Saturday, August 31, 2013

No passing by the Pass this time!

A few weeks back, I hiked up to the summit of Mount Bourgeau, which was the main destination for the day.  We passed by Harvey Pass on the way there and it looked so inviting, I knew I wanted to come back again and not pass it by but stay and linger.  The opportunity arose to do just that and I went for it!  The weather conditions this time could not have been more perfect.  We were early on the trail, early at Bourgeau Lake, well before the sun came on it but reflections were offered up.
Today the sky was blue with the most amazing clouds.  Some ground cover had even changed to autumn shades over the past weeks.  I cannot imagine there could be a more perfect image then this.  This vision still grabs my attention. 
Lighting was lovely at Harvey Lake
I had to express my happiness for everything about today so far.  It was sunny and warm, my friends were such fun, Mount Assiniboine was visible to her very top peak (as you can see middle left), I was on a high but felt I wanted to get just a little bit higher so jumping for joy did the trick.  This is my destination shot for today.
A few of my friends opted to get even higher and went for some additional elevation by hiking some of Mount Bourgeau.  Not me, I stuck to the Pass to linger.  The back side of Harvey Pass, gave a different view of the Mount.  My friends are dots there somewhere!
I could see off towards the Sunshine Meadows area.
This spot right here will be wonderfully colorful in a few weeks.
It was spectacled in some areas with larch trees yet polluted in other sections.
Even further down the back side and even another amazing view of magnificant Mount Bourgeau.
dance, just dance
the clouds did all afternoon
While waiting for my friends to return from obtaining their additonal elevation gain, I played and played by Harvey Lake.  There was so much to love about this area, I found another way to express it.  Leaving a piece of my heart behind, (just like I did at Cique Peak/Helen Lake area) I will be back to collect it one day.  I did notice while retreating from here, others came along and began to fill there hearts with a piece of my heart.  
Today was "one of those days"!  They happen every once in awhile and I just can't find proper words to portray why it was "one of those days".  It was so easy to "remember to breathe" here which made it no challenge at all to make me feel like I was "on top of the world".

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Home Away From Home

A co-workers enthusiasm about her visit to Black Cat Guest Ranch sold me on the place.  
This was my home away from home.
I felt like a part of the family.
So inviting!
So welcoming!
Black Cat Guest Ranch with Mount Solomon in the background.
View from the balcony at my door.
a wide open private space 
a relaxing escape

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mount Solomon August 28, 2013 Day 4

I like when the trail head for a hike is right at your front door step just like it was today.   My home away from home for a few days is Black Cat Guest Ranch which is home to the trail head for the hike up Mount Solomon.  After a hardy home made breakfast, we exited the front door and began our hike once through this gate.
The first few kilometers were through a lush forest and prime territory for mushrooms of all sorts.  
mushroom ring
The vegetation itself was a sight to see..... were the bear claw markings in the trees.
As we gained the ridge of Mount Solomon, the views began to open up.  
We could see Brule Lake down below.
If you look closely at the tree covered Black Cat Mountain, you can see the shape of a cat semi-curled and hunching up its back.  I can see it!  Can you?
Zoomed in on Black Cat Guest Ranch for below.
Summit of Mount Solomon
my summit shot
We savoured a packed home made lunch at the summit and enjoyed the views too.  There are lots of hiking options in the mountains beyond which means potential for another visit another time.  We owned the whole trail and the summit today.  It was a peaceful place to be to reflect and rejuvinate.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cavell Meadows August 27, 2013 Day 3

