Saturday, June 20, 2015

Wawa Ridge gentle on my mind

Have you seen the video by The Band Perry called "Gentle On My Mind"?  The first time I saw it a couple of months ago, I could immediately resonate with the guy as soon as she read his note that said "had to go".  I often feel like I have to go!  I "had to go" today to Sunshine Meadows.  I purchased my bus ticket for today well over a week prior then watched the weather forecast praying for conducive conditions.  The true anticipation began driving up that Sunshine Ski Hill Road.  Rounding the corner and getting that initial view only increased the level of anticipation because this is what it looked like.
We arrived with plenty of time to gear up, check-in, obtain our ticket, then get in line at the bus door. We were first.  After the five kilometer drive making 500 meters of elevation gain, we arrived at Sunshine Village with a plan now in place.  We would begin in a counter clock-wise direction.  We could see already there would be no snow to deal with.  The grass was green and flowers were blooming.
After the first section of elevation gain, we reached the Monarch Viewpoint.  
Views like these sure are gentle on my mind.  
Our first goal was to find our way to Wawa Ridge.  Neither of us having been before, we did not know what to expect but would figure out our way as we went.  Standing at the Monarch Viewpoint and facing The Monarch and The Monarch Rampart, we turned to our right and made our way along a trail that lead to a wide open space.  The terrain was soft light screen and green grassy patches which was not only gentle on my feet but on my knees too.  
We reached the top of Wawa Ridge to find this massive summit cairn.  
We loved being here!
my summit shot
We strolled to the far end of the Ridge to where there was a drop off.  
This was obviously a climbers wall as there were hooks and cables in place.  
No climbers today though.  
A portion of Sunshine Meadows was visible far below us.
happy to be high on a place that is gentle on my mind
Just before arriving back at the Meadows, we found a slightly slanted slope which was a great spot for a short stop to have snacks. From our snack spot, we saw another small ridge that looked inviting and decided we should fit that into our plan before meandering through the meadows.  This little ridge offered up a little more elevation gain and wonderful scenery. We were presented with lovely bouquets upon our arrival.
along the Twin Cairns Meadow Park Trail
it's just what we do when we are "out & about"
One of the reasons I "had to go" today was to capture reflections in one of the many tarns.  These tarns will not be around long. With no snow left and warm weather in the forecast, they will soon be dried up.
We incorporated some off trail today along the way.  We found our own way up to the border sign.  Short Stop is in British Columbia while I am in Alberta.  Having already gained back that lost elevation, we just scooted across this section..... The Standish Viewpoint.  That is Rock Isle Lake to the left and Larix Lake to the right.  You can see Mount Assiniboine top left peaking out from Quartz Ridge.  There was not much snow over in that direction either.  We took a short break here to refuel as we still had the three Lakes to pay a visit.  
Mount Assiniboine
Just after descending from Standish Viewpoint and before veering off to bypass Rock Isle Lake, we discovered this hidden gem tucked behind bushes and trees.  This tarn with The Monarch in the background, while it was wide it was not deep, it will soon fade away to a puddle.

We made a quick trip past Grizzly Lake in favour of spending more time right here at Larix Lake.  We were sleeted on here, off and on over a short period.  The colors were outstanding, there were waterfalls galore, and a loon in the lake.  You probably have already figured out why I "had to go" today.
Not quite feeling ready to roll on, we settled down.  
We snacked again & took in the views.
The hike back up to Rock Isle Lake took awhile. That place was looking just so pretty, I needed a picture.  