Saturday, March 31, 2012

Embracing Color

While I always remind myself to embrace the day when I am out and about exploring and adventuring, the thought sometimes gets pushed to the back burner.  Once again with life's other happenings, I truly needed to "embrace today" so I made sure that thought stood out and was at the forefront of my day.
I had an idea of what I wanted today to look like plan-wise, I just wasn't sure where I wanted it to happen.  I was out the door at 5:50am and headed west but down a different road then I normally go when I go west.   An hour later, I found the perfect spot!   I bundled up, found a rock to sit on,  had my coffee to help keep me warm and then I patiently waited.
...and the show began...
...the sunrise was pretty...
...I learned that you should not forget to look behind you...
...the show happens there too...
...right before my eyes, the alpenglow slowly developed...
I was content with what I had seen all ready and it wasn't even 7:45am yet!  I would have been happy to head back home at this point but I remembered to "embrace today" so drove a little further west.  I was amazed!  I could not believe the beauty before me!  It was time for breakfast.  I bundled up, found a rock to sit on, had the rest of my coffee along with a banana, boiled egg and strawberries and devoured the view along with my food.
...the golden colors reminded me of autumn...
...On Golden Pond...
Could my day get any better?  A number of kilometers even further west, I drove down a road to see if the Lake would be picture perfect today, and it was.  The rays from the sun danced all over the place.
...I stood and watched yet another show...
...even the tree stump got caught up in the light show...
...I love how the sun shone on the tiny snow drifts on the Lake...
My day started with the gold and red as the sun started to rise.  Then different shades of pink came into the picture just before the sun appeared.  I was surround in pink as the alpenglow captured my attention.  What a colorful day!  The golden glows were deserving of top awards and the blues of the Lake would turn any sad blue frown into a winning smile.  What would a day in March, in the mountains, be without white!  As I headed further west and then south, white became the dominant color. white is no nice...
...even specks of red were thrown in here and there...
...this red canoe is ready to go whenever the river fills...

As the end of my day drew to a close, I realized how very easy it was to "embrace today"!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Facing Powder On Powderface

It's spring-time! Time to get out and play in the sunshine!  Time to leave the snowshoes at home!  Time to hike!  It's about time we learned the lesson that spring-time in March is still winter-time!  By passing through this gate, we would be opening ourselves up to what would be yet another adventurous day in the playground.  We all took on the challenge and passed through!
Quite quickly, we were rewarded for taking on the challenge.  
I couldn't get enough of this view.
A few of us took turns breaking trail through the powder along Powderface Creek Trail.  The further we went, the deeper the powder.  We already knew we would be in for a pleasant summit visit after noticing the tree-tops were keeping their snow for lack of wind.
The trail was long!
The forest was wide!
The snow was so deep!  I followed behind two trail breakers who were crawling on top of the snow and I soon realized I would have to do the same.  After crying like a baby in this hip deep snow, I gave in and crawled like a baby.  Distributing the weight helped a great deal and we made it across the snow and up to the summit.... where I was so happy!
After our summit shots, we settled down by the boulders to dine and enjoy the view.  There was less snow on our summit spot and it was easy to find our way around and to get around.  Seeing all this from Three Trails Pass, made the hard work along the trail worthwhile.  

Nihahi Ridge
Banded Peak
Prairie Mountain
Our summit visit was way too short.  It had taken an unexpected four hours to get there.   I will be back one day when we can disperse the time where less of it will be on the trail up and more of it can be spent visiting on top.  The descending was fun and swift.  
On the way down, we had closer views of Prairie Mountain.  My other friends were conquering it today and I zoomed in to 35xzoom every now and then to see if I could see them but this was all I could see.  I'm sure they were flying coming down Prairie's powder but not in this mode of transportation.
Today was one of those days when it felt extra special for the soul!  With otherwise life's happenings Monday to Friday, this Saturday filled with lots of laughs with friends was true enjoyment!  Thank you for that!
Feels so good to feel like I am "on top of the world!"

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Happy to announce "hibernating" won!
Hibernating is what I call the above photo!  It won me 1st Place in the Waterton Winterfest Photo Contest which was held over the Family Day Long Weekend in February.  For that, I receive an Annual Parks Canada Pass, a night at the Waterton Lakes Lodge Resort in a deluxe room and dinner for two at Vimy's Lounge and Grill.

A big thank you to Parks Canada and to Waymarker Hospitality!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Luck of the Irish

While none of us hiking today are Irish, we still had the Irish luck on our side!
Having spring fever and summit fever, I had the feeling which comes with that and that was to get high!  We picked Junction Hill as our destination with an objective of completing a loop in a counter-clockwise direction.  With map in pocket, track on GPS, distant memories of a prior trek, we hit the hill.  Hopes and expectations were for little snow, lots of brown, and a tiny bit of green.  Out of those three we only got the tiny bit of green which can be seen in the above shot.

On our ascent, the views were dull and erie.
We followed our planned route along the outer edges where we could see the trail head below. Yet at times we hugged the trees for safer travel due to deep snow, snow covered rock piles and cornices.  
I didn't have to pick the B&W feature on my camera, it happened automatically.
It took three and a half hours to reach the true summit.  Thigh deep snow at times delayed our progress.  We were lucky to have a warm temperature and no wind for our quick lunch break.    But before lunch, I wanted my summit shot.  I was so happy to be high, I felt like I wanted to do the Irish Jig!
After fueling, it was time to head down and carry on with the loop.  Not only did we head down physically but we headed down in other ways also.  I like to believe everything happens for a reason and I try to take away positive aspects then learn and grow from that.  I learned lots today and feel bigger because of it.

We all choose to abandon completing the loop for one reason or another.  A few of us decided it would be best to ascend back up to intersect our original ascent route then follow our beaten path back to the trail head.  When we reached the intersection, it was a relief. The sky opened up and it was almost like a reward for the hard work we just accomplished.  How lucky were we to now have wide open views where we could see forever.  It all began with the mountain tip peaking out above the clouds.
We still had a long way to go.
We needed to refuel again. 
We stopped for a short period to do that and to enjoy the well deserved view.  
Having added a couple of hundred more meters of elevation on our second ascent, I felt like I reached a summit again, so here is a second summit shot.  Now being able to see everything around us, I decided at this point that I want to come back one day and complete the Junction Hill loop.
We had one last portion of wide open space to hike through before hitting the forest for the final leg of the ascent.   Then we would be heading home down that road to the left.  I followed my friends and was wondering what they might be thinking about.
After seven and a half hours, we all met up at the trail head.   I'm glad everyone made it back safely.  It felt good to change into other clothes, sit down on the vehicle seat, have more food, and pop some Vitamin I.  I'm thankful to have had the Irish on our side today!