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".  

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