Saturday, August 25, 2012

My OH My... magnificent North Molar Pass was today!  Before I say anything, I first need to say "Thank You" for the wonderful unexpected gift today.  You expect to get gifts on birthdays, at Christmas, graduations etc but the best kind of gift is the gift that is given just because, it comes totally unexpected for no reason, it sits there right before your eyes.  You blink a couple of times and look in wonder and then realize My OH My this gift is for me!  The gift that I accepted with open arms today was packaged so perfectly and I could hardly wait to open it and admire everything that was at first visibly obvious and then unwrap the hidden treasures.  

With the terrible weather in the city and in the mountains yesterday, I didn't know what to expect for today.  Being late August, the day light hours are decreasing, the low temperatures get lower and the highs not as high, the windows of opportunity for long summer hikes will now become fewer so one needs to jump at the chance and get out there when presented with an open window.  That is just what I did today with three fun friends, on a blue bird day that got up to +20C, with no wind nor mosquitoes nor wind.  What a gift!
The first seven or so kilometers from the Mosquito Creek Campground, following the Creek  to where the first visibly obvious sights began, went by quickly.  The flowing water was where it was suppose to be and did not impede our travel. 
Look closely, even the rock in the middle of Mosquito Lake is reflecting.
We took our time strolling through the vast meadow.  As we began our ascent to North Molar Pass, we had quite the view looking back at the meadow and the Lake that now surprisingly looked turquoise from a distance.
North Molar Pass sits at the base of the V.
V for Victory for reaching the 3rd highest Pass accessible by hiking in Banff National Park.  
North Molar Pass is at 2590 meters.  
Once my summit shot was taken care off, I checked out the sights and out of the corner of my eye, in the far, far off down below distance, I saw Fish Lakes.  This is zoomed in 35 times.  I really wanted to see this Lake and now I know I would like to backpack down to there to spend a night.
This was the only snow we encountered which was directly across from our dining spot.
On the return portion through the meadow, we meandered and wandered, taking a little more time to do some unwrapping.  I could not pass this view by and needed to get caught up right in the middle of it and discovering when I knelt down that the scene became a photographers dream.
Mosquito Lake
My, what big teeth you have!
We stayed on the opposite side of the creek for a while longer before rock hoping back to the trail.  We discovered this side of the meadow was much more vibrant with color and spent a little more time taking pretty pictures.
Molar Meadow
After enjoying all the wide open obvious views and unwrapping the hidden treasures, it was time to rock hop back to the trail then carry on with the roughly seven kilometers through the forest along the creek.  Just like the trip through here on the way in, on the way out went by just as quickly.  
Now do you see why it was important for me to firstly say "Thank You"? 
It felt like I was "on top of the world" in the midst of a meadow.
In my opinion, today's gift was priceless.
Once again, Thank You! 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Hopelessly Devoted !

I am hopeless!  Hooopppeellessssllyyy devoted!  Sorry to say not to you but to the mountains!  I had all intentions of staying in the city this weekend because it has been ages since I spent a whole weekend at home.  My big plans were; sleep in, leisurely coffee and breakfast, some sofa time, put my feet up, a nap every now and then!  All that went by the way side when I woke yesterday morning at 4:30am in a state of panic realizing I didn't have a mountain adventure to look forward to.  I quickly got on my computer and arranged to take part in a hike to Rockbound Lake.  Once I arranged that, I felt relief and a load had been lifted off my shoulders. 

Now if you are devoted to me, as one of my blog followers, then you will remember that I was at this trail head December 3rd, 2011 but under different circumstances, we snowshoed to Tower Lake.  This was on my list of places to return to during the summer to see what was hidden beneath all that snow.
The first few kilometers were boring so I passed on taking photos but once the view opened up I transformed into a shutter bug.  Eisenhower Peak and Castle Mountain were prominent and dominant.   Thank you Mother Nature for tossing a few whispy clouds into the sky, you do know how I like those don't you.
This was the view of Castle Mountain and Tower Lake on December 3rd, 2011.
This was the view today!
Green & Gold!  What a winning combination!
After a little visit at Tower Lake, we then completed the last kilometer over a rough, rocky, rooty steep ascent to Rockbound Lake.  This was the perfect place to be on such a hot day and worthy of the lengthy, leisurely,  lunch break that we enjoyed. 
I took some quiet time and watched those whispy clouds dance across the sky.
When it was time to go, I lingered a little longer, not feeling quite ready to leave but we needed to get on with the day.  We crossed the meadow and I looked back for one more lasting impression to take home.  I could not say a thing but only let out a sigh at this scene!
Being early afternoon with the heat on high, I was thankful the last long section was in trees that afforded us protection from the sun.  I enjoyed making new friends today that I hope to get to hike with again.  Most importantly, I am glad that I came to my senses yesterday at 4:30am, as I could not have asked for a  more perfect day to visit Rockbound Lake.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Life Flows at Floe Lake

I have owned my backpacking gear for 19 months now, all the while waiting and having faith that my stars would align and a right time would come when I could put it to use and experience a true backpacking adventure.  I have hiked, car-camped and snowshoed into an Alpine Hut now it was time to just let life flow onto the next step and that would be to combine the knowledge gained from these three types of adventures into a two day backpacking  trip to Floe Lake in Kootenay National Park.

