A short paved pathway leads from a parking lot to a viewpoint, high on a mountain, of Peyto Lake far below. It was mid-August when my wife and I arrived there, yet the temperature was hovering around freezing.
A wintry mix of rain, sleet, and snow fell lightly as we left our car. Once we followed a trail into the woods we were shocked to see the surrounding forest was coated in snow. It was a beautiful surprise.
We walked through the winter wonderland, cold and wet, toward the scenic vista. The short walk was not fun by any means. It was awfully cold and the precipitation made it worse. In addition, it was all uphill. Thankfully, we reached our destination within ten minutes.
There was a small wooden observation deck elevated above a clearing in the woods. The view from the platform was sensational. The gorgeous and awe-inspiring Peyto Lake was a few hundred feet below us in a dreamlike valley. As impressive as the lake looked in photos, seeing it in person was a million times better. The water was a pale turquoise, more green than blue. The water looked completely still and solid; I could see no waves or disturbance of any kind. It was glassy smooth and fully opaque.
The vantage point amplified the pure beauty of the lake, because it showcased the color and shape of the entire lake. It was a strange shape, almost resembling a star.
Peyto Lake was enclosed by an ocean of conifers. Some very large, very rugged mountains towered over the astonishing lake. Low-hanging clouds floated between the mountains, shrouding their snow-capped summits.