We stumbled into the wedding group in the parking lot of Num-Ti-Jah lodge. Everybody else looked fresh and ready for the hike around Bow Lake and up to Bow Falls. Meanwhile, Adam and I were still wondering what day it was. Most of the sensible people in the group took extra time off work to make it out here from the Coast, or further away. Going to the Rockies for a weekend
Adam left Squamish, picked me up in North Vancouver and we drove out on Friday evening. According to Google maps, it’s roughly 830km, 8.5 hours of driving from North Vancouver. It was rainy and slow driving. There was no way we were driving within that time. Pulling into the campground at 2am didn’t make sense. We were lucky that a friend offered his place to us. He was out of town. Just come in, the door is unlocked. Only in Revelstoke.
After a brief four hours of sleep, we continued on the road. It was nice to see everybody as we departed at 9am for our short hike. You don’t always go hiking with thirty and more people. The plan was to hike four kilometres from the lodge, around Bow Lake to the Bow Glacier Falls, approximately 4km and 150m elevation gain.
Morning at Bow Lake, at 1940m. Looking south towards Andromache, Mount Hector, Bow Peak and Bow Crow Peak. I was being a happy tourist here and snapping photos in the beautiful morning light. It had snowed earlier, but the only signs of snow below the mountains, was a sad lump of snow from a melted mini-snowman on the grass. Bow Lake is located on the Icefield Parkway, north of Lake Louise.
We hiked along the wide open outwash plain to the base of the Bow Falls. The waterfalls were flowy, but we were more interested in where the water was coming from. The source would be the spectacular Iceberg Lake, out of view until you’re almost up here. Fortunately, the route to go up doesn’t involve scrambling up through those steep bands of limestone.
We headed over to the moraine, scrambling up through some loose but not too unpleasant rocks to re-gain the trail. By going over to the falls, we were further of the trail. I didn’t do any research into this hike, and in my zombie state I was just following along.
Hey Keith! A dusting of snow up here at 2100m. It was not the warmest morning, the snow was not going anywhere. When we left the moraine, Mike checked the map and said we would have to go through a section of trees. It turns out that in the Rockies, that just refers to the 50m of trees seen behind our train of hikers.
I don’t particularly like this photo. There’s too much contrast and you don’t get the small hiker in the large mountain landscape style that I enjoy. But it reminds me too much of my friend Greg, who likes to wear clothing that blends in the landscape, namely black and grey clothing, with a grey ski helmet and black or grey ski backpack to match. We tried to convince his wife that all his future choices of clothing colour should be bright pink. In the meantime, anytime we see something that looks like a rock, we’ll know Greg is hanging out with us too. Can you spot Greg in this photo?
Iceberg Lake. This is the fourth water body named Iceberg that I’ve visited. There are at least two in BC, Iceberg Lake in the Lizzie Creek area and Iceberg Lake below the east glacier of Rainbow Mountain near Whistler (unofficial name). There’s also the Iceberg Lake on the north side of Table Mountain, near the Mount Baker ski area in Washington too.
The Bow Glacier above Iceberg Lake, at 2200m. I have this saying, that “all BC lakes are warm.” I wasn’t sure about Alberta lakes though. I convinced the group to test out the water temperature though! There were some spectacular images that came out of the group swim, but those are not appropriate for the internet. I hear there’s this calendar coming out for 2017. If you’re lucky, you could get your hands on one of those. Sales coming soon!
The group up at Bow Lake. This was only half of the group that went hiking. The other half turned around at Bow Falls. We were quite the hiking group to start! Above the Bow Glacier, to the west, is the Wapta Icefields. Mike and Lisa picked the perfect spot for a hike on their wedding day. A spectacular destination that didn’t require too much effort or time to get to, but far enough to find solitude in the mountains with twenty of your friends.
Mount Jimmy Simpson, and the historic Num-Ti-Jah lodge. Num-Ti-Jah is the Stoney word for a pine marten. At the turn of the century, Jimmy Simpson arrived here and decided that one day he would “build a shack here.” After years of guiding and hunting and turning into a legendary outfitter in this part of the world, he started building the lodge in 1937 when the Icefields parkway reached Bow Lake. The lodge was completed in 1950.
All dressed up in our finest down jackets for the wedding ceremony. It was sunny while we lounged around on the red lawn chairs, but the temperature dropped as the cloud cover increased in the afternoon. Part of the Squamish-Vancouver contingent.
After the brief ceremony, we went down to the shore of Bow Lake for some photos. After standing around in the cold, everybody was antsy to go back inside to the warmth of the log cabin. Do we really need to go down and take some photos while it’s cloudy and cold out?
Hey, I think I know that guy. He’s Dave McDonald, and he makes his own beautiful cedar strip kayaks and canoes. Actually just one canoe. This the first canoe he’s built, a project that has taken him over 200 hours to complete. He claims to not even like canoeing. Dave was up late every night in the past week putting the final touches on his masterpiece. Does it float? This was the maiden voyage.
This was Dave’s wedding present to the couple. Incredible. Earlier in the day, Dave asked me if I was taking photos. I wasn’t sure, but I had my camera with me. He told me about his plan. About the stashed canoe. That I should persuade them to head down to the beach to take photos. And to distract the couple from seeing Dave when he came ashore. I was talking that photo above, with Mike and Lisa and the backdrop of the mountains beyond Bow Lake. They were completely surprised. Later on that evening, Dave said this was the toughest secret he’s kept. Way to go Dave!
This lodge is amazing. There’s a table with maps. Maps of the Rockies. So many places to explore. Maps to drool over. It’s hard not to get excited by all those peaks and valleys. Naturally, Maddy gets in her map time post-wedding ceremony.
After some champagne and appetizers, the paparazzi went back out to Bow Lake for some more intimate photos with just Lisa and Mike. The primary challenge was keeping other hikers and tourists out of the camera frame. I can’t blame them. It’s such a scenic spot. A pair of Korean hikers, now living in Seattle, even came up to the couple and took some photos together.
|Thanks for taking this photo! It’s just awesome. Photo by Jana Hanova. My simple camera setup for the day, Nikon D750 and Nikon 24-70mm 2.8.|
Signing the guestbook, which was an album of amazing photos from all their mountain and international travel adventures. Aside from this photo, there was not enough biking content in it according to Maddy. Alex and Maddy spent the prior week on a the mountain biking road trip. You might describe them as people who like to bike.
Alex was stoked that we finished the crossword challenge. Some of the questions, all related to Mike and Lisa, were hard to answer. Who would have guessed that Lisa’s favourite summer activity is climbing, or that Mike is into researching avalanches.
The stars were spectacular when the high clouds were not in the way. The Milky Way rises above the Wapta Icefields, with light pollution beyond. I was wishing I had my wide angle lens to capture the night sky. This image works for me. These images are simple to capture with a full frame camera. Just focus at infinity, use a high-ISO setting, and aim for a 20-30 second exposure. It’s easy to capture the sparkles on a frame, but the challenge is to come up with an astrophoto that stands out from the rest. It might help it I actually owned a tripod to do this stuff with.
After messing around in the cold for a while, balancing my camera off the bridge railing, I remember that Mike had his tripod. I started taking photos of the lake and thought, if I could drag Mike off the dance floor, I could capture a shot of the stars and the couple. It was a tricky shot. There was light coming out of the windows of the lodge, so I had to shift them over into the darkness. There was a rock that Mike sat on, staying as still as possible. The first shot didn’t work. I went for a longer exposure, but Lisa’s dress was reflecting the indoor light. I went for a shorter exposure and used the LED lights from the decorations to illuminated the back of Lisa’s dress. The camera was set with a timer. Once the shutter opened, I had Mike turn on the light for a second, and then off again. We tried that twice, the first time the light was on for too long. With a shorter duration on the next try, the second shot worked!
Starry night and a shiny canoe.
According to my friend Sarah, all I do now is smoke cigars and wear silk leisure suits.
More photos from this amazing wedding and magical night on the shores of Bow Lake. Congratulations Mike and Lisa! Let’s go skiing now!