Friday, July 31, 2015

Paget Peak, July 31 2015

Just a hop skip and a jump down the road from our campsite is the trail head for Paget Lookout and Paget Peak.  We were game for the full deal today so the Peak was our destination.  It seemed to take forever to get to the Lookout so when we did we took a lengthy break.  It was already very hot which made the ascent seem a little more difficult.
view from Paget Lookout
From the Lookout to the true Peak took route finding skills.  There were cairns polluting the place going every which way so we just made our way figuring out which conditions best suited us.  We ended up at the false summit and I very quickly realized we did not want to end here, so scooted back down a bit then found our way up to the official summit.  This is the view from here.  This looks west to Mount Niles and Niles Meadow.
more glaciers above Niles Meadow
We opted to take care of business first before searching for a suitable dining spot.  The true summit cairn has the canister holding the summit log.  This is our group summit shot.  Yes that's a thumbs up to this accomplishment just like the rest accomplishments we made!  I liked how the clouds were formulating behind us.
so happy to be here and loving this location
it's peaceful and beautiful
signing the log book
Want to know what I wrote?
Summit Paget Peak and you will see!
this is our dining view
We could see the Naro Lakes, Ross Lake, Sink Lake and Wapta Lake.
After giving the summit loads of devoted time, we made our way back down the rocky, bouldery, slippery, scree covered slope.  I made sure to take time to admire what was around me even on the way down because it is colorful and pretty.
especially Sherbrooke Lake
What a hot day!  It reached the high 20's and we chatted about how lucky we were to be having clear dry days which are most suitable for the types of slopes we have been ascending and descending.  Even in the heat, we still enjoyed fire time along with our treats and beverages.  Nikita chops wood with fine form.
After dinner and before hitting the sleeping bags, we strolled throughout the campground.  I like seeing how others set up their home away from home.  We discussed plans for our last hike and already knew weather wise our stars would be aligned for it.  Our luck carried on.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mount Fairview, July 30 2015

Yesterday was transition day from Banff National Park over to Yoho National Park.  We broke down camp at Waterfowl then headed for the Kicking Horse Campground in Yoho.  How lucky were we to score another great site.  I enjoyed views like this.  We set up camp for four nights.  We chatted about how lucky we were that the weather cooperated when we dismantled at Waterfowl and set up here.  In between it was miserable but we had business to take care off replenishing our treat and beverage supply.  
We picked Mount Fairview as our objective for today.  We arrived at the Lake Louise parking lot early and to a busy place already but we were thankful only a handful of folks were heading in the same direction as us.

We made good time up through the forest to the Saddleback.  
We admired the back side of Temple.  
Boy she's a beauty!  
Now it was time to work!  The route was obvious and worn. We took our time admiring the views the whole way up.  There was so much to see.  Here in the center in bright green is the Lake Louise ski hill.  
the glacier parade begins as we wind our way up
along the trail
what work looks like
our office view for the day
When we reached the summit, we were so pleased to see that we would be owning a very large section of it.  Before finding a front row seat with a view to dine, we captured summit shots.  This is mine!
Thank you to Nikita for this photo.  That is the highway far below.  The sign beside me warns there is a drop off beside me and not to move any closer to the edge.  You could see forever up here.  The rewards exceeded the work to arrive at the summit.  
this was the view to my right as we dined
that is Mt Saint Piran in the middle
this is the view directly in front of us
Lunch was not that long as it was cold and windy at the top.  After refueling we admired the scenery one more time then began our descent.  It wasn't long before we were back down to short sleeve shirts and back down to the Saddleback.  This was our view while we took a short break here. 
On the drive back to our campsite at Kicking Horse, we chatted about how lucky we were to have had the gorgeous weather for the hike and that we beat the crowd to the top.  Our stars continued to align for us and we were thankful for that.  We donned our compression socks for relief from our day and in preparation for another big climb tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Cirque Peak, July 28 2015

The plan to attack today was to reach the summit of Cirque Peak.  I woke excited for the day.  First things first though and that was to get my coffee brewing and take a cup of it down by the Lake to see the activity.  I owned this peaceful beautiful spot.  What a way to start my birthday!
Our drive to the trail head was short, we arrived early to see only a couple of other vehicles in the lot.  They looked like they could have been there overnight.  (As it turned out, they probably were, two fellows were tenting just above Helen Lake and were breaking down camp as we arrived).  The trail through the trees was uneventful and not the prettiest so it is just a matter of getting that over with and getting around that corner to where the views begin.
We remained vigilant to our surroundings as this is prime bear territory and the trail usually closes each year for a period of time when the bears decide they have had enough of the folks invading their territory.  We stayed loud and obvious.  The wildflowers were prime as we made our way through the meadow.  We could see our objective straight ahead, which is that light beige peak.

