Autumn in the Rocky Mountains can be precarious; with the weather experiencing sudden and often drastic changes. But for those unfazed by shifting weather and unafraid of unpredictable forecasts, autumn also comes with its advantages. Namely, the marvel of a fleeting, but an extraordinary event.
In mid to late September, for about two weeks only, the alpine larch trees commence their spectacular metamorphosis. The needles of this deciduous conifer transform from deep emerald green to vibrant chartreuse, then lastly a rich yellow-gold, before falling away for the winter. Although brief, this dramatic show is truly stunning and attracts nature enthusiasts from all over the world.
Below are some photos of the Larch taken Sept 19, on the hike to the Tea House on Lake Agnes, at Lake Louise.
As we reached the summit of the hike, a few light snowflakes started to fall, to the delight of the international tourists. One Dutch tourist showed concern and enquired about the forecast since she was camping in a tent. Being the bearers of bad news, we confirmed that snow overnight was indeed likely. Knowing that she was probably ill-equipped for winter camping, we suggested she make friends with an RV owner or stock up on a few boxes of hand warmers to snuggle up with.
Even as locals we couldn’t have predicted the insane amount of snow that would blanket the park that night! After all, it was still officially summer for another day… but that’s not how weather works in Canada. 32cm of snow later, we wondered how that unfortunate tourist made out.
We also came to realize how Larch Madness coined its name. You would have to be a little bit mad to risk getting caught out in a late summer snowstorm, just to witness some trees changing color. But that is what the Up North Lifestyle is all about. It is about adventure, taking a risk, and the magic that happens when you make the trek, take what comes your way, and make the most of it, no matter what.