Sunday, August 31, 2014

something everlasting because

I am always so happy when friends jump on board no matter what I suggest they would be in store for on any given day to play in the mountains.  That tells me something!  There is never any coaxing, they just say yeah. For me personally, today had more meaning then otherwise, so I needed to make it mean something.  I wanted beauty, I got it.  I wanted long, I got it.  I wanted fun, I got it.  All this was to be had on our hike into the Tombstone Lakes and up to Tombstone Pass.  

along the Big Elbow Trail
Tombstone Mountain
through Desolation Flat
After Desolation Flat, we came upon the intersection where we would veer left, descend and then arrive at the damaged bridge, that if it wasn't, the creek crossing would be easy peasy.  We managed to make our way across to the other side.  
We took a short detour to check out the Warden's Cabin.  
Nobody home!
trail towards the Tombstone Lakes
Lower Tombstone Lake

Upper Tombstone Lake
This was our dining spot.  
It was peaceful and beautiful and we owned it.
It was difficult to find out info about Tombstone Pass from others who may have been.  One guide book had directions so that's what we followed to get us to the Pass.  The beginning was pretty.  It was a gentle climb and then flat for quite some time.
Tombstone Pass
We had meadow views but no far off distant sights which I expected.
Once off the Pass, we intersected the Big Elbow Trail completing a gigantic loop.
This was our view descending the Pass.
Wildflowers were nearing the end of their prime bloom time.
The campground looked inviting, so we stopped in for a snack break.  I checked out the sights and thought this would be my ideal spot to spend a night. Maybe one night another year.  A few sprinkles showered down on us but they came and went quickly and then we went.
hitting the trail back yet still stopping at some nice sights
When we arrived back up at the Desolation Flat section along the Big Elbow Trail and followed it for a few kilometres, I took one last look back before....
....focusing on what was ahead, a big mountain.  
I wanted today to be something everlasting. 
I felt like I was "on top of the world" and that meant the world to me!


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Fabulously Fulfilling Feast

When I hiked into this area last September during the larch performance, and we caught a glimpse of the Skoki Lake down below, I knew I wanted to come back in a summer month to experience an alternate showing of the same area.  Seeing as this summer's hiking theme is turning into a "going back and seeing collection", I decided today would be the day to add the hike in the Skoki area to that collection.  I was happy to have fun friends on board so off we went, up the 4km of fire road.  Just get that done, easily & quickly.  Knowing what is to come makes that road portion of the day bearable.       

...and then it begins...
After the fire road, then taking time to admire the glorious fireweed, we arrived at the Halfway Hut.  The door was ajar like an open invitation, so we went in and paid a visit long enough for a quick big snack break.  I guess you could say we dined & dashed, ate & ran.
view through the valley from the Halfway Hut
There is such a variety of landscapes in this vicinity.  
We went from green lushness to the dark rough and ruggedness of Boulder Pass.   
On the other side of Boulder Pass is Ptarmigan Lake.  
It is a wonderful destination all on its own.  
As you circumnavigate it, the various views begin to build.  

flower frame
reflection section
wide and wonderful
pink & pretty 
As we skirted the shore, we watched for a cairn which would mark our way to begin ascending to Packer's Pass which is that dip below the lowest blue cloud.  To the right of that Peak (Packer's Peak) in the middle is Deception Pass.  The trail we followed was defined, gradual in elevation gain, spongy, and the trip up went by easily.  I was so curious to find out what was waiting for us as we crested the top.
I could not believe what was right before my eyes!
Zigadenus Lake is one of the Skoki Lakes.  This was what I saw back on that day in September of last year, but then it looked nothing like this.  WOW!  HOLY!  UNBELIEVABLE!  This has got to be one of the most beautiful lakes I have laid my eyes upon.  What a feast!
This is a close up of the white speck on the far left in the above picture.
This was our lunch time view.  
We spent just short of hour here.
Not wanting to leave but having to get on with our day, we ascended back up to Packer's Pass.  From there we had an amazing full view of Ptarmigan Lake below us, which was now where we were descending to.
...looking back on the way down...
...back at Boulder Pass...
After a quick visit back at the Halfway Hut, we hit the trail to head home.  
The clouds danced over Mount Temple, never giving us a clear view of her peak.  
Before arriving at the fireroad, I stopped for this one last look.  
What a truly beautiful area this is, and how lucky are we to have it in our backyard.  It is vast with many more directions to veer off and explore.  I like that it's not a busy area, and the variety of colors, formations, landscapes makes it spicy.  For all those reasons you gotta know that I will be back!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

