid enough with the chairlift constantly taking passengers over his territory he is still a wild bear. He is used to humans but still has his natural instincts.
After wandering around the patches of snow and going crazy with the camera
we took the gondola to Lodge of the Ten Peaks where we had previously booked a buffet lunch the took the chairlift to the top again.
Our bear was nowhere to be seen. On our final descent we saw the bear again.
We then drove to Moraine Lake http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moraine_Lake and scrambled over said moraine.
A moraine is basically the rocky residue left behind when a glacier retreats. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moraine The moraine keeps the meltwater trapped in the form of a lake.
At times the meltwater becomes higher than the surrounding shores and water travels around the side of the moraine forming a part time river. The times of this river flow is reflected in a jumbled pile of logs on one side of the moraine, washed there by the water flow in recent times.
We then hiked around the lake to a meltwater waterfall which more accurately could be called a gravel race. In the walk we could hear booming sounds in the distance. The sounds were not unlike the booms we heard when glaciers “calve”. We asked a ranger about the sounds. She confirmed the sounds were exactly what we thought. Snow breaking off the peaks and forming avalanches in the valley. She was hiking further up the valley and saw one of the avalanches. In fact Moraine Lake had been closed to the public only until the day before due to the number and nearness of potential and actual avalanches in the area.
We also learned that avalanches is a name that can also be applied to landslip or landslides.
Looking around the valley we saw recent evidence of both snow and land avalanches around the lake. We could also see formations of snow, built up over a number of seasons and beginning to form a top heavy peak which will fall and cause an avalanche sometime in the future. We were fascinated by these formations.
It was another long and busy day.
Although it was still daylight outside at 11pm it was time for bed