Peyto Lake Viewpoint
In Alberta, Canada
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From the Bow Summit parking lot, the trail up to the viewpoint is a ten minute walk, gaining about 30m of elevation over a paved trail.
Peyto Lake is named for the colorful Bill Peyto, an early pioneer, prospector, and guide in Banff National Park. Peyto was born in England, but moved to Canada and arrived in the Banff area in the 1890's. In addition to his guide duties, he served as a park warden for 23 years, interrupted only for his military service in the 12th Mounted Regiment and Machine Gun Brigade during World War I.
The American Walter Wilcox, who was guided by Peyto later wrote of him:
"Bill is very quiet in civilization, but becomes more communicative around an evening campfire, when he delights to tell his adventures. His life has been a roving life. The story of his battle with the world, his escapades and sufferings of hunger and exposure not to mention the dreams and ambitions of a keen imagination with their consequent disappointments, has served to entertain many an evening hour. Peyto assumes a wild and picturesque though somewhat tattered attire. A sombrero, with a rakish tilt to one side, a blue shirt set off by a white kerchief (which may have served civilization for napkin), and a buckskin coat with a fringe border, add to his cowboy appearance. A heavy belt containing a row of cartridges, hunting-knife, and six-shooter as well as the restless activity of his wicked blue eyes, give him an air of bravado. He usually wears two pairs of trousers, one over the other, the outer pair about six months older. This was shown by their dilapidated and faded state, hanging, after a week of rough work in burnt timer, in a tattered fringe knee-high. Every once in a while Peyto would give one or two nervous yanks at the fringe and tear off the longer pieces, so that his outer trousers disappeared day by day from below upwards. Part of this was affection, to impress the tender foot, or the 'dude,' as he calls everyone who wears a collar. But in spite of this Peyto is one of the most conscientious and experience men with horses that I have ever known."
Like other lakes in the Banff National Park, Peyto Lake was carved out by a glacier and is dammed behind a glacial moraine. This type of glacial lake is called a tarn lake.
The glacier has advanced and retreated many times over the eons to help carve out this beautiful valley. At the end of the paved trail up to the viewpoint, you can find signs about the glaciers movement. The information on those signs can be used to answer the first three questions below. To log a find on this earthcache, please email me the answers to the questions below (DO NOT post them in your log):
1) Tree fragments of what age have been found in the glacier as it retreats?
2) How far back has the glacier retreated since it was first seen?
3) What causes Peyto Lake to be the color that it is?
4) What elevation does your GPS receiver show at the viewpoint? [Note for phone cachers: While it is not built into the geocaching.com app, both Android and Apple phones have numerous free applications that can measure your altitude based on your location. These are useful tools for anyone venturing into the mountains.]
While not required, you are encouraged to upload a picture of yourself at the viewpoint as proof of your visit.
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This earthcache placed with the permission of Parks Canada
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Last Updated: on 4/23/2017 10:17:42 AM Pacific Daylight Time (5:17 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum