Monday, June 29, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
While experiencing the journey, there are amazing sights to be seen along the way. I always try to remember to look back and not always have my face facing my feet. I would never want to miss seeing a pretty, green, little lake tucked beneath the base of a mountain. The Wild Alberta Rose (Alberta's Provincial Flower) was so plentiful that at times it felt like they were the honor guard along the trail. The historic Prince of Wales Hotel sat majestically on the hill top guarding over Waterton Lake and all those heading to hike Crypt Lake. Yes, 13 is a lucky number as we had no sightings or run-ins with bears, we did see lots of Bear's Breath though!
Friday, June 26, 2009
Speaking of Stampede! How cool is this! It's my Calgary Marathon Medal! It's a western belt buckle that I put on a belt. With that, my blue jeans, cowboy hat and boots...I'm ready for Stampede!Thumbs up to Garmin! I have thoroughly enjoyed both my Forerunner 305 and my 60 CSX. I am definitely getting my money's worth out of both units. They provide a wealth of information and much enjoyment on the running paths and hiking trails. I spent some time this afternoon on-line with a Garmin Support Representative going through some functions and capabilities of the 60 CSX. In the process, I accidentally erased my $85.00 Preloaded Topo Canada West Card that I just bought in May. UHG! Thank you to Garmin! They are sending me a new one for free and once it arrives my 60 CSX Topo will be up and running again.
Speaking of running! Well, it hasn't been happening! Why you ask? Cause I just don't feel like it!
Tomorrow I get to do something I have been wanting to do for a few years! Hike Crypt Lake! Here we go, thumbs up again, this time to Adventure Designer for lining up all the ducks to make this one happen! It's a long drive to Waterton in Southern Alberta so I have to be out my front door by 4:30 am to meet the others. We will even cross the border into the United States for a very short portion at the far south side of the hike.
So, it's easy to see why I'm A Lucky Lady!
Sunday, June 21, 2009
This is what is shrouded by the clouds on the peak of Mt. Burke! Cameron Lookout! It's a fire lookout that is no longer in use, having been replaced by the lookout on Raspberry Ridge. This was a challenging hike in parts especially as we got closer to our destination. We experienced a short section of exposure and thankfully it was not windy at this point. I still tucked low for that portion.
I had a mental block all day whenever I wanted to refer to the Lookout. I could only think of Lighthouse and that's what I couldn't help but call it. Then again, what can you expect from a Bluenoser who is surrounded by what looks like fog! You can get an idea from this too, the type of slope we were heading up. On the climb up to the Lighthouse, geesh, I mean Lookout our views looked like this. Lots of cloud, it was dark and gave an erie appearance. Once we were above the treeline, the trail was made up of talus the rest of the way. The wind was picking up and sprinkles were falling. All the layers came out of the backpack and onto our backs including hats and gloves. It took close to two and a half hours to climb 7 km up 886 meters of elevation. I feel I want to call this one a climb but it still was just a hike. I felt victorious for once again reaching a place where I felt like I was on top of the world both physically and mentally. We stopped to dine inside the Lookout which was a unique experience itself. With windows open to the elements on all four sides, the only way to feel protection was to hunker down against the walls. Even then, dressed in all layers, we could still feel the chill chilly our bones. As I sat there eating looking across at my hiking mates, I was seeing them through rolling clouds and fog! How crazy was that!
How crazy is this? My buddie looks like he is standing on the rocks at Peggy's Cove. It was a quick trip down on dampened talus which made for slippery footing at times. It really started to pour as we reached the treeline so had a bit of shelter there. Instead of doing the switchbacks down, we did more of a beeline straight down. Nearing the end, the sky cleared to show sunshine and blue sky and a chance for us to dry off, somewhat. The down trip took only an hour and thirty minutes.
I survived two straight days of hiking, neither being easy! This is a confidence booster! It was also a large day leaving me feeling the way I love to feel which is "feeling like I am on top of the world!"
Saturday, June 20, 2009
This is my summit shot which was taken on the highest hillock! We had a gorgeous day of sunshine and 360 degree views of forever.
We regrouped, put our heads together and decided the best thing was to go back the way we came. This became an issue because nothing looked familar. There was no obvious path, we were in a large section of trees without a view to the mountains to give us a sense of direction. This is where I used my GPS for something other than knowing our elevation and distance travelled. We used it to retrace our track! Wow! It worked!
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Today's short, slow run amounted to 6 kms in 41:00. I felt stiff but that may have been due to hiking 19 kms yesterday. I still had the timing chip on my runner and left it there until I got back home. Even though I have races in mind for down the road, I don't have a plan in place to train for them yet. My head is at a place that says just run whenever for now.
I was hoping this would be gone by today! I remember it showing up last summer after some hikes. It started to appear yesterday around the 10km mark and gradually got worse while working its way up my legs. I did a self diagonsis and I believe it is Leg Heat Rash. So no bare legs and sandles for me for a couple of days.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Of all creation we saw today, this bird's eye view, I mean a Beehive's eye view of Lake Louise was what took my breath away! In 5 seconds short of 9 hours and .5 kilometers short of 20km, we covered 5 trails each with it's own unique and stunning scenery.