I was both nervous and excited at the trail head.  I didn't know what to expect.  I do better when I have an idea of what I am in for.  Right away the views distracted me from the nervousness and built up the excitement.  The fireweed was at its peak in pink!
I found the ascent challenging carrying a heavy pack that weighted in at approximately 38 to 40 pounds.   In sections the trail was narrow and angled and deteriorating away.  Twice the ground gave way beneath my foot and I went down but I was not injured.  That was all worth it when we finally got to see Floe Lake emerald in color at the base of The Rockwall.  
After viewing the Lake, we went in search of a place to call home for the night.  
Our tent pads were surrounded by wild flowers.  
After setting up camp, relaxing, having a drink then dinner, we checked out the area.  
We found the warden patrol cabin.
 A few icebergs were still floating in Floe Lake.
We were in bed early, with plans of getting up to watch the Persieds Meteor Shower.  At 2:00 am I checked the sky and it was amazing.  I went to each tent to wake up my freinds as they wanted to join me.  We stayed out for about 30 minutes and saw the Milky Way light up the sky and meteors shoot by about every minute.  How lucky were we that our stars aligned for this magnificant show.   I wanted to stay out and watch the show but I wanted to see the sunrise and also be in half decent shape for the 17km hike out in the morning, so I went back to bed for more rest.

I woke like clock work for the sunrise and headed down to the Lake to see what I could see. I caught the beginning of the alpenglow show.   The Rockwall looked so pretty showing off its reflection.
As the sun came up it turned The Rockwall golden!
This certainly was a golden moment to capture!
After taking my sunrise photos, I sat by the lake to have my coffee and reflect on how fortunate I am to be able to experience such an adventure!  I cherished these moments when I owned Floe Lake at such a peaceful time in the morning.
After breakfast and taking down camp, we packed up and hit the trail!  We headed for Numa Pass and on the way there, I kept looking back.  I didn't want to leave!  I took one last look back at Floe Lake seeing bits of the emerald color.
...leaving Floe Lake behind...
...we carried on to Numa Pass...
Numa Pass was such a nice place to be.  The views from here were spectacular.  In the far off distance behind my head, you can see some of the Peaks associated with the Valley of the Ten Peaks.  It was all down hill from here on in and I was so thankful for that.
Once off the Pass, we were into the trees and the views were gone.  So we just concentrated on our foot placement on a rough and rooty trail, where scattered trees were down here and there, trails were washed away and the new ones created were deteriorating away.  The devastation from rain and snowmelt this season was obvious.

We finally reached the Numa Creek Parking Lot and once I dropped my pack, I jumped for joy!  I was glad it was over!  I was grateful to have completed my very first true backpacking trip feeling happy and healthy.  I had such an absolutely, fun, amazing time it made me feel like I was "on top of the world!"  

This was the.....

....destination for my very first true backpacking weekend....


Monday, August 6, 2012

Waterton Lakes National Park Day 4

Early morning is my favourite time of day to take photos, in fact it is my favourite time of day in general.  I always sleep so well out in the wilderness in my tent and sometimes I miss sunrise but not today.  I made my coffee, which is an absolute must first thing, and took it with me as I checked out the very early morning sights close by.  Just on the other side of the trees from my tent, I caught the alpenglow performance.
Across the meadow, the sun begins to light up the peak.
I had my bear spray with me, prepared for any encounters. What I did not expect to see and what startled me when I heard the rustle in the bushes, was a baby moose running behind Mommy.  A little later in the morning, upon our return from the washrooms and without our bear spray, we spotted a black bear feeding in the bushes a mere 25 feet away.  We believe it to be the resident black bear and it may have been the same one I had an encounter with here two years ago.  I did not get to see its teeth, so was not sure if it was the same one.
After coffee,  photography, breakfast, and taking down the camp site, I hit the highway for home.  I had to stop at my favourite stop first.  Anytime I go to Waterton Lakes National park, I like to pull in here on the way home and have one last look at where I was.   It is always a beautiful scene and looks different every time I take a photograph here.  Yes, that is the moon in the top right corner.
I still have an $80.00 gift certificate to spend at a Restaurant in Waterton so I will have to go back another time.  (As if I need an excuse to go there.)  I have never been in autumn!  Hhmmm!!!