Monday, October 14, 2013

My Thanksgiving Monday

I was happy to find friends who did not have to stay home to prepare a turkey and were free to put Pigeon as their priority for this Thanksgiving Monday.  It was nice that a few of these friends had never been up this mountain.  Pigeon Mountain has two summits which I hit last year but I wanted to add a twist this time and come down the backside off the lower summit to incorporate a loop and enjoy different scenery.  

The trail head is a mere one hour west of the city but the views parallel those that are two hours west.  The first long stretch in the trees is the place to get into the mood and the mode, to warm up and to get caught up with each other's past weeks activities.  Once that stretch was behind us and we reached the wildlife sign, we delayered, our focus changed and we began the steep climb.

Within only a few minutes we exited the trees, then just like magic, mountains appeared.  We could plainly and clearly pick out every mountain from Ha Ling Peak on the right, Mount Lougheed on the left and every one in between.
a frosting of snow in the dips
A bit further and our first destination was in sight.
It's the snow covered peak center right.
We headed first to the higher main summit.  It was chilly and windy here so we quickly took care of our business.  Mine of course was capturing my first summit shot of the day.  We retreated back down for shelter to dine all the while facing the sun and our next destination.
Looking to the far end of this main summit and Canmore down below.
Lac des Arcs
heading to our next destination, that big bump straight ahead
on my way there
our gear on the summit
We took a little time here to have some fun.  
I captured my second summit of the day so that meant another summit shot!
Now it was time to go into unchartered terrain for us. It was easy to find our way.  We did come prepared though with written directions, a map, gps and track.  That's just the way we roll.

Looking back to both summits.
This is the expansive meadow we meandered along once off the second summit. What a place to be today!  Lot's of ooooohhs and aaaaahhhs filled the air over this vast vista. We already declared if we ever hike Pigeon Mountain again, we will not return the way we came up but instead take this back way down.
new views
The Pigeon Mountain hike closes down each year from December 1 to June 15 to allow lambing to occur so time was getting short.  Today was the day to venture into this new area as the bare ground allowed us to eye the faint trail.  Once the snow falls the route will not be as obvious.  

I had much to give thanks for today!  It's being in the company of fun friends that make the day.  That fact and add to it views like we had and the fine weather conditions all packaged together made me feel like I was "on top of the world"!

I parted ways with my friends at the trail head.  They headed east to home and I ventured west to Banff wanting to prolong returning to reality a little longer.  I  checked into my room and settled in for the night! 

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