Finally we were greeted with a day where I could start out in one single layer of shorts and a short sleeve shirt. That was a sign we were in for a large day.
Lake Agnes Trail was the first trail that quickly and steeply led us away from our starting point of Lake Louise. Lake Agnes was not yet totally thawed which presented an unusual appearance. The Western Anemone were in full bloom and really brightened up some darker areas along the trail. The Lake Agnes Teahouse which was named after the second wife of the first Prime Minister of Canada Sir John A. MacDonald, was a busy yet still beautiful place to stop for lunch. A medical emergency was taking place with a member of another group while we were there. They needed to clear the area for the helicopter to land so we carried on with our hike. A little while later after following the trail along the lake as you can see in the bottom right photo, we hiked around to the other side and upon our ascent, the helicopter passed by on route to assist at the emergency. Our ascent on the other side of Lake Agnes was steep and snow covered in spots. We could see the reminisce of very old avalanche run outs. We took it slow, gradually working our way up the hair pin turns. We felt safe and prepared with hiking boots on for grip and poles for support and were able to by pass others who were obviously not aware of the risks with this type of terrain.
This portion of the hike was along a trail that involved beehives but thankfully not the kind that bees live in. We saw the Big Beehive with Mirror Lake at its' base and eventually we reached the summit of it where we could see Lake Louise being true blue.
The Plain of Six Glaciers Trail turned out having views so totally different then the three previous trails. I did this route many years ago and only a minor percentage of it was vaguely familiar. We walked along a narrow ledge which fell away to one side. For the faint of heart, steel cables were bolted to the mountain side to hold on to. I'm hard core, I sailed along this stretch! We passed by The Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse along the way, then once we reached the far end had a magnificant view of Lake Louise and the Chateau off in the distance. Yet, right in front of us was the Death Trap and Victoria Glacier. Between the two peaks in the top right photo, we could see the roof of the Abbot Pass Hut.
With many hours and kilometers behind us, it was time for the trek along the final and fifth trail, The Lakeshore Trail, which would take us back to our starting point. The climbing was over, this portion was flat and oh so scenic as you can see below.
These last few kilometers of slowly strolling were passed by with lots of chit chat, lots of laughs, lots of tourists wanting to chit chat and even video us talking about our day's trek. Many cliff climbers were doing what they do so gingerly and nimbly.
How fortunate I was to see all I saw today! Nearing the end, it was hard to truly appreciate all that was surrounding us but I still tried to savour every moment. I never like days like this to end but when the day closes is just means that sooner than I know it, another one will be opening!
Friday, June 12, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
We had a distance in mind of what today's hike should amount to but that was if we were to take the longer route which involved switchbacks and would make for a more gentler trek. With a rather nice and clear path, clouds looming overhead and strong hikers, we opted for the more direct route. What's that saying "the shortest distance between two points is a straight line"! Well, we went for the straight line up the mountain to the top. If you click on the photo below and look at the bottom left, you will see what is at the top.
When the sun was out, it got very warm. The hard work climbing didn't help much either to stay cool. It came down to one layer on and three layers in my pack. That only lasted for the climb, the top was windy and cold. The Outlook was in operation and we had a lengthy chat with the lady who was manning (or should I say womaning) it for six months.
I made sure I got my summit shot before settling down on the helicopter pad to dine. The snow started to fall while we were here and the temperature dropped. Lunch was quicker than I had hoped for. I spent more time taking pictures then I did eating. Although I felt hungry I didn't have time for that to be a priority to satisfy. I enjoyed the other kind of feast, the feast for the eyes!
We saw icicles hanging on trees! I like the inukshuks! They came in all shapes and sizes. The wild flowers are trying to survive. I'm sure they are wondering what's with the weather. They looked so pretty peaking through the snow.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
The verdict is... I will run another marathon! It won't be this year though. I am already thinking next year's Calgary Marathon again could be the one. It was such a great all around experience for an inaugural event and straightening out just a few small wrinkles which the organizers may find they need to do and me too to figure out personally, the whole experience can only get better. Oh the possibilities!
A short while back, my friend "Sunny D Light" commented on my lack of races this year compared to last. I realized that at the time, but my reason for not getting ahead of myself was to see how the marathon panned out. It's done, it's over with, it's time to move on. Being a cold, snowy, Saturday, June morning what better time to get some ducks in a row. For the balance of this year, I will stick with "21 and under". So far I have added three potentials to my list. Plus, there are thoughts of a Thanksgiving half in Kelowna or Victoria.
The only dues I have ever paid when it comes to running are my entry fees. I am so over due with giving back to the running community in other ways. This year I pledge to give of my time!
Running always makes me feel like I am "on top of the world"!