Saturday, September 3, 2011

Parker Ridge & Higher

It has been over a year since I headed up along the Icefield Parkway.   There are two shorter hikes along there that I have wanted to do, both of which are rated as "Premier" in the Copelands book "Don't Waste Your Time In The Canadian Rockies."  You will see that I have that book listed in "My Summit Source Library" on the left side here.  While both are rated as "Premier", they are shorter and driving time would be longer then hiking time.  Problem solved!  Camp!  

I drove the three hours early this morning, found a camp site that was perfect for me, set up my site then took off along the Parkway to the Parker Ridge trail head and was geared up and ready to go by 10:45.   It was an easy up and the view was incredible pretty quick.  That's Saskatchewan Glacier right in the center.  Parker Ridge itself was pretty colorful with red and gold and orange colors.    
Saskatchewan Glacier
I covered one side of the ridge and it wasn't enough so explored the other side.  I was warned to dress warm and put a brick or two in my pack.  This shelter was the perfect spot to dine.  I watched two fellows carry on down the backside of this ridge and I wanted to go where they were going!
So I followed down the backside! 
Up a steep rocky snowy slope!
 Seeing the Parkway on the bottom right!
I caught up with them and called this my summit for the day!  After the guy took my summit shot, they carried on.  I know my limits and this was it.  I took out my map to see where I was, to see where they were going and to see what mountains were around me.  I made it to the ridge crest of Mount Athabasca.  That sounds impressive to me so I will take it and own it!
It was a slow descent over rock and snow then on to wide open spongy meadows before being back on Parker Ridge then a flew the rest of the way to the trail head.  I was tired after the long drive, setting up camp then driving another hour to the trail head.  I just wanted my beer, my dinner, my fire, my hubba hubba!  After I got all that, I turned out the lantern feeling tickled pink for how the day turned out!

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