Sunday, August 8, 2021

Mosaic Monday #142: A Slice of Paradise

On our third day in the Belly River area, we saw a slice of paradise, and it is called Helen Lake.  (See previous post for the first two days of the camping trip.)

The day began indulgently.  With no need to break camp, we could sleep in a bit.  Our nephew took advantage of this, while we grabbed some coffee and headed down to Elizabeth Lake.  A fellow camper told us he had just seen a moose, but there was no sign of it by the time we arrived at the beach. 

Spousal Unit relished his fishing, while I enjoyed observing a plover working the shore edges.  Ducks dove under the water repeatedly - could they have been fishing as well?  Eventually we made our way back to camp for breakfast, and joined in a lively conversation with the three campers that had arrived late the night before.  One of them was the person who had seen the moose, and I eagerly looked at the photos on his camera.  They reported seeing a bear on the way in, and the lady camper showed us a brief video.   We learned they live in Pittsburgh, but we still liked them after we ascertained they are not Steelers fans!

We set off for Helen Lake, sparingly loaded for the 2.6 mile trek.  Once again, stunning vistas enthralled us.  Abundant waterfalls threaded through avalanche chutes on their way to the valley floor.  Above them, two glaciers shone down with their unique blue-white color.

On the final approach to the lake, a waterfall with a "single-lane" log bridge greeted us.  It's hard to imagine something more picturesque.

Here is a video of the falls.

The turquoise water sparkled and shimmered in the afternoon sunlight as the men took a dip in the crystalline lake.

This panorama shot by my nephew captures the spirit of Helen Lake, which we decided was the best part of our trip thus far.

I wandered the shoreline, taking in the pristine meadows.  When I returned to the men, they suggested I point my binoculars to the distant hillside.  A moose!  We took turns observing it until the large mammal disappeared into a copse of trees.  We lingered, and watched clouds start to scud across the mountain tops.  Then, the young ranger we had met the day before appeared, and when we asked her about the weather, she noted that some lightning was in the forecast. 

We headed back to camp at a steady clip, but we still got caught in the downpour.  Neither man had his rain coat (breaking the first rule of mountain hiking), but even with my rain coat, I was drenched below my knees!  The rain ran straight down my legs, and the heavy brush contributed enough water that my boots squelched loudly as we re-entered camp.  Our nephew had run ahead since we had also left tent flaps open!  We know better than to assume a sunny start to the day means it will end that way, and this was a good reminder.  We got lucky that the rain didn't last long, and came straight down so that nothing inside the tents got wet.  Whew!

We hung wet clothes to dry and headed to the beach.  While the men fished (yes, again), the mist clung stubbornly to the mountains.  But there was enough sun to dry our boots for the next morning.  Nephew had the clever idea to take out the insoles, and that sped up the process.

During the fishing, Spousal Unit spotted a moose in the bay, beyond the sight line of me and my nephew.  We scrambled for a better view, and my nephew captured a few still photos and a video.  Two moose in one day!  My cup overflowed!

That evening, two couples and a single female hiker joined the cooking circle.  The two couples, one from Wisconsin and another from California, were hiking as a group and, while cordial, kept pretty much to themselves.  The solo hiker seemed to need some company (and some help, such as hanging her food bag).  We were intrigued (and I was privately alarmed) to learn she planned a total of 110 miles of hiking in one fell swoop.  She entertained us with a number of critter stories, including one about a marmot that stole her solar charger.  (She got it back by waiting for the marmot to come out of its hole and then putting her arm down there ...)  As much as we wanted to hear more, we planned rising at 6 am the next day to dry our tents prior to departure, so that also meant an early bedtime.  As I drifted off to sleep, visions of Helen Lake flickered before me like frames on a movie screen.  It was so close to perfection that, if I hadn't seen it myself, I could have been convinced our little slice of paradise was nothing more than clever CGI.  

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  1. What a beautiful area Angie. Helen Lake is stunning, it does look CGI! ;) So amazing that you saw moose. That is an elusive animal here despite the huge population in New Brunswick. I've only seen one moose once in the last year. It was last fall when I was coming home from the monthly shopping trip, 5pm already dark and suddenly something was crossing the road. I slammed on the brakes and there it was, a HUGE buck staring at me. I tried to get a photo but it trotted off while I fumbled (a little nervous I admit) for my phone!! They are gorgeous creatures!! Thanks for the visit! Every time I visit, I realize how much I miss going fishing!!! ☺

  2. That really is a most beautiful, beautiful place and you are so lucky to be there...but you knew that!

  3. sure looks like paradise to me! Thanks Angie for hosting the party.

  4. this place is almost a fairy tale. :) Beautiful and mysterious. :)
    Love the colorful waterfall

  5. What a great place!! Your photos are so lovely. Glad you had a great time. Kit

  6. I had to laugh at the Steelers comment. My husband went to college in WV and is a huge Steelers fan. Helen Lake and her surroundings are absolutely stunning.

