Stone Mountain Provincial Park protects 63,483 acres in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. This was the first Canadian Provincial Park that we’ve visited. A provincial park is the Canadian equivalent of a U.S. state park.
Summit Lake sits at an elevation of 4,250 feet above sea level and is the highest point on the famous Alaska Highway, which you can see along the right edge of the lake. Summit Lake is a popular destination for fishing for rainbow trout, lake trout, and whitefish. In the distance on a hill you can see a microwave tower, one of 42 microwave relay stations that replaced the old Canadian National Telecommunications land line between Grand Prairie, Alberta and the Yukon-Alaska border in 1963.
As we climbed the steep, rocky ledges on Summit Peak Trail, we let the dogs run free, since it becomes too dangerous to manage our balance while holding them on a leash. Once loose, the dogs quickly scramble ahead of us like the mountain goats that they are. Here Shadow is looking down and wondering what’s taking us so long.
Much of the Stone Mountain Park lies above the tree line. The Stone Range is covered in snow throughout much of the year, including on this June day. The impressive 7,419-foot Mount St. George rises high above Summit Lake (just out of the bottom of this picture).
We climbed only about halfway to the 2,400-foot peak. A storm was moving in and it was starting to rain, and besides, our view from this point was already amazing. On the horizon we could see layer after layer of mountains in the Canadian Rockies. That’s the Alaska Highway below.
The next day was one of the few warm and sunny days we’ve enjoyed in Canada. I like to joke that Canada is so beautiful that everyone would want to live here, and to ensure that doesn’t happen, God gave Canada the lousiest weather. But not today! The wildflowers were in full bloom in the sunshine.
We hiked a challenging trail across the open tundra to the Flower Springs Lake. The trail was flooded in two sections that required some puddle jumping and one major detour. But we were rewarded with spectacular mountain views the entire way.
Here Theresa and Shadow are looking back at the mountain (on the left) that we hiked the day before. It’s always neat to be able to see where you’ve been and put it in perspective of the entire park.
For 9-10 months of the year, this alpine tundra is frozen solid. But in the short summer, the top foot of ground thaws to produce a spongy carpet of wildflowers, grasses and mosses. Ground-hugging shrubs will add just a quarter-inch to their growth. The plants and animals make the most of the short growing season.
The dogs love to flip over and roll in the tundra on their backs. The spongy yet spiky surface must feel good to them. While Darby and I posed nicely for this photo with Flower Springs Lake in the background, Shadow was rolling around on the ground beside us.
Flower Springs Lake is fed by numerous mountain cascades that roared in the distance as we sat along the edge of the lake and enjoyed a snack. The dogs cooled off their paws in the icy water and had a refreshing drink. The Canadian lakes and rivers are the cleanest we’ve seen on our trip. In most cases, you can see clearly to the bottom.
When we finally finished the trail it was after 9pm, and the sun was still up in the sky over Summit Lake. We were still trying to get used to the long days with 22 hours of light. We’ve noticed our bodies were pushing us to stay up later. We cooked out and had our dinner on this night around 11 pm.