On Beautiful Muncho Lake

Muncho041Muncho044We spent the next few days on beautiful Muncho Lake, combining relaxing and enjoying the view with some driving tours, some hiking, some kayaking, and, of course, photography.Muncho043

At 7 ½ miles long, Muncho Lake is one of the largest natural lakes in the Canadian Rockies. The Terminal Range west of the lake is the northernmost section of the Rocky Mountains. These and the mountains east of the lake, the Sentinel Range, climb to 7,000 feet. The views of the lake framed by these mountains are spectacular.Muncho045Muncho016

Since it was raining and we did not see any wildlife during our drive to the lake, we doubled back in the car once it cleared for another opportunity to spot some wildlife. We drove back as far as some spots that are known for wildlife and had much better luck.Muncho002Muncho009

Muncho005First, we spotted a very handsome moose. Since only the males have antlers, we realized he was a bull, possibly a young one. He was eating just in front of a line of trees and he walked down to a creek and drank some water. We got a nice long look at him and the light was great for photographing him. Moose have such interesting and goofy faces.Muncho007

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Muncho014Muncho028We also saw a few stone sheep. This is the first time we ever saw stone sheep, close relatives of bighorn sheep but with thinner horns.

Unlike moose, sheep have horns, not antlers, the difference being that they do not shed them. And both male and female have horns. But like bighorn sheep, the rams’ horns are larger and curve to eventually reach a complete spiral. No rams in this group though.Muncho020

Finally, we saw several caribou. They are beautiful animals and seem quite docile. Females and males both have antlers, and while the males shed theirs around December, the females shed theirs around April. This means that the cows become dominant for those few months and can lay claim to the best feeding sites. Muncho024

Muncho021Hector and I watched the caribou for quite a long time. There is something very special and enchanting about these creatures. And their little fuzzy antlers are so incredibly cute!Muncho029

That same day, we stopped back at the Toad River Lodge for some ice cream and a little more internet – for CA$1! We also used their ATM and filled up our gas tank – a convenient little place. But 42 miles from Muncho Lake was too far to drive out there again so we have been in the “NoFi zone” for days.

We enjoyed a lovely picnic lunch at the Summit Lake Campground in Stone Mountain Provincial Park. The location is on a small, picturesque lake just past the highest point of the Alaska Highway. It was pretty cold and windy which apparently is fairly common in that area, but it is quite a lovely spot.Muncho017

Muncho125When we arrived in the area, several campgrounds and businesses were still closed so choices were somewhat limited. It seems that the start of June is when things open up more generally.  We saw more than one business that opened on June 1.Muncho048

But we were quite happy with our choice of the MacDonald Provincial Campground. Although they have no WiFii or hookups, we generally have a preference for provincial parks, they are less expensive and usually more scenic.Muncho116Muncho036

The MacDonald Provincial Campground was in a perfect spot right on the lake and we had our particular grouping of sites pretty much to ourselves.

it was a fabulous choice for my birthday.Muncho047Muncho123Muncho124

Tip of the day: We heard from one of the Muncho Lake campground proprietors that it costs a great deal to connect to the fiber optic cable that runs along the Alaska Highway so some RV Parks and lodges still use satellite links. And there is zero cell service here and for many miles in any direction.

Many campgrounds limit Internet usage. Another proprietor told us they limit WiFi access to 50MB per day. So if internet access is a priority, it is best to ask specific questions about WiFi access and speed prior to registering in a campground in this area.Muncho030

During our stay on the lake, the weather was variable. Mostly cloudy and sometimes windy with some occasional sunshine. As well as some periods of rain.

But all in all it was pretty nice. Not too cold, not too rainy, not too hot.

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Muncho052Muncho061And we definitely took advantage of the better weather moments. On my birthday, we went on a short hike with Angel on an alluvial fan. She continues to do really well and is very spunky.

Although she was pretty pooped after that rocky hike, once she took a short nap back at home, she was spry and ready for another walk.Muncho060Muncho057Muncho049

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Muncho064Muncho063Later that day, we set off on our first kayak outing. It was still pretty cloudy, but we were determined. We stayed close to the shoreline on our side of the lake just in case the weather deteriorated. During this and our other kayak outings, we had the lake practically to ourselves.Muncho065Muncho113

Muncho066Muncho067There were a couple of other small flat-bottomed fishing boats in the general vicinity, but mostly we were alone.

The sparkling blue-green lake is a fabulous place for kayaking, and I had a wonderful birthday paddle.Muncho038

Muncho069Even in not so nice weather, we really enjoyed the view from our campsite. Our view from the front window was of pine trees, the lake, the forest across the lake and some mountains. We watched the rain, the clouds and the sun all taking turns over this spectacular scene.Muncho068

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Swarms of fortunately harmless bugs!

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The one negative is that there are a lot of deer flies around and they are attracted to the exhaust from burning propane in the motor home, so they swarm around it. Quite frankly they were swarming around all over the campground. On the plus side, they do not bite. The attendant told us that there are 11 types of mosquitoes here, and only one of the 11 had hatched. And there were no bugs on the water.