Now it was time to head into Jasper National Park and north of there to hang out for a few days.  First things first though, of course I have to get another hike in and today it would be the Cavell Meadows Loop with my friend that I ran into yesterday at Parker Ridge.  I left my home away from home just before 7:00 am.  It was almost a three hour drive and during that time, I passed through every kind of weather forecast possible.
Yes, to have a rainbow there had to have been rain and boy oh boy was there!  I had been once again feeling unmotivated by seeing the rainbow, I knew there would have to be a pot of gold.  I had faith and carried on.  
We met at the parking lot, shared some pleasantries, geared up and took off.  I already had a change of attitude and was glad I had a friend to share the day with, otherwise I may have cut it short and went on with my day elsewhere.  We passed by the glacial lake formed from the melting ice.  It is not the prettiest snow but still there is something about it that left me in awe. 
Angel Glacier
View from the trail as we approached the first high point.
We reached the first high point on the Loop of Cavell Meadows where we could see the glacier and the lake.  Every now and then we could hear rock fall and ice collapse.  We stopped here for our lunch and while dining.......
.....we were witness to another rainbow.....
I had that sense we were at our pot of gold.
This was a sight worth framing so my friend and I did our best.
We managed to frame the lake perfectly but we were a little off with Angel Glacier.
Just part way through the loop and a plan to complete it all, we packed up and carried on.  
The going got steeper and the views got even more amazing.  
We reached the summit of the Loop and here we were eye level with Angel Glacier and you can see the lake looking tiny near the middle bottom.  It was bitterly cold and wildly windy here so once we got our summit shots we began the descent.
We climbed up over the boulders for a closer up view of the glacial lake.  
a pair of baby marmots
Mother marmot
I appreciated being able to check out this area today.  We are not sure how long the opportunity to explore here will be open.  The glacier is disappearing at what seems to be a rapid pace.  Last year a large portion broke off and created devastation.  Parks people are still working at restoring what they can.  We do take our chance venturing into here.  All that being said, it truly is a spectacular space of territory on this earth.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Parker Ridge August 26, 2013 Day 2

When I arrived at the parking lot for Parker Ridge first this morning, mine was the only vehicle, the rain was falling, I was lacking in motivation to even step outside of my car.   I left and drove down the road to the Icefield Center, checked the forecast then drove up to the Athabasca Glacier parking lot and did a quick tour.  A couple of hours later, I returned to Parker Ridge, there were three other vehicles now and it was very cloudy and misting.  I geared up and went for it!

There was total cloud cover and I could not see a thing but at least I made it to the Ridge.  It stopped misting, and I could begin to see something, a speck of snow on the mountain in the far right corner.  Then what to my wondering eyes did appear.....
....but a bit of blue sky and a mountain peak.....
.....a very tiny bit more appeared.....
.....then the window opened wider.....
.....then even wider.....
.....and even wider yet.....
WOW!  What a twenty minute show! 
I could not put my camera down!
I have never experienced a cloud clearing show like this!
I now knew this was the right day to be here!
I could now clearly see the Saskatchewan Glacier.
This direction of the Ridge was inviting me over.
I RSVP'd and made my way over there.
My reservation was honored.
Under more cloud and strong winds, I hunkered down in the shelter to dine.
 A few more folks were around now.  Maybe they were always there but just lost in the cloulds.   
I retreated off the top in favour of the slope where the color was.....  
.....and to find a protected bush area for privacy.  I got caught with my pants down!  Right in the middle of my privacy, a bear bounced along in front of me. This was the first time ever that I had a close up bear encounter while out hiking alone.  I grabbed my pack and moved away all the while trying to get my pants up at the same time.  I made it back to the Ridge and warned the folks.  I walked with them a bit along the Ridge showing then where the bear was and where it looked like it was headed and......
.....then, there it was!  I said "there it is" I guess loud enough that he stopped and looked at us for what seemed liked a minute before taking off.  The other hikers were so happy to have seen a bear.  After getting a photo they were content with calling it a day for hiking and began their return trip back to the trail head.  This incident, I have to admit was exciting and yet thankfully it was a safe one, reconfirmed too this was the right day to be here. 
As I began my descent, a lady spoke out saying my name and asking if that is who I was.  She was a hiking friend from a few years back and moved away three years ago.  She came back to the area for a week of vacation and to hike.  Now I really believe everything happens for a reason and that it was meant to be that I hike Parker Ridge today and not yesterday.  We made a plan to meet the following day to share a hike together.

I stopped at a picnic site before heading back to my home away from home.  The scenery was breathtaking and I just wanted to make sure to take a little more time to be thankful for this day and to "embrace today".