Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunny Sunday on Sarrail

What a difference a day makes when it comes to the weather! The wicked winds of yesterday blew out the bad and brought in the good. This was another early start to a fabulous day!Today's plan was for me to lead my friend to a place he had never been. I was thankful to see one handful of other vehicles in the lot already which meant the path should be cleared. I had my air horn and bear spray anyway, I always do! In just over an hour we arrived at Rawson Lake which looked prettier then ever. It was at the far end of the lake, where the sun was, that we stopped to remove layers and extended our poles for the long slog up to the ridge.

To get to the Ridge took just over an hour and it was less than one kilometer in distance. We admired the view then settled down in a sunny spot to dine which took just over an hour. It was so sunny and warm, another layer came off.

Then it was time to play! We took turns playing on the mountain and playing with my camera. After G-Force had his turn, off I went! By myself! YES! By myself! As you can see! I just finished reading Adventure Designer's book called "A Hiker's Guide to Scrambling Safely" and I wanted to put to use some of what I learned. Without G-Force by my side, or the calm guidance from Adventure Designer and without Dr. No Poles behind me just in case, I slowly and methodically worked my way up. I didn't get as high as G-Force but I was pretty proud of where I got to. So proud of the accomplishment that I just had to jump for joy and I still had the energy to do so!
You can tell I didn't get as high as my friend. He got to where he got in no time. That comes with experience. Click on the photo to get a close up view.
After just over an hour of playing, we explored the other side of the ridge before retreating back to Rawson Lake. It seems everything today took just over an hour. But the trip back down to Rawson didn't, we were down in no time using the heel first, proper pole placement, long extending leg, no toe touching the rocks, sliding a tiny bit technique. I got cocky with this newly learned technique and did take a tumble. I should know better!

Today was a learning experience! I went beyond a boundary mentally! That alone made me feel like I was "on top of the world!"

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Fair View? No! It Was Excellent!

I wondered what we would be in for today considering the name of the mountain we planned to summit was called Fairview! Fair has many varying definitions: neither excellent nor poor; moderately or tolerably good; seemingly good but not really so. In my dictionary today, I would say fair = excellent! For today's summit shot, I went as far to the edge as deemed safe considering the high wind speed and the narrowness of the edge. This was as close as I could get to the glacier in the background. As BBloke stated "you are brave today!" That was exactly how I felt!
It's all about the journey, even though the destination rated up there once we got there. We decided it was wise to dine in a sheltered spot amongst some trees and rocks before heading to the summit. We sensed we would not want to stay up there for long. Ti's larch season so in recognition of the larch colors, I added yellow and orange peppers to my Greek pasta salad. Once at the top, we were quite aware there was a steep drop off. I have to imagine for some reason this is not obvious to some folks, therefore this sign was placed. Along a portion of the larch lined trail we could see Lake Louise ski hill off in the distance. No doubt in a month or so, it will be covered with snow and skiers. What a gorgeous color Lake Louise was today. It takes just the right lighting to turn it turquoise. As I stood on top of Mount Fairview today, I could see across high above the lake to a mountain I had been on top a couple of months back.
Our summit visit was quick! I was decked out in three layers, gloves and hat yet still felt the wind nip and bite. We maneuvered down the steep, rocky trail to the valley below where we snacked, removed a layer, chit-chatted then carried on through the trail lined in orange trees. The weather had turned, not for the better, boy was our timing notch on. The canoes were off the lake where the water was turning rough with a backdrop of wind sweeping across the glacier at the far end.
We paid a visit to the pub in the Chateau for a pint before calling it a day. Mine was a grasshopper. Then it was time to hop on out of there and hit the highway to home. But not before one last shot to go towards helping to remember today!
Today felt like no effort to get to a place that made me feel like I was "on top of the world!" What a great day in the mountains with BBloke and other fun folk!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Reflecting on Summer

Making the most of my Monday with Ms M at Wedge Pond was what my day away from work would entail. It's the last day of summer and I wanted to celebrate it and reflect on it at some place that had water, scenery, peace and quiet and tranquility!

We picked Wedge Pond! It's an hour from my front door! Yes! What you see below is an hour from my front door. We found a picnic table right by the water. It had our name on it! We placed the table cloth then all our belongings on the table. We opened up our lawn chairs, poured the wine into the crystal goblets, sat down and made a toast. We looked ahead and this was facing us! We were speechless! Not only was the scenery speech-taking, it was breath-taking too.
I went for a stroll around the pond, taking pictures of reflections at different angles. You can see our picnic table in the left corner below.
Ms M couldn't resist tossing rocks into the pond.