On one particularly rainy day, we took nice long naps and were wondering whether we would get to take the kayaks out. But since we could launch our kayaks right next to Island Girl, we seized the moment and headed out the moment the rain cleared.Muncho093

Muncho100It was actually pretty late in the evening, but with the longer days it was still daylight. The weather could have gone either way but as we paddled out the sky slowly cleared and it became a glorious calm evening with a mix of blue sky and puffy clouds.
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Muncho062This time we crossed the lake over to a peninsula and found some merganser and a loon in a cove just behind it. The merganser males were doing a sort of dance, which Hector called the “nookie dance”.Muncho110

There was an eagle perched on a pine nearby. After a while the eagle flew over to a large nest and just sat there. We wondered whether the eggs had hatched, but were not able to see any eaglets.Muncho133Muncho109Muncho103

Muncho134Muncho126Muncho112Muncho105So we kayaked over to a tiny little island named Honeymoon Island. The island has few pine trees on it and is very picturesque.

We could hear lots of birds singing, but only saw a few little ones flying away. And we were only able to identify a few swallows and a sandpiper.

Muncho117Although it was a bit doubtful a the start it was a beautiful and entertaining paddle.

Muncho092Muncho085On another short hike, this time in the forest by a viewpoint of a salt lick known to attract stone sheep, we had no luck with sighting stone sheep. But Angel did find lots and lots of beautiful wildflowers.Muncho088

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Muncho071On one of our morning outings we saw one more large black bear. He was motoring with a purpose. This bear came so close to Hector that he had to jump back in the car.

Muncho075Muncho108Muncho131Then, on our last morning at Muncho Lake, we went on our third kayak outing. This time we set out directly for the eagles nest.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Eagle were there, one on the nest and the other nearby tree, but no eaglets.  Seems they had not hatched yet.

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Muncho098Muncho128The wind kicked up and we had to head back so we could drive to our next destination. So we bid farewell to the eagles and wished them beautiful and healthy babies.

Muncho Lake is truly a spectacular place and very much worth spending several days there.

We are so happy that we decided to stay put for a bit, but we have a lot of miles to go yet.

~ BrendaMuncho039

 

18 thoughts on “On Beautiful Muncho Lake

  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BRENDA! What a wonderful way to spend your special day. Gorgeous location and I’m so jealous of your kayaking opportunities. Be safe and happy – Angel looks great!

    Nancy and Bill

  2. Best ever birthday wishes, Brenda! What a lovely day and year you did/will have! Lovely photos, as usual. Caribou faces look similar to moose’s — are they related, I will have to check. Angel looks great — you both look great! Lovely spot — thanks for sharing! Godspeed. xo

    • Thank you, thank you! Well, they are both part of the deer family, so you are right. Caribou are basically reindeer! Angel is an amazing girl.
      Hugs for you all!

  3. I can not imagine a more picturesque or beautiful location to enjoy your love for each other, the companionship of a healthy Angel, a wonderful trip of a lifetime AND your birthday! You guys really know how to do life! Pictures are terrific and I hope you are planning a book! Love the descriptions of the animals and locations.
    Thanks for sharing.

  4. What a spectacular birthday location, Brenda:) Looks like a perfect day! How nice that Hector had a chance to photograph Muncho Lake when it looked like glass. The photos are so gorgoeus.

    You sure had a great wildlife ride. I bet you are so glad you made a trip back with better weather. Love the moose:) I’ve never seen the stone sheep before. Those red eyes are so intense. What darling little antler on the caribou! How nice that they hung around for a photo sesssion:)

    Nice that you had such a handy site for kayaking. Beautiful place to enjoy the surroundings. The bald eagles were an excellent bonus.

    Good to see Angel out hiking. That rocky area would tire anyone.

    What a great ending to the post! Mr. Bear is spectacular!! Those claws are scary.

    • Yes, there was only one of those glass lake times, but we are grateful for it. It was the best birthday ever!

      Angel is a little warrior. To think we are going to see much larger bears (with larger claws!)!

  5. Muncho Lake does look like a great place to spend a few days. So glad you had decent weather to get out on the water. I have never seen a stone sheep so happy to see you spotted one. Moose are always so fun to see and were so elusive when we were in Yellowstone. Looking forward to your next adventure.

  6. I can only echo what others have said. The photos are truly spectacular. You are so fortunate to have a professional photographer on board.

    And a belated happy birthday. Did you get our gift? We sent you a black bear. 🙂

    This was a wonderful and pleasantly lengthy post. Loved your descriptions. You guys are so fortunate. What a wonderful adventure. And kayaking to die for. We have only recently acquired our first “kayak”, a inflatable Sea Eagle 370. We can hardly wait to try it out on Newport Beach’s back bay and harbor.

    Enjoy your travels and stay safe.

    • Thank you, I did get your black bear, and he was beautiful!

      Our first kayak was an inflatable three years ago too, it’s a great way to get started without carrying such a heavy load. Enjoy!

  7. What awesome photos of such a beautiful place. I appreciate the landscape, wildlife, close ups…You really give us a sense of what it is like being there. Thanks and Happy Birthday!

  8. Stunning pictures!
    We love Muncho Lake and the wildlife there is abundant. Thank you for taking us where we did not go during our stay here and all those great photos! Ahh, memories.

  9. Your lake photos are stunning. Especially love the one with the reflection and the kayaks on the shore. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    • You are welcome, it is a stunning lake, but has many moods, we only had moments when it was completely still. But always gorgeous.

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