I was due to go out, head west, go big and then go home! A friend was on the same page as me so we threw around a few ideas then settled on attacking Aylmer Lookout. I referred to my four go-to weather forecast sites and they were all in agreement of it being a bright & cheerful day in the Banff region. It was bright & cheerful all expect for the 54 minutes we spent at the summit. We savoured those 54 minutes and we felt cheerful & bright and thankful for our day.
We got a somewhat early start knowing this place was going to be bustling today. I was surprised how busy the parking lot was already and I believe that is a sign of what this summer will be like out there. Starting out we had the pretty morning shadows. There's that cheerful & bright forecast! We spied the fishermen already out in their boats.We reached the LM8 intersection and stopped for a snack before attacking the steep trail up. It was in fine shape and only near the last intersection we encountered a small bit of snow on the trail and on the trees. It felt cool & fresh which made for ideal steep hiking conditions.
We reached the summit and it was cold. Before doing anything, I made sure to capture a summit shot with at least a tiny speck of blue in the sky. That was the most blue we would have for our summit stay.
I spread out my rain cape which we settled down on to dine. We both fit on it along with all our gear. This is a tick haven and we did every little thing possible to help with the prevention of the transportation of even one tick. After fueling up, I played around a bit. I played with perspective. You can figure out how big this heart actually is! Sometimes I wonder when am I ever going to grow up!After close to an hour at Aylmer Lookout, we packed up our gear and made our way to begin the descent. As we left the summit, the sky began to clear and there was that cheerful & bright again. We made our way straight through LM8 Campground down to the shore of Minniwanka Lake and hung out just long enough to snack and admire the scenery.
It was cheerful & bright for the last 8 kilometres. We rounded a corner and there to our right was this herd of mountain sheep. They stood there showing off their profile. They did not move and they did not turn their heads. My friend said they look majestic and I was in agreement. She counted seven of them and they were all males. When we passed by I looked back and they were beginning to move. On the hike in I was looking for a crocus or two but none were to be seen. It wasn't until near the end of the switchbacks on the way back that I spotted two. They were in the prime of their life. I really liked the lighting here at this time of late, late afternoon.
At this point my "dogs were barking" (the bottoms of my feet were sore) and I just wanted to get back to the car! We decided to just keep going but I did stop for one final photo. The view was just so pretty and it was peopleless.
It felt good to have accomplished the distance and elevation today without feeling exhausted considering it has been awhile since I went big. I am grateful for having a day that was cheerful & bright in every way even if at times it was only in our minds!