Saturday, October 7, 2017

Healy, Simpson, Sunshine October 7, 2017

Deja-vu from my last post of hiking up to Gibbon Pass Peak, "you may want to settle in and get cozy for our story".   We experienced yet another fabulous day in our mountain playground, this time exploring on trail throughout Healy Pass, Simpson Pass and up to Sunshine Meadows.  I did not intentionally go for the larches, I hoped for blue sky, I am not quite ready for snowfall and cold, my wish was for a touch of snow already on the ground.  I wanted a long day of incredible beauty and a fun time with friends.  Boy oh boy!  What we were afforded exceeded my expectations by a walloping ten-fold!  So sounding like a broken record here we go again,  "you may want to settle in and get cozy for our story". 
At the start it's a long trek in the trees with a few open opportunities so when they presented themselves we took full advantage.  We were first on the trail and I like it like that because we get the pristine, perfect, pure experience.     
I thought the tree-trekking would never end.  I remembered we would come to the beginning of the lasting opening where we would have our first larch viewing and a bridge to cross over Healy Creek.  We did get there but just not as soon as I expected.  The wait was worth it.  I was surprised to see the majority of the larch trees still in the prime of their lives.
fitting in with the scenery
breaking trail in the new snow
snow collecting on the larch needles
As we neared Healy Pass the sky turned dark and threatened to do something but nothing materialized.  My original hope was to sail across The Monarch Ramparts but after doing my homework I found it to be included in the Parks Canada restricted area, one side for Banff National Park (to protect the land and the grizzly habitat) and the far end by The Monarch for Kootenay National Park (due to the wildfires).
The Monarch and it's Ramparts.
We reached Healy Pass, checked the posted Restriction Maps, then made our way down slope towards Egypt Lake to find a dining spot.  We sat to the side where we had a view and I savoured my sandwich, apple, energy bar, boiled egg, tortilla chips and tea.
sharing the day with friendly friends
just a taste of the fun to be had with snow
my Healy Pass destination shot
We packed up then hiked back up the hill to the Pass then downhill for quite some time by lakes, by tarns, through larch forests, all the while appreciating the beauty and how fortunate we have been so far already.
a snow squall with humongous snow flakes
It was into the afternoon and time for another lunch.  We opted to dine at Simpson Pass sitting in Alberta and looking at British Columbia which was just a few feet from our feet.  As we dined the sky began to clear again and the warmth we felt was wonderful.
The climb out of the valley up to Sunshine Meadows took some time.
It was too pretty to just pass by plus the climb went on and on and on.
at a flat section along our ascent
We arrived up at Sunshine Meadows and the view was outstanding.  
I eyed Quartz Ridge off in the distance and where you would pass by along the Citadel Pass Trail.  That trail has been off limits ever since the wildfire began back in July. We slowed our pace through the Meadows so we could have loads of time to "remember to breathe" for our own personal reasons.
larch tree showing off it's shadow
We carried on aiming towards Sunshine Village.  We could now see the ski hills which ignited a fire in the skiers amongst us.  I sensed their hopes were to be hitting the slopes soon.  The lighting was so pretty now that we were into the very late afternoon.
a resting spot just before The Village
Sunshine Village
The only task we had left was to hike down the road back to the Bourgeau Parking Lot.  
Along the way we encountered an opportunity for entertainment.  

It was a relief to arrive back at our vehicles where we made good time in gearing down in favour of quickly getting into our vehicles to softly sit down, warm up then head on home.  For me today will be memorable for many reasons.  How fortunate for some of us to experience three weeks in a row of witnessing larch trees at their prime.  I have never covered so much ground in one day in this area of our playground.  It set a new standard for when down the road I venture back here.  Thank you for sharing this day with me and letting yourselves just be, just being one with this pretty place.


  1. At first I thought this said 24 miles! Do you ever backpack? Another beautiful hike!

    1. I have backpacked a couple of times a number of years ago. I have all the gear and will do it again sometime. I admire the amount of backpacking you do and enjoy reading your stories!


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