Mariwood Lake

September 02, 2016  •  2 Comments

It has been a while since I made a trip to this lake on the Forbidden Plateau area of Strathcona Park. The weather wasn't the best with clouds and showers and low temperatures but I figure that I could capture more dramatic photos with the floating mist than during complete sunshine.

I had a late start so I wasted little time making my way to Battleship Lake, then on to Lady Lake and a brief rest at Croteau Lake. The trails are all muddy again. They had dried out nicely with the summer heat until the cold and rain came. It almost seems like fall outside with the temperatures barely rising about double digit. Some blueberry bush leaves are turning autumn colors and the grasses in certain areas of the meadows have turned yellow.

Mt Washington shrouded in fog

Alpine meadow not far from the parking lot

Croteau Lake

I was thankful for the cool temperatures to reduce the mosquito population and there wasn't any blackflies on this trip to bother me but I hated the dampness along the reduced temperatures. It's hard to dry out my hands with the towel. They still felt slightly damp due to the high humidity.

The trails were deserted along the way and even signs of wildlife were lacking. I didn't hear any birds at all; they must be taking shelter. When I reached a junction, I took the turnoff to Panther Lake. I was here a little over a week ago on a bright sunny day and only took a few photos as there was too much contrast between dark and light. There was a lot of shadow with loss of detail.

Trail cuts through an open meadow

Spindly trees with beard lichen hanging from their branches

I decided to wear my rainpants as the trail is overgrown in places with blueberry bushes. It was a good decision because my boots never got wet inside so I am quite happy with these new boots although I did have an incident while hiking through the forest. The design of the boots resembles a climbing shoe with the laces reaching quite far forward; more so than a regular hiking boots. This is where the problem lay. As I was hiking, my boot lace near the toe caught a jagged end of the root as I was in forward motion and it snagged it stemming my movement. It was like my left foot was caught and I couldn't extricate it so I ended up stumbling. The other incident was stepping on a slanted wet rock which caused me to slip. Despite good soles, nothing can prevent a slip on wet smooth surfaces. Hiking poles would have helped but I didn't bother bringing them with me. I mostly used them for very steep hikes.

The large tarn where I ate lunch

I couldn't believe the amount of ripe blueberries on the many bushes beside the trail. I picked a handful for lunch when I stopped at a tarn to eat lunch. It wasn't long before I started to cool down and my fingers got numb. I couldn't wear my gloves because I was busy eating. Rain came down now and then which made photographing more challenging. Several mosquitoes did manage to drop by but I caught them in flight and squished them. I only stayed long enough to filter water and eat my lunch since I was getting a bit chilled.

The top of Mt. Elma hidden under low clouds

After lunch, I took a little used route up to Mariwood Lake. It was overgrown in places so my rainpants got totally wet but I remained dry. I like the topography around the lake area. Lots of nice subalpine areas and the lake is dotted with small islands. There was a lot of low fog and mist which provided an opportunity to photograph the area under different lighting conditions.

Mariwood Lake

I only stopped long enough to photograph and didn't linger around very long on this wet rainy day instead I made my way up to Kwai Lake and the empty campsite. From here, it was just a matter of retracing my steps back to Croteau, Lady Lake and Battleship Lake then back to the parking area.

Misty day at Kwai Lake

Up from Kwai Lake, I did pass other people heading up this way which kind of surprised me. There are people who don't mind hiking in the rain. However, the crowds have mostly abated and the parking lot wasn't full when I got back. It was a rather refreshing day.


I like this trip also because of the many tarns and alpine meadows plus it is less traveled by other hikers therefore gives a sense of isolation which is hard to find in the Forbidden Plateau area of the park.
1.Gerry Roberts(non-registered)
Hi Ron ... Love this trip, it's one of my favourite I've done it many times I even managed it six months after my knee replacement in 2005. I particular like the overgrown trail from Panther to Mariwood and when possible continue to Lake Beautiful and the Cruickshank overview. When possible I returned via Hair trigger and Helen Mackenzie.

Thanks for the memories ... GERRY
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