  7. It is always so wonderful to see the glaciers surviving in those beautiful mountains in the park. Angie, especially after the warming trends this summer. How has the wildfire smoke been your way> We have been suffering with plumes of it here. Helen Lake looks so beautiful! I'm glad you were able to see a moose and that your nephew enjoyed camping with you both.

  8. Hello Angie,
    Gorgeous views of the Helen Lake, mountains and glacier. Congrats on your 2 moose sightings. Sounds like an awesome camping trip, beautiful photos. Have a great new week!

  9. What a beautiful place! I always think of zooming in on scenes but in this case, you wish you could back up even more. I'm glad you had a good hike and it's interesting to meet people. Seeing a moose twice is great too! Happy Monday!

  10. It is a delightful place, Angie, and certainly provides a great opportunity to marvel at the wonders of nature. That lake is stunning!

  11. PS: And thank you as always for hosting, Angie.

  12. Thanks for your nice comment on my blog and your answer to my coyote question, dear Angie. Your pictures of the paradisiacal area really look like something out of a fairy tale book! The thing about the moose reminds me of my trip to Finland many years ago. Back then I was traveling alone to camp in the forest - and everyone I told this to asked me if I wasn't afraid of moose or bears. No, I wasn't. And the only animals that I discovered at "my" lake in the woods were ducks. (And lots of mosquitos.) The water in the lake was probably as cold as the water in Helen Lake(?) At that time it unfortunately started to rain so heavily that it rained through my tent.

    Back to your adventure, the weather change came as suddenly as it did with us the other day on Mount Rax. Wet shoes are not so good - luckily they got dry again!
    Have a happy new week! Hugs,

  13. I have no doubt that this has been a grand adventure, Angie.

  14. Lovely Scenery. Happy Mosaic Monday

    much love

  15. Majestic scenery! Happy trails and travels this August.

  16. Angie, it seems to me there is day after day of "slices of paradise" in your part of the world. Gorgeous scenery. Is there anything more calming than the sound of water gushing from a waterfall?? And with the backdrop of all that natural beauty....such peace. I am so glad a bear didn't see your open tent flap and decide to have a little snooze inside, while you were away. three, wouldn've known what to do, wouldn't you?? =)

  17. A lovely post Angie, it really looks such a beautiful area.
    I enjoyed your photographs and videos.
    That was a nice looking fish :)

    All the best Jan

  18. I do enjoy reading about your hiking/backpacking adventures. It's amazing the vistas you get to enjoy being out in the wild. The single gal stories are something else. How fun to see a moose. That panorama shot is amazing. Happy trails to you...

  19. Sounds like an incredible time at Helen Lake.

  20. It seems to be cold water, where you was swimming. Brrrr... I prefer swimming in a sea. But it shouldn't be to cold. The nature around is wonderful, I wished I could be there and breathe.

    Sorry for late comment, in this days I had some arrhythmias.

    Happy MosaicMonday, have a good week.

  21. What a beautiful spot! I've never camped, so I enjoyed your tales. My hubby can barely cope with walking, he's a wreck!

  22. Angie, Thanks so much for sharing this hiking trip. Love the falls video though the bridge strikes a little narrow. Nice to see wildlife from a safe distance. Sylvia D.

  23. The lake is amazing! It looks like heaven!

  24. Ah, the Pittsburgh joke. It must be like the ones we reserve for Londoners or people south of Watford? Somehow Angie I pictured Moose everywhere and not for one to be a major sighting. I think I watched too many Westerns? Spectacular views as usual.

  25. these posts are so exciting...makes me wish i were a camper, NOT!! i am just kidding of course but i do like clean white sheets and room service!! i enjoyed the videos, waterfalls are a favorite and 2 moose in one day, you are indeed lucky but also in the right place for that!!

    gorgeous views!!

  26. Hello Angie,
    Helen Lake looks like a beautiful spot to explore. The falls video was lovely to watch. How great that you saw not one, but TWO moose!

  27. Brilliant photos of the Rivers, they are cool.

  28. So amazing to see two moose in one day and oh my gosh that Lake and its surrounds are stunning. We would love it there and I loved your pictures and descriptions. I remember more than once forgetting those lessons you mention back when we were tent campers. (not nearly as much fun at the time as it is now remembering them)

  29. What a beautiful place and fantastic photos. Very special to see the moose. Shame about the rain but thank goodness you were able to dry out.

  30. What a great hike you had. Fishing, moose spotting, hiking. You got rained on but you lived and your stuff didn't get wet in your tents.

    Pulling the insoles out to let the shoes dry is a runners trick. I do that when I wash my shoes in the washer and drier. (Only when Heather is gone for a while of course)