The Joys of Berg Lake:
By Peter Austen
Berg Lake in late August after a 12-mile hike from the Yellowhead Highway
is a sublime pleasure. The mosquitoes have all gone back to the Yukon;
their southern biting holidays over and the last of the alpine gentians
are packing it in for the winter. Fall is in the air, leaves are just
turning light orange and the north face of Robson is bare of snow. In
its place blue and green ice hangs suspended below giant gargoyles.
Oh joy! We have pork chops and Cajun spices and a small bottle of unopened
Drambuie. Icebergs drift lazily around Berg Lake and the occasional
splash whips your head around as another Volkswagen sized berg hits
the lake from the Mist Glacier.
can hear vague shouts from the ghost of Curly Phillips, the horsepacker,
and the clients of Konrad Kain in 1913 as they made ready to have a
crack at "The Mountain of The Spiral Road" as the native people called
Robson. Mount Robson is a very difficult ascent from any side. The weather
is notoriously fickle and believe it or not on average Mount Everest
welcomes three times as many people on its summit as Mount Robson does.
In some years no one reaches the one square meter of snow on top.
Falls tumbles along to the side of the Robson Chalet and it is a super
half-day hike along its banks. There is a hidden cave on the lower slopes
of Mumm Peak about one hour above the Chalet. Take a flashlight or lose
yourself forever in its slippery labyrinth.
by the shores of Adolphus Lake reminds me of my childhood in the English
Lake District. Meadows, poplars and conifers meld into the landscape.
It is peaceful here at the turn of the summer season.
Pass is three hours hike from Berg Lake Chalet and is occasionally closed
to save the trails from erosion but when I can go up I wait in the meadows
high up for about an hour. Then I am usually privileged to have ten
Hoary marmots sit on my lap and cast their big brown eyes into mine.
Nuts, give me nuts, their hypnotic secret code implores. I know I shouldn't
but I give in – they are so cute and I can't live on one thing all the
time can I? A complete circumnavigation of Robson takes about ten days
and is a wilderness undertaking starting at Moose Pass. The trail can
be very hard to find. The north boundary trail starts from Berg Lake
and goes through some glorious isolated country to finish at Celestine
Lake in Japer Park. I knew it was isolated when I ran into a grizzly
bear and we took off at high speed in different directions.