We found another little pond in the same general area. Ms M takes time to reflect as she gazes at the reflection in the pond.
My camera is attached to a Gorilla tripod sitting on a rock, that's how we got this shot. It took a few tries to get it just right. For the most part, we had the Pond to ourselves. Every once in awhile, a folk or two would come down to the beach-like area to get their last day of summer reflection photos.
The golds were golden today!
A Full, Fun Day of Reflecting and Reflections!

Good bye summer! Hello autumn!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday at Sentinel

This was the perfect day to hike Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass near Moraine Lake in Banff National Park. The weather was iffy leaving Calgary at 7:45 am and this obviously deterred many folks from heading west. We had gorgeous weather and scenery and almost had the trail to ourselves. I saw, maybe 100 other people along the way (mostly on the return trip), not 1000 like the last time I was there a year ago to the day. This premier hike is in prime bear territory. Parks Canada has a Restricted Access law in place and if you are found to be believing you are above the law, feeling defiant and disobedient then you could be handed a hefty fine somewhere in the range of the low thousands of dollars. Numerous times along the trail we regrouped.
Sometimes I feel a little defiant and do what others won't! It doesn't get me into trouble where I may have to pay a fine if caught but it does get me into sketchy situations. From our minimum elevation to our maximum elevation, I get distracted and just have to investigate! This is my play time and it's all about having fun!
I am sensible though! There was no jumping for this summit shot! High on Sentinel Pass I could see Paradise Valley down below, behind me and I would rather be down there because I want to be there and not because of doing something sketchy or dicey. We all had turns getting our summit shots and then settled down for a lengthy period to savour scenery and lunch. Being up here, I can see why it is considered one of the "Premier Hikes" in Banff National Park.
The larch trees are turning but not quite at their most fabulous state yet! I would say next weekend will be golden! Fay Glacier was a sight to see when the sun was shining on it. I could even see blue on the edges. It looked like a soft covering of new snow over top of light blue ice. On our return trip, Moraine Lake teased us through the trees. The higher up, the more beautiful the color. I could not resist getting a photo of even a portion of this gem.
It's a longer drive from Calgary to get to this trail head. The distance of the hike was on the low end of the scale when it comes to hike distances for me. The weather was not the hottest today. But the reward! Talk about a reward! A-1! Tops! Gold! I think I may just have to make this one an annual event. It's been two for two!

To sum it all up! This Sunday at Sentinel was Sensational!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Finally Finding Forgetmenot Free...

...of snow!
I wondered if it was possible to ever find Forgetmenot Ridge free of snow cover! This was my third time up there and I could not have been happier to see what I saw! The pink suspension bridge marks the start of the trail to the ridge. The few coveted parking spots across the road were already taken by the time we got here at 9:30. The Park Warden was already ticketing the many cars that were parked along the roadside beside the No Parking signs. We headed back to the main lot to ditch the vehicle.
I was so happy today not to see snow that I just had to jump for joy! I did wait until I reached my summit though. I reached the summit twice! You can tell from my elevation chart where you see two identical peaks side by side. I did this part on my own. R remained below taking shots of me as I went for the top. The top was beautiful, I needed my summit shot, so returned to R to retrieve my camera then raced back up before the guys up there left. I'm getting this down to a science and we got it right the first time, this time!
You can't have it all! By forfeiting the snow, we had to put up with other elements, unbelievable strong wind. The direction of it was in our favour, though. It blew us into the mountain side, not towards the down slope. The fall colors were amazing, especially the ground cover. Our views were amazing too. Banded Peak looks intriguing, I want to go there! As I mentioned before, R remained at the base while I went for my summit. On our way out, we followed the ridge top, on our way back we took the lower route which followed a talus slope for a portion of it.
For the majority of our trek, the sun shone over us. When it shone onto Forgetmenot Pond, it appeared to be this gorgeous color of turquoise. It was hard to take my eyes of it but I had to because this part of the trail was steep downhill and rocky and sure footing was of the utmost importance.
This time around, I went a little further and a little higher. There may have to be a fourth trip to this beautiful place because I could see there was still further and higher to go and I want to be where I saw.

