Click on any image for an enlarged view.

Family Thanksgiving On the High Seas Of Maligne Lake

Friday, October 10, 2014

My Mom and I had been talking about spending Thanksgiving out in the hills for some time.  The original plan was to head to an ACC hut of some sort (Tonquin Valley being the prime candidate), sadly the hut was already fully booked so an alternate plan was in order.  Knowing that my Mom is an avid canoeist (if that is a word..) paddling down Maligne Lake to one of the campgrounds seemed like an ideal plan.  After looking into logistics to rent a boat planning was made even easier as we found you don't even have to transport a rented boat, they are already stashed out at the lake!  Looking at the weather Friday/Saturday had more pleasent seeming conditions than actual Thanksgiving day so we shifted the holiday around a few days and set out for the high seas.

Paddling down from the north side of the lake started off being quite nice, with blazing warm sun and virtually no wind.  It has been many years since I've been on a canoe and it took a while to get the hang of paddling again without brute forcing the stroke and using too much arm muscle (Vern is right that canoeing is great for building core strength!).  I was quite interested in getting beta on some of the peaks in the area (particularly Leah Peak and Samson Peak) and we ended up having excellent views of possible ascent routes on both.

Setting out on our adventure from the boat launch on the north shore.

First there was a low of gear to re-stow to avoid tipping!

Nice calm waters at the start of the trip.

Really pleasent paddling, especially without having to dodge the tourist boat.

Looking up towards Leah Peak.

A view of an unnamed peak (left), Leah Peak (centre), and Samson Peak (right). 

The unnmaed would make for an easy ascent with pretty decent views.

Looking across to the western shore.

Leah Peak is a nice looking peak.

Amazing water color around here.

The impressive towering Samson Peak.

Samson Peak looks less intimidiating the closer you get.

Zoomed in at the face of Samson Peak.

After passing Samson Peak the wind started really picking up making for less elegant (and much more strenuous) paddling.  Getting from Samson Peak down to the Samson Narrows was a tiring trek and I can see if you had a headwind the entire way getting to the south end of the lake would take a loooong time.  For our trip at least the wind came and went in spurts rather than a sustained gust so we could get brief brakes from taking pictures and admiring the views.  We wern't entierly certain where the campsite was other than 'on the east side of the lake on a bay in the narrows' and we ended up paddling past it and heading to the large and very obvious tourist dock one bay further south.  This turned out to be a nice diversion and gave us some lovely views of the southern part of the lake which would have otherwise been hidden.  Realizing our mistake we took back to the boat and battled increasingly choppy waves to get to the campsite (the campsite dock is really hard to spot unless you know what you are looking for!).


Unreal texture in the water!

Looking down to the south part of the lake near the Samson Narrows.

Looking back at Samson Peak from the southside.

Mount Charlton starts to peak out around the corner.

Almost at the narrows.

Amazing water color near Fisherman's Bay.

Looking south towards Mount Hawley, Mount Florence, and Mount Paul.

Putting in to shore at the tourist dock.

Nice views south from the tourist dock.

The campsite dock (in the middle of this picture) is much less obvious!

At the campsite we were glad to see that no other boats were moored suggesting (rightly) that we might have the campsite to ourselves (quite a nice treat as normally the lakeside camps can be quite busy).  After choosing one of the several picknick tables and a tent site it was time to start cooking the grand feast.  Turkey with gravy, stuffing, fire-grilled veggies, and an apple crumble for desert made for a fabulous meal indeed.  While eating dinner ominious clouds started to roll in which sure enough eventually turned into light showers.  After sunset the light showers turned into heavier and heavier showers and I started to really regret bringing my bivy sack...  Long story short the evening was not that restfull, oscillating between roasting in a sealed bag and getting soaked when venting it.


We had the whole campsite to ourselves.

Looking up at Charlton and Unwin from the dock.

Another view of Charlton and Unwin.

My Mom preparing our grand Thanksgiving feast.

The clouds started to roll in around dinner time.

The next morning the rain had stopped and after a civilizing cup of tea my spirits were restored.  Knowing that the lake generally starts off being calm in the morning and choppier as the day goes on we didn't want to linger around too long and after a tasty breakfast broke camp, loaded up the boat and started heading back northwards.  Luckily even with more clouds building again there was still plenty of good views to be had, with nearby giants Mount Charlton and Unwin being in centre stage.  While paddling back we were pleased to have an intermittent tailwind that made for nicer travel.  There were a surprising number of boats on the lake while we were heading back with three canoes heading over to Fisherman's Bay as well as three motorized boats cruising back and forth (thankfully they slowed to a crawl when approaching canoes so their wakes didn't cause too many troubles).


Clearer skies the next morning.

Easy to spend a long time taking pictures around here.

Morning views of Charlton and Unwin.

Time to head back in the boat and paddle again.

One last parting picture of Charlton and Unwin.

Looking at a snowier Samson Peak from the south.

A zoomed out view of Samson Peak from the south.

And a more zoomed in view.

Looking north towards the Skyline Trail peaks.

Leah Peak picked up some snow overnight.

The seas got a little bit rougher as we made our way north.

Looking over to the Bald Hills.

One last look back south.

All in all this was quite a nice little adventure.  It was good to get some canoeing experience (especially in somewhat rough water).  Someday (hopefully next year) have to come back and head all the way down the lake!

No votes yet


Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.