escape to freedom

My charge this weekend landed me east of the city.  After completion, I was released and instead of heading home, I took a country-side detour and ended up slipping in the backside of Kananaskis.  It was early enough, I could make a quiet escape owning the road and driving free.  I always acknowledge my freedom & fortune. Today I gave each extra credit. 

Views today appeared to have added touches.

I see rays coming through a soft shade of peachy/rose.

the mountain top looks to be bursting its bubble

 say it isn't so but seems like end of summer shades

sparkly dew drops

such contrast between green & gray
so similar is the reflection 
Before heading home, I stopped by Wedge Pond for a few minutes to lap up some lasting scenery.  While I sit here, my sister & her husband should be finishing up their weekend escape.       
I enjoyed being in charge of their pet for the weekend.  After locking up and leaving from their place, I was able to hook up with Stoney Trail, head southwest and arrive in Longview long before the tourists and trailers and travellers.  I completed the loop from that end out to the #1, the first time I did since June of 2013 when the area was flooded with devastation.  

My Sunday!
 A fun day! 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

a summer pass

Paying a visit to Wenkchemna Pass during the dog days of summer has been in the midst of my wanna-do list ever since I first went there years back during Larch Season in mid September.  Today was my fourth venture into The Pass but finally my first during summer.   We arrived at Lake Louise village at 9:00 am for a quick stop before driving the road up to Moraine Lake.  A large flashing warning sign stated "limited parking at Moraine Lake".  My initial thought was that can't be it's only 9:00 am.  Sure enough a few minutes later we arrive at an already over flowing parking lot.  Lucky for us, a car exited a spot as we approached and we quickly secured it. I took that as a sign, a sign that told me "this is your day"!   

As usual, the first portion of the trail was hectic until we reached the intersection where the trail splits to go to either Larch Valley or Wenkchemna Pass.  As usual, most went straight towards Larch Valley and that's how I like it.  After the treed section, we finally catch a first glimpse of our destination which is the saddle-like section in the center.  
sapphire blue  Eiffel Lake with an emerald green tarn along side
clouds were unusual today
posing marmot
my version of rock climbing
The scenery on this hike is out of this world!  It truly is!  
While I like that not many folks frequent this area, I do wonder why.  
The views rival those of neighbouring Passes & Valleys.  
At the end of the Valley of Ten Peaks, the climb begins to  Wenkchemna Pass.  The higher up along the switchbacks and the views get even grandeur.  From left to right you have Eiffel Peak, Eiffel Lake, Valley of Ten Peaks and then the line of Wenkchemna Peaks.   There are tarns here and there and boulders splattered about.  Looks like a money making calendar shot to me! 
arrival time
at 2611 meters
the top of Wenkchemna Pass
my summit shot
Mount Temple & Eiffel Peak to the left 
It was breezy and chilly at the summit.  We settled down, just down from the top, for some shelter, a grand vista and delicious dining. This was our view and yes those are my boots.  I tested my Styngers out last week on a short hike, and went for the full meal deal today and as expected, they performed as expected.  
after lunch view
looking down into Eagles Eyrie
Now refueled, now with a summit fulfillment, we descended back down into the Valley.  
The colorful rocks were inviting and I tried to RSVP but this was the best I could do.  
green, gold, blue, white
colors that create a photographer's dream

valley center
The wide open spaces were nearing their end so before heading back into the trees I captured one last, lasting shot. The trail was filled with fireweed on one side and there were glaciers galore on the other. There was peak after peak and peak after peak topped off with dancing & swirling cloud formations.  We were a group of fun friends, playing & remembering to breathe.  I read that sign right as we secured that one last parking lot "this is your day"!   "This was our day!"