I love this area!  I know my most favourite places are those with wide open gigantic meadows all surrounded by peaks, ridges, mountains and passes.  This place has all that.  Cirque Peak looks so close at the end of the trail but there is lots to accomplish before getting anywhere near to the top. 
We arrived at Helen Lake and took a little time to refuel.  The clouds were rolling in and there was the odd sprinkle yet it did not look threatening.  We still needed to watch the weather for safety reasons.  A few folks passed us further back and they were already working their way up the right side instead of the light scrambling route at the front.
We followed the cairns that lead us to the route up the front side.  That trail consisted of light, easy scrambling with a few sections where hand placement was needed.  We took it easy and enjoyed the scenery the whole way up.  Here we could see how the melting snow created a waterfall which created this beautiful lake hidden high up.
As we climbed higher, we could see how that little hidden lake flowed down into Bow Lake.  The colors were spectacular.  The wind was wicked and it was pelting sleet slightly.  Yet it still remained nonthreatening so we carried on to the top.  When we arrived at the summit, the wind died completely and remained that way for our entire visit.  We chatted about how lucky we were that happened.
My birthday summit shot on Cirque Peak with Bow Lake kilometers below me.
This is my lunch time view.  You can see Helen Lake below on the right.
This is the view behind me as I sit perched on the Peak.
our group shot
After thoroughly admiring the views and dining, we began the descent.  We worked our way along the edge off the summit to the section where it would be straight down through the scree.  It was easy going through the scree with short steps and gently easy short slides.  We veered off the edge through a break in the snow instead of returning to descend through the scramble section.  This part was fun and quick.  At the bottom, we took a break to snack and check out where we just were which was at the high point on the left.
mother and child near Helen Lake
Once back at Helen Lake it was only a smooth long sail back to the trail head.  This was our view before heading back into the trees.  Nearing the end, we chatted about how lucky we were to have had no wind for our summit visit and that the trail was not busy.  We chatted about how fortunate we were to be able to complete this hike today without any bear issues seeing how it is prime bear territory.  Yes, our stars were still aligning for us.

As we were nearing the end, I could see through the trees that there was tape across the trail.  I have seen this tape before but I was never on the inside of it.  I then saw a sign planted firmly on the ground right at the trail entrance.  This was the sign!  The warden was standing right there.  I said "this sign was not here when we started this morning!"  He said he just put it there.  There were three grizzly sightings and a black bear sighting.  One grizzly was aggressive and charged a lady coming within ten feet of her.  
How lucky were we!  We chatted about our luck yet once again!  Remaining vigilant, staying loud and obvious paid off. Our day was quite amazing.  It was difficult work and well worth it.  The views at the summit were a grand reward and a great birthday present too!  We returned to "The Palace" for our last night there.  We devoured treats and beverages and then dinner.  We discussed details for transitioning from Banff National Park to Yoho National Park then called it a night.  Sweet dreams to be had tonight!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Nigel Pass, July 27 2015

From what I read about and from photos I viewed, Nigel Pass remained high on my to-do list, the time just needed to be right to hike to it.  Being further along the Icefield Parkway, it is best to be staying in the area to shorten the drive and give yourself more time on the trail instead of in the car.  The trail head was not far down the road from "The Palace".
The first couple of kilometers was along a road, then through a forest, then through a thick overgrown meadow.  When the views opened up, boy did they open up!  The clouds danced for us and teased us, every now and then for mere seconds giving way to full mountain views.    
The open areas were vast with kilometres of exploring opportunities.  
Neither of us had ventured here before, we had no idea where the trail would lead us nor where we would end up.  After further than what we expected, we arrived at Nigel Pass.  The location was amazing with such a variety of color and ground cover.  I picked a high point and made it my summit of the day so captured the shot.
We picked this location for our group shot, right in front of the far off glaciers.
After refueling, it was time to explore a little further along.  The going was easy on the footing and even more so easy on the eye so we opted to kept going.  The colors were amazing especially of the river.  I wanted to be up close with it, so descended to it.
we were even privy to wildflower viewings
This was our turn around spot.  It was difficult to do so, I really wanted to venture further in but we had already come further than planned.  I will definitely return to this location and explore deeper down after realizing how easy of a hike Nigel Pass is.
view as we turn to head back
The day remained overcast with a few sprinkles now and then and some heavier rain as we neared the end.  It is views and colors like this that will bring me back, but on a day with more blue in the sky.
We arrived back at "The Palace" and dipped into the treats and beverages. The sky cleared while preparing dinner and I knew the sunset would offer up a sight.  Once dinner was done and just before bedtime, I once again strolled down by Waterfowl Lake.  The alpenglow was so pretty.
Before calling it a night, we chatted about how lucky we were for the weather to have cleared and about how peaceful it was in the campground.  So far our stars were aligning quite nicely.  We also put our hiking plan in place for tomorrow.