This trip to Skoki Lodge started off on a whim. I had 2 days off and I wanted to get out of the city. So I called the Parks Canada Visitor Centre at Lake Louise (403) 522-1264 and asked for some advise.
After a bit of discussion it was suggested to me that I try heading out to Merlin Meadows Campground (Sk18) in the Lake Louise area. Merlin Meadows Campground is only an 18km hike from the parking lot so I figured this would be a good day hike in, and I would stay the night and hike out late the next morning.
The trail starts off with a 3.9km gravel road walk, before entering into the woods. I wasn’t paying enough attention and walked right past the junction. Because I missed the junction and followed the road to the top of a mountain, I ended up adding 367m / 1254 ft elevation to the trip. That’s 367m / 1254 ft up, and again back down. I did get some decent photos though.
Well, I never did make it to Merlin Meadows Campground, but I did get to Skoki Ski Lodge, which is only 1.2km short of my intended destination. Let me explain. Along the way, I ran into a fellow hiker who was on his way to Baker Lake. After introducing ourselves and telling him my plans, he decided he wanted to join me. After traversing Deception Pass and a short wrong turn, we made it down to Skoki Lodge, where we decided to set up camp. It was a great spot and the trail to a nearby lake, that we wanted to check out, started from there, so we figured why not.
After setting up the campsite, we had some dinner, grabbed some water and headed off to explore Lake Merlin, which is bordered by both Merlin Castle and the Wall of Jericho. Of note, along the path to Merlin Lake, there is a literal fork in the path. I quite enjoyed this. The path to the lake is a short one, but unfortunately was cut even shorter for us as the path was snowed in. We thought we might be able to climb the rockfall over top of the snowed in path, but my knee was hurting pretty bad by this point and I didn’t want to risk falling. My companion did however and was able to see both the lake and the lodge from his vantage point. After taking some photos, we started back towards the lodge.
Looking for something to do, we decided to gather some wood to start a fire. At some point I must have tweaked my knee because by this time it was really starting to hurt. I thought that going to bed and being off of it for a few hours would do it some good, but due to the pain, I wasn’t able to get much rest. Maybe an hour or so that night was all I was able to get. Even bending my knee brought sharp shooting pain. This went on for hours.
The next morning I took a couple of 600mg ibuprofen’s that I always bring along for situations just like this.It took nearly 2 hours for the pain to dissipate, but by the time we got our packs together and had some breakfast I was feeling much better. Until we got to the top of Deception Pass. The downhill walking brought back every bit of the pain but I had warmed up and was on my way out so I dealt with it. The hike back to the trail head was much faster than the hike in, partly due to the fact that I didn’t go off trail and climb a mountain unnecessarily this time.
As my companion was from out of town and needed a ride, I offered to drive him wherever he wanted to go. We stopped off at Lake Louise for a short while before heading off to the Lake Louise Visitor Centre where we parted ways.
I’m really glad I ran into this person as it made the trip much better. It’s always nice to meet new people and trade stories with them. I hope I run into him again one day. If ever you’re in town, give me a shout.