It’s not my first time to Berg Lake. I was there at the same time last year too, but it called me back and here I am writing this with eight blisters and aching muscles again. Berg Lake campground is 22 kilometers deep into Mount Robson Provincial Park, BC at the foot of the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, Mount Robson. The 44-km round trip takes you through some of the most incredible scenery and to a basecamp for even more adventure. Last time I did this trip solo, but this time I was taking two close friends out with me for their first time.
I’ve come to accept that all the best adventures start with something unexpected…but snow…in the middle of summer. Temperatures plummeted on the 5-hour drive up the Icefields Parkway to the trailhead and the white stuff was dumping on us the entire way.
Fortunately, the snow stopped and within a few hours the valley bottom was clear again and we could begin the short 7-km hike to the first campground for the night, Kinney Lake. For most, this lake is a great first camp after the long drive to get here and for some it’s the final destination, especially for families with young children. It’s a beautiful campground with tent pads right on the lake and incredible views all around.
We fell asleep early that night, exhausted from the drive, weather and the short hike in. The following morning we woke up to some incredible light and not realizing the 1-hour time change between Alberta and British Columbia, we slept straight through sunrise. We packed up early and hit the trail to finish the last 14 kilometers to Berg Lake. This section of the trail is wild, passing through the ‘Valley of a Thousand Falls’ and making your way up the steep slopes to the incredible Emperor Falls.
With a short stop at Emperor Falls we finished the rest of the hike within 5 hours, set up camp and fell asleep on our mats. After a few refreshing hours of extra sleep, we explored the area and watched the glacier cave into the lake several times, the roar was deafening. We joined some other campers for dinner in the wooden shelter at the campground. Teriyaki Chicken with rice went down a treat, followed by some hot chocolate to stay warm for the night. Sunset came around fast and before we knew it, it was dark and we were ready for bed.
We woke early the next morning to an incredible sunrise, with alpine glow igniting the surrounding mountains. Mount Robson basked in the pink sunlight, its glacier glowing a deep blue below with the turquoise waters of Berg Lake mirroring the scene in the foreground. After shooting sunrise and cooking up some oatmeal, we made some lunch and packed our daypacks ready for a hike. Limited with weight, I brought along my Canon 5DII, Canon 17-40 & Canon 24-70mm along with my iPhone 6 and the LifeProof FRĒ Power and NÜÜD cases. The great thing about carrying the FRĒ Power case, is that they not only protect my phone while I’m out, but they also charge it on the go so I have battery power the entire trip.
We hiked up to Mumm Basin, which offered mind-blowing views of the entire area and the summit itself. It’s an easy half-day hike, which gave us plenty of time to get photographs before descending down Toboggan Falls. The lack of sleep from waking up early sent us all back to sleep for an hour. Unfortunately, we woke up to thick smoke that had blown in from the wildfires down in Washington — it made photographing the area impossible and was tough on the lungs. We made the call to hike out the entire way the following day instead of staying an extra night like we initially planned. It was a good call because by the end of the following day the smoke was so thick you couldn’t see the mountains anymore.
The hike out is all downhill and took just over four hours to complete the 22 kilometers. We woke up early and made it back to the car well before mid-day. Tired, and with feet covered in blisters, we began the long drive home feeling accomplished and happy that we escaped the incoming smoke before it got too unbearable to be outside in for long amounts of time.