It was very sparsely populated on the Ridge today! Only an hour from home! From a busseling crowded city to a peaceful mountain gem! These, just a few of the ingredients it takes to make me feel like I am "on top of the world!"

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Two Old Goats

A glacier in the mountains is the perfect place to escape to on a hot day in the city! Old Goat Glacier was on my to-do list! G-Force had it on his to-do list too. The forecast is hot, the city crowded! Time to put our plan in place and head for the entrance to our escape. Old Goat Glacier is not well known so not frequented for that matter. We were not the only ones here today though. Another small group followed us. Also, he was here! Look closely in the photo to see the big old billy goat. From one old goat to another, the glacier is massive off in the distance.
This was a unique place to be! Like nothing on earth! At times I felt like this is what it could feel like to be on the moon or another planet. Once we completed the majority of the elevation, we arrived at a wide open canyon with a long ridge down the middle of it. We hiked the ridge which had glacier run off valleys far below us on either side. The valley on one side had the Old Goat Mountain as its wall, the other valley protected by a mountain wall of varying colors, patterns and heights. We continued on this ridge to the far end which took us into the depths of the glacier.
Now some of you may think these are more photos of two old goats! We would differ with you there and would put a challenge out to you and give you a run for your money, ooops I mean a hike for your money! That's me doing my summit jump and there I am with G-Force. So much for blending in, now you can't miss him, in his new brightly colored technical shirt.

It took some time for each of us to get our perfect summit jump shot. When a flurry of helicopters ducked down into the canyon, we took a break from jumping and kept our arms by our sides.I read that this could be an amazing hike if you don't do anything silly. I knew what that meant once I saw the crevasses in the glacier. They were dark and deep. We heard rock slides often. It was easy to tell how far stretched this glacier was with a large portion of it lightly covered in the fallen rock. Creeks ran through it and those looked dark and deep too.

  • Distance-wise, this hike amounted to being short.
  • Elevation-wise, this hike could be considered to have moderate accumulation.
  • Scenery-wise, this hike rates up there! Very high.
  • Lunch-wise, this hike affords a loooong one! That is if you had a day like we did. The sky was clear blue, the sun was bright, my thermometer registered 27 degrees and not even a breeze was to be felt. We leisurely lingered for two hours!
After our long lunch, we took a few more photos, admired the Glacier as the sun moved around to the west side and then headed for the exit of our escape.

How fortunate for us to get to see what we saw today and experience what we experienced! Being in this spectacular place, made me feel like I was "on top of the world!"

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pedal Pusher

With a forecast of +27 Degrees Celsius and sunshine, I just had to take advantage of it because I know days like these in September are not to be taken for granted. For the past few days I have been mapping out the bike route from my place to the Glenmore Reservoir. I knew it could be done, I just didn't know if I would know how to do it. Good thing I am a female! I had to ask for directions many, many, many times and that's no exaggeration!

One fellow I stopped to ask directions suggested I get one of these and he pointed to a Garmin 60 CSX that he had attached to his bike. I said I had one, he asked where was it, I said at home! Another time I asked a lady for directions and she pulled out her map. I said I have one of those, she asked where was it, I said at home! It wasn't the easiest path to follow with detours and construction everywhere but I did make it to my destination. There was lots to see along the way! I followed a portion of the Bow River then veered onto the pathway that followed the Elbow River. A few years back when I was doing marathon training with the Running Room, we followed this route because it went on forever and we had to run forever.
The Glenmore Reservoir was busy with boaters of all kinds. Heritage Park is located on the banks of the Reservoir and this is where the SS Moyie sternwheeler sails from. I had quite the adventure on the SS Moyie last year, you can check it out here The Young Lady and The Sea. Today was a day for sail boats and fly fishermen to venture out onto the water too.
Notice today's patriotic reflection! I had to criss cross the Elbow River, each time walking my bike across suspended swinging bridges. Gardens are still in full bloom.
My ride covered 63 kilometers and I was gone from home for close to six hours. My time includes a lunch stop, a snack stop, a few asking for directions stops and lots of photo stops. My stops were not long and then I would carry on pedal pushing. It was a great day weather-wise and scenery-wise!
I enjoyed visiting and thank you! I will be back to visit again! Before I do, I will be heading west to the mountains. Tomorrow I am hiking and I will not leave my map and 60 CSX at home!
...and I hope my hike elevation will not look like my bike elevation for today did!