The trailhead is very near my favourite moose meadow, and there were a phalanx of people out moosewatching, including a guy from Idaho who owns a place in Banff but always comes down here to find moose. There were 3 moose, a girl in a nearby bog...
|They actually eat the mud|
|Boy laying down in the centre, girlfriend on right|
|Most of the road looks like this|
Past here, the trail for the next 5 km is obvious but narrow, narrow, narrow as you squeeze through trees so tight your daypack barely fits. First stop is the waterfall on Commonwealth Creek.
|The main falls|
|Rapids above the falls|
|Three baby falls|
|Trail glued on the hillside on right|
|The target for the day is the gap in the middle|
|The stream. It had moose prints in it.|
|A big pile with a footprint in it|
|A wet pile. They don't stay wet long|
We crossed under the avalanche slopes of The Fist...
|The Fist on the right. You can scramble it from the col in the centre|
The meadows end for a bit at a big scree slope that is undoubtedly flood damage.
|A waterfall on the right, scree on the left|
|The glacier under the sun|
|For the record, rocks tumbled off the cliff behind us|
|Looking back at the traverse from the top|
|Looking back at Rummel Pass|
|Out of view lower right... 8 hikers picnicking. Mt. Smutwood behind|
|Traverses visible on the left|
|The upper lake comes into view from the traverse|
|The upper lake under "Mt. Smutwood"|
|Looking back at the lower lake|
|Mt. Sir Douglas & it's glaciers, Mt. Snow|
|Looking down towards White Man's Pass in Banff|
|Mt. Smuts & the lower lake|
We headed down via the upper lake, and continued down beside the waterfall to the lower lake.
|The upper lake's outflow|
|Mt. Smuts towers|
|The lake drains towards the waterfall|
|Mt. Smutwood over the exit stream|
|Mt. Smuts and the lower lake from the top of the waterfall|
|The waterfall creek flows into the lower lake|
|Now it's green|
|The view across the valley to Rummel Pass, 9.5 km away|
|Digging for ground squirrels|
Aside from moose, the only other animal we saw to today was a chipmunk.
|Good tasting grass|
|The falls on the backside of Piggy Plus|
|Commonwealth Falls again, in the afternoon sun|
It's also interesting that the lakes themselves have no outflow. You can see all the water going it, but it doesn't come out anywhere. Anyone want to bet this is the source of Karst Spring?
BTW, you may have noticed there were larches. Yep. But no, this isn't a great larch hike, since you have to go too far to see too few. The larches were just starting to turn, as you can tell in the photos, and while the willows and bushes in the meadows were in nice colours, the larches won't be "in" for another 5-7 days.