Day 2 – 14.8km, 380 m elevation gain, 762 m elevation loss 6 hrs 00 min.
I was out of the tent by 7:10 am, the sun was blazing over the horizon, coming up between Little Cataract Peak and Cataract Peak, and the lake was mirror smooth, creating an amazing setting for photographs. Cataract Peak is an impressive mountain, rising to a height of 3333 m, just shy of 11,000 ft, which is very high for mountains in the front range of the Canadian Rockies, and is capped by a glacier.
We were packed up and out of the campsite just before 9:00am. While today was just the reverse of yesterday, this day would have less elevation, as we just had to hike to North Molar Pass, and then it would be downhill all the way to the car.
We enjoyed the meadow as we hiked steadily up to the pass. The low angle sunshine reflecting softly on the flowers. I explored the small creek drain the upper reaches of the meadow.
We arrived at the pass at 10:30 am, just 90 minutes after we left the camp. Yesterday it took us 80 minutes to walk the reverse, so we must have been feeling refreshed after a good night’s sleep.
Looking southward from North Molar Pass we could see the magnificent valley that we just hiked up, in the distance we could make out Mt Hector (3394 m) towering above the local cliffs. Looking north, Mosquito Lake was visible in the meadow below us and in the distance the spine of Dolomite Peak. The morning light on Dolomite Peak brought out the individual features much better than the previous day.
Fifteen minutes later, we started to descend the pass. We spotted a hawk circling in the sky above us and spent several minutes watching it soar in the blue sky. I snapped a dozen or so pictures of the hawk, none which offered up much detail, as the hawk was at the limit of the zoom on my lens.
We again stopped at Mosquito Lake for lunch. As we left Mosquito Lake, we explored the small canyon that had been carved out by the creek as it dropped away from the lake.
Reversing the previous day, we headed down the braided trail as the meadow transitioned back to forest.
We arrived at the junction with the trail for Molar Pass at 12:30 pm, about 3 hrs 30 minutes since we left camp (including lunch), covering about 7.9 km. Only 6.9 km to go!
We took another break at Mosquito Creek Campground. From here it was a fairly flat 5.4 km to go—and on good trail. I was expecting a straightforward hike from the campground back to the car, of course, that never happens. Again, our trusty companion Links was started showing signs of fatigue. Links is best described as passive/aggressive. He indicated he need for rest by getting in front of me and sitting down in the middle of the trail. We made frequent stops and gave him shoulder massages, extra treats and lots of encouragement. Even with the slowing down for Links, we arrived back at the car just before 3:00 pm, exactly 6 hours since we left camp (almost an hour quicker than the first day).