Today is our “rest” day up at Berg Lake tucked in behind Mount Robson. Since we hiked to the toe of Robson Glacier yesterday, we plan to hike up the Mumm Basin Route, over to Hargreaves Lake and back down close to Marmot Campground. We think it is a 10 to 12 km hike – some rest day! At least I will be hiking with no pack, unlike Murray who will have his backpack on with our rain gear, lunch and first aid kit inside.
The sky is almost cloudless and Mount Robson is glorious in the sunshine. Berg Lake is calm in the morning and we see small ice floes that have broken off the glacier during the night. We drink in the colour of the lake and the ice atop the mountain.
We hike towards Robson Pass and meet three young guys from Brittany, France who are spending 6 weeks touring Canada. They are very friendly and willing to chat. We try to talk them into hiking part of the West Coast Trail since they are heading to Victoria next. After leaving them, we start up a steep path towards Mumm Basin. The forest hike keeps the views hidden and it is easy to concentrate on the task at hand – climbing almost straight up for about a kilometer. We finally pop up out of the trees and are stunned at the views. We are looking down onto Berg and Mist Glaciers and their lakes. We realize that Mist Glacier does have a lake at the toe of its glacier at the campground level it is hidden behind a very large terminal moraine.
We can see mountain ranges to the east and west of where we stand. The long range views remind us just how massive the mountains are.
We hike along varying surfaces – hard rock to soft forest floor. We notice the difference even through our hiking boots. As a note, I hike today in old hiking shoes, it is not necessary to have hiking boots to do this route. We pass through changing environments from forest to meadow to scree slope back to rock rubble and meadow. We talk loudly and I break into off key song to alert any bears that might have wandered up there during the night.
We lunch on a great round flat rock on the lee side of some trees, hidden from the wind, admiring the views and calling “hello” to other hikers passing by. Once we know other hikers have passed along our route we can be quite confident they have scared away any bears, I stop singing, Murray’s ears sigh with relief.
We cross Toboggan Creek upstream of the falls and the bridge crossing site shows off the smoothed and curvacious rock forms created from the swirl of water tumbling down the creek.
We hike towards Hargreaves Lake and Murray hikes up the moraine to take a peek. I sit to rest as I am nursing slightly sore knees and I know what’s coming the next day. Murray says that Hargreaves Lake is a big puddle of water and the glacier is quite large but has receded a long ways.
We start to descend through the rock rubble of the Hargreaves Glacier’s lateral moraine, finally reaching the forest where the ground is again very soft and the footing much better. The descent on this end is much shallower than the Mumm Basin end and I would recommend traveling in the same direction as we do. We reach the campground after about 6 hours with lots of stops to absorb the views.
Berg Lake is an awesome tourist spot. Even though there are loads of people up here, it doesn’t feel like a typical tourist spot, as Lake Louise say. The back country campsites are private, well maintained and comfortable. The only wildlife we encounter are ground squirrels and chipmunks (who tried to steal our lunch). The bugs are mostly non existent although there were these small flies that bite.
It has been another perfect day in the alpine with not a cloud in the sky, the glaciers continue their booming conversation, and the continuous din of the streams provide background noise much like the traffic in the city. Our eyes are overwhelmed by the visuals in very direction. Where else can we eat breakfast, lunch and supper with views of two glaciers and the majestic Mount Robson.