By David F. Rooney
The annual Pilgrimage to Eva Lake may have brought out 14 acolytes Sunday but they were lost in the crowd of about 200 people who thronged the trail to the high alpine body of water in Mount Revelstoke National Park.
The day was a lovely one and many of the people who joined the yearly event, ably led by Parks Canada’s Alice Weber and Karen McColl, thought they would have the trail and the wildflowers along its verge to themselves. But that was not to be. The trail quickly became busy with tourists from Europe, visitors from other parts of Canada and a few local residents. Many of them laboured along the path carrying large backpacks and were obviously eager to stay overnight.
For Stephanie Duguay the trip, which this year marked the centennial of the tiny lake’s discovery by school teacher Eva Hobbs in 1909, was a re-enactment of a childhood trip she and her family had made when she was just a few years old.
“There,” she said, pointing at the figure of a child standing with a crowd of adults in a photo of a long-ago pilgrimage that is displayed near the beginning of the trail at the summit of Mount Revelstoke. “That’s me.”
It was Jennifer Wolney’s first-ever hike to the small lake and she came away with a a marvelous impression.
“Eva is a very lady-like lake,” she told Parks Canada’s Alice Weber after the pilgrims, on their way back had also visited nearby Miller Lake. “It’s calm and well-mannered. Miller Lake is different. It’s holding its breath waiting for something to happen.”
Most of the other pilgrims were long-time fans of the six-hour-return hike to Eva and welcomed the chance to stretch their legs on this annual trip to a beloved portion of the park. And to see the wildflowers, one of the pilgrims, a young woman from Calgary named Suzanne was enchanted by the variety of the flowers and the intensity of their colours even after all of the heat that has heavily stressed flowers at lower elevations.
“I came just for the flowers — they’re gorgeous,” she said.
And they were.
What was also a lovely sight to behold was the delicious chocolate cake from the Modern Bakery that Weber produced at the end of the hike. It was a perfect way to celebrate.
Here are a few images of the hike.