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During our family camping trip in the summer of 2021, we took our family up to Helen Lake at the base of Cirque Peak. This hike is about 14km with 600 meters gained in elevation, not usually for kids aged 5, 7, and 9, but our kids rocked it. We were nearly at Helen Lake on the way up, and I had been enjoying the views of Dolomite Peak across the valley. Dolomite Peak is an impressive mountain that slightly resembles Castle Mountain along Highway. The difference being, I have never seen photos of Dolomite Peak. Earlier in the year, I decided I wanted to start hiking/snowshoeing into more unique areas of the Canadian Rockies and try to present it a little bit differently; here was a perfect opportunity.
I came across this particular composition during our hike that day but, with smokey conditions that summer, I decided against hiking back up the mountain for sunset that trip. I logged the spot on my phone for a future trip.
That future trip would come two months later in September of 2021. During this trip, we got a bit of every season. After setting up our tent in the rain, I took a look at the forecast for my two sunset photographs with excitement. It looked like it would be cloudy all weekend in both locations, but atmospheric conditions can sometimes yield the most spectacular photographs. We made a plan to do this hike the next day as different weather models had this area breaking up near sunset.
We arrived in the middle of the afternoon after it had been raining on and off all day. As we started our hike, the rain picked up, quickly turning to snow as we gained elevation. I began to doubt the sense of continuing climbing but decided that the adventure was worth it. After a cold and muddy 7km hike, we reached our location. We were a couple of hours until sunset, so we decided we might as well wait it out. The place was breathtaking. At this point, we were well in the clouds, and everything looked enchanting with a bit of snow, mist, and fall colours. About 45 minutes before sunset, we saw our first blue sky overhead, and the clouds began to break. I couldn’t believe the scene was unfolding before my eyes. Soft evening light began to light the mountain peaks and the clouds beyond, making all the sweat and effort while hiking, and freezing fingers and toes while waiting worth it.
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