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Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountains

Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountains
Photo by Tarmo Soodla

The first European to set sight on Emerald Lake was famed guide Tom Wilson, who stumbled upon it by accident in 1882. A string of his horses had gotten away, and it was while tracking them that he first entered the valley. The lake had an impression on even the most seasoned of explorers: "For a few moments I sat [on] my horse and enjoyed the rare, peaceful beauty of the scene." It was Wilson who gave the lake its name because of its remarkable colour, caused by fine particles of glacial sediment, also referred to as rock flour, suspended in the water. However, this was not the first time Wilson had dubbed a lake 'Emerald.' Earlier that same year he had discovered another lake which he had given the same moniker, and the name even appeared briefly on the official map. This first lake however, was shortly renamed Lake Louise.