Tower and Rockbound Lakes, Banff N.P., Alberta

Submitted by Lori S. on Sun, 07/21/2013 - 11:10

Our first hike of the year was on July 16th, and since many of our favourite areas are still inaccessible due to washed-out bridges, we tried a new one... Rockbound Lake in Banff N.P..

This photo tour will be mostly scenery shots of this very beautiful area.  I didn't take many plant shots at all -  it was pretty early up there and this area seems much less floriferous than our favourites.  The forest walk up is closed in, without views, and while there was a scattering of all the expected species, there didn't seem to be a great density of any species present in particular areas or in flower at this time.

End of the hike - Rockbound Lake and surroundings; high water mark shown by yellow pollen; Eisenhower Tower standing out from the cliff face:



Saxifraga bronchialis; a few very small Saxifraga oppositifolia, still in bloom; a few Anemone parviflora; was relieved to find a couple of Silene acaulis, while scouting around the lake a little!; Androsace septrentrionalis



Canyon at the head of the outflow stream; looking out on the valley... our original intent was to cross the stream visible in the distance and go up Helena Ridge to the left, however we couldn't find a place to cross without getting very wet boots so we abandoned that plan and hiked to the lakes instead.  The meadows would probably be nice for flowers in a few days.


Heading down, here is Tower Lake, down the steep trail from the cirque in which Rockbound Lake sits: 


A lovely spot along the trail where water seeps out through a moss-covered bank - a nice setting for colonies of butterworts (PInguicula vulgaris):

Twayblade orchids were quite common along the trail through the forest (my pictures are too fuzzy to ID the species!):



Submitted by Steve Newall on Sun, 07/21/2013 - 13:52

Always good to get on that first hike Lori . Beautiful weather and awesome scenery . Did you have a wee drop of rain over the winter?

[quote=Steve Newall]

Did you have a wee drop of rain over the winter?


Sure did though not over the winter!  The bridge wash-outs were due to rainfall in the week of June 15th (June 19-21st here in Calgary)... the usual time for spring rains here, but this year, a stalled weather front dumped up to 8" of rain in some areas (Canmore, west of here), falling on snowpack in the alpine areas.  Disastrous results for homes in the river floodplains in this area, and huge damage to infrastructure (the TransCanada Highway washed out at Canmore and underwater at Deadman's Flats; 5 bridges washed out on Highway 40 through Kananaskis Prov. Park, etc.); 100,000 people evacuated in parts of Calgary, etc.  Here's a summary:

... and some of the bridges in question: