Alberta, Canada

Moraine Lake
Trip Day Sixteen: June 27, 2000
A Grand and Gloomy Lake

Moraine Lake is visited by thousands each summer, but Samuel Allen was the first in 1894 and word spread quickly.

Adventurer Samuel Allen was suitably impressed. He named the peaks lining the south side of the valley after the Stoney Indian numerals one to ten. Of the lake ".. I saw at the base of No. 1 Mr. Heejee a grand and gloomy lake., reflecting in its dark surface the walls and hanging glaciers of Mount Heejee." He named the lake Heejee.

However, his friend, Walter Wilcox, later renamed it Moraine.

Today only two peaks still retain their original names Neptuak (9) and Wedkchemna (10), But this spot is still called the Valley of the Ten Peaks.

Allen and Wilcox spent two summers together, tramping the mountains around Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Their writing, photography and maps received wide circulation Shortly after visitors began arriving by the thousands.

The Twenty Dollar View

In 1969 the Bank of Canada began depicting Moraine Lake on the back of the Canadian twenty-dollar bill. This was the same view as seen from the top to the top of a rock pile on the north side of the lake, within easy walking distance.

Above: Great pressures from the west shattered the ancient sea bed. The result was the Rocky Mountains. The Rockies have a long and turbulent history. They emerged not in a single abrupt event, but grew fitfully over a hundred million years. As colosal forces deep within the earth strained against each other, pressure from the west forced the earth's crust to buckle and heave upward and eastward into a complex jumble.

Tourists manouver their canoe to the dock.

Page last updated August 3, 2000.