High up and nestled in a mountain valley above Lake Louise, Alberta, the Skoki trail is a moderately challenging adventure hike. Sure, you could helicopter in, and sure, you could stay at the lodge (which has hosted celebrities and royals.) Or, you can hike the distance up and over the summit, into the valley and camp rough in the wilds of the Rocky Mountains like we did in 2018.
for whatever one photo is worth:
After three nights in the wilderness, filling our days with wandering trail exploration, circumnavigating Mount Skoki (the hazy one on the right, if I remember correctly), rehydrating our food with hand filtered river water boiled over a firefly stove all while avoiding the swarms of mosquitos, this photo was us clambering back to the trailhead where our truck was parked.
The interesting thing about this hike is that there are multiple and roughly parallel routes in and out. While the base ten kilometers or so doesn’t vary much, the trail splits as you need to decide which path to take over the summit and into the valley behind where the campsites and lodge hide.
We took the main route inbound which took us on a hard climb up and then a winding path down through that forested green ridge in the right of the photo.
On the way out we followed the creek in the centre of the photo towards a pair of glacial lakes (behind me, the photographer) out of frame, that first required some tough (particularly with a heavy pack on) climbs up and between boulders to the edge of the lakes. Then, after a rest at the lakes, the hike continued up a steep ascent to a different pass over the ridge and back down to join the other trail.
The path inbound definitely seemed easier, and the views were great, but we were also fresh and rested on day one.
The path out was much more challenging, but the scramble beside the lakes and the pause we took overlooking a glassy glacial pool still sticks in my mind as a highlight of the trip.