In the summer of 2018 we spent a week backpacking in the Rocky Mountains near Lake Louise, Alberta, conquering a trail known as the route to Skoki Lodge. We roughed it, camping out of whatever we lugged on our backs up the nearly-twenty kilometer hike. Dehydrated food, lightweight gear, water filtered from a mountain stream, and a couple amazing day hikes.
It was also forest fire season, so at least two days of our time in the wilderness were socked in with a thick haze of sore-throat inducing smoke that blocked out nearly all the scenery while still somehow having zero effect on the mosquito population.
for whatever one photo is worth:
After we descended the mountain, tired, sore, and smelly, we spent an extra day in the small town of Lake Louise to recover before the long drive home.
Lake Louise is a place of epic beauty.
Many people come to Canada to see the mountains and find themselves in Banff.
Banff is also a gorgeous mountain town, but it is relatively big and full of people. Touristy, with kitschy souvenir shops and parking lots and traffic lights. Some of the people who visit Banff have done their research and drive an hour down the road to Lake Louise for a day or two where a grand hotel sits at the edge of a glacial lake a the foot of a picturesque mountain.
A subset of those folks who find their way to Lake Louise take yet another short side trip and discover Moraine Lake.
It was still smoky and the hint of sun that broke through was itself threatening to duck behind the mountains for the evening when we found our way to the shore of Moraine. Our legs were still achy and tired from the previous day’s descent down from the Skoki valley. And we were not keen on driving back the narrow mountain road through the dark. We walked around the edge of the lake for a few minutes, and I snapped about a dozen photos including one of the colourful rental canoes tethered to the dock for the evening.
We went home the next day.
Weeks went by and we shared stories of our hike with friends and family.
Summer turned into autumn and autumn into winter.
Snow. Routine. Work.
I had stopped for coffee in the break area of my office. As the holiday approached and people were feeling the need for some festive fun, someone had set up a jigsaw puzzle at one of the lunch tables. I meandered over to look, and picked up the box to see what the picture would become.
The sky in that photo was a little brighter, and the canoes were arranged a little differently, but I recognized the scene immediately: Moraine Lake …in five hundred tiny pieces.