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Roaming the Rockies: Hike to Ptarmigan Lake


This picture story was submitted by Amanda Langille of Kimberley, British Columbia


I’ve discovered the mountains call you.  Like the ocean does.  Completely and totally different yet the pull is the same.

My family and I embarked on an adventure.  Decided upon quickly, in May of this year, we all agreed to head West to help my sister and her husband who are welcoming their first baby in November.  No family around for them as we are from Nova Scotia and he from Northern Alberta.  It was a great excuse to shake up midlife and do something radically different.  Our boys, age 12 and 14, were all for it. New School, new friends, but they were excited for an adventure in the Rocky Mountains as well.  Them being willing and excited was the deciding factor for my husband, Zach, and myself.

Ptarmigan Lake was the definition of the adventure we were hoping for when we requested a year leave of absence from our jobs and moved to Kimberley, BC.  The hike up the mountain was intense for our East Coast legs, the risk of grizzly bears and cougars was real, and the reward at the end was like nothing I’ve ever seen.

This mountain lake has no tributaries and completely crystal clear water, and when I say crystal clear, I mean completely and totally clear.  Like turquoise glass.  But, with a coolness that you can feel just by looking at it.  Feeling with your eyes.  It is a weird sensation, but it happened here.  The huge mountain backdrop that cratered straight into the lake certainly helped. 

The magnitude of it all is very humbling as you gaze high up to where the peak traces the sky.  To think the Rocky Mountains were once ocean floor millions of years ago even furthers this sense of humility. I found proof of this when a step off trail was required by Mother Nature and right there in front of me was a fossil of a sea creature.  When I traced my finger over it, it took my imagination to that ocean floor in wonder about what else would have been seen at that time.

Alas, after some fishing, exploring, and swimming, it was time to go.  The hike down was much more quick than the hike up and we all felt a sense of accomplishment.  That was until we discovered our eldest forgot his fly fishing pole at the top of the mountain.  It was too late to go back, plus the thought of doing the incline twice in one day was more than we all could bare, so it was decided to leave it.  The hand tied nymph he did the day before and all.  Some lucky fisher will come across it and try their luck in that lake.  We all are wondering if they will leave it for the next person…a pay it forward fly pole?  I guess we will have to go back to find out.

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