Monday, July 13, 2009

Love Lake

Okay, I'm a big hero, the Della Falls trails was easy. Ha.

After arriving at camp on day one I set up, ate and had time to walk to the base of Della Falls before sunset.

The challenging hike was up to Love Lake on day two.
The trail climbs steeply up the mountain across from Della Falls to give the best views of the 440m falls.

As I switch backed up the mountain I would spend the next three hours climbing, I looked up to a rock ledge above me and saw a black bear looking down at me.

It was way above me, but I could see it checking me out, the same way I was checking it out.

I stopped, breathing heavily already from the climb, and debated canceling my plan. That left me with few options. The other hikes in the area require climbing gear and there wasn't a peaceful body of water to sit beside and read the day away. I took another look at the bear and continued climbing.

Well, that was it. For the first time in my life, I was scared of wildlife. I treeplanted for 11 seasons and never worried about bears.

On my walk in, I had started a little inside joke with myself. I had seen the scat of a small animal and decided it was wolverine.

I know there are no wolverines on Vancouver Island. I know they are vicious animals. In university I saw a slide show of a moose that a wolverine had attacked by jumping onto its back from a tree and eating it alive over many days as it walked.

Each time I saw animal sign, or felt nervous after that, I would say wolverine and start laughing.

But it didn't work on the Love Lake trail so I started singing. I don't know the words to a lot of songs. Three very different pieces walked me up that steep, treacherous trail waiting for a bear or cougar to jump me from above.

The main number was She'll be Coming Around the Mountain When She Comes. Annoying and appropriate. That was interspersed with bits of Spiders by Moby and Do You Feel It? by the Joe Cuba Sextet.

The Love Lake trail is the place to see Della Falls, and the precious little alpine lake they pour out of, which is Della Lake, not Beauty Lake as I said before.

Beauty Lake and Beauty Falls are just a little way down the valley from Della and almost as impressive.

It's like a ring of snow-topped mountains wrap their rocky arms around this little bowl with a turquoise puddle and just tip it so the stream falls thinly from the edge.

Love Lake was my planned swimming hole. Luckily I knew before I ascended that it would still be covered in ice thanks to water taxi operator Bruce, but it was still a surprise to see a big lake capped with thick ice on a hot day at the end of June.

I sat there looking at the impressive peaks of Mount Septimus and Mount Rosseau (1962m) across the ice and ate, and generally reveled in my well-earned summit.

I didn't feel fearful again after that.

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