Our last day of hiking. Another cool overcast day, with cloud hanging low over the lake and Berg glacier. We packed up and had breakfast at the shelter, before one final group photo marked our cue to leave. We started out along the side of the lake and as we reached the Marmot campground at the western end it began to snow. Not heavily, but it was driven by a stiff breeze. Brrr. We kept up a steady pace and before too long were back in the cover of the trees by the Emperor Falls campground. The dull day seemed to emphasize the yellows in the fall colours, and we enjoyed our easy walk back.
Low cloud drifted around the upper walls of the valley, giving us only occasional glimpses of the surrounding peaks, yet Mount Robson itself was (amazingly) almost clear. We came to Emperor Falls and couldn’t resist another look, though for the most part we were content to view from a distance. We began our descent, which brought back the memories of the uphill struggle I had endured only a couple of days before. Falls of the Pool came and went, and we paused briefly at the top of the switchbacks to take in the view of the valley below.
Soon we were back down in the valley and we made good time along the flat, despite being a little tired. We crossed the river on the wibbly suspension bridge at Whitehorn campground and stopped for lunch when we came to a spot with a peek-a-boo view of the flood plain and Kinney Lake beyond. A few minutes further and we were out on the open flats. We crossed the river once more and began the agonizing and completely unnecessary climb. Up and down the trail meandered before dumping us back down on the flat at Kinney Lake. It’s not really a very long stretch of the trail, but it was exhausting.
We stopped again at Kinney Lake for a top-up snack and enjoyed some welcome sunshine. The appearance of the sun meant only one thing for Merewyn: time for one final swim in the lake. We lounged around for a bit before shouldering our packs for the next stretch, back to the far side of Kinney Lake where we had the spectacular reflections of Whitehorn mountain on the way in. No such luck today, but we did have some great views of other glaciers up on Mount Robson which we had ignored on our first day. We waved goodbye to the valley and yomped the final 5 km back to the trailhead. We did our best to ignore the km markers, and within a little over an hour we were back at the car.
Woohoo! It was only about 4 pm, so we piled into the car and headed to the Robson Meadows campground. We drove round and found a spot near the toilet block. Pitching our tents was an interesting experience as the ground was so hard, we bent quite a few pegs trying to get them in. And then the most amazing experience. Hot showers. Free hot showers. OMFG. Words cannot describe how welcome they were, especially as it was feeling chillier at this campground than we had felt up at Berg Lake. Weird.
Feeling suitably clean and tidy we set off back in to Valemount for dinner. This time it was going to be the Caribou Grill and we celebrated the end of a superb trip in fine style. The food was pretty damn good, and we would definitely eat there again. There’s nothing like ending a good trip with good food and beer. Or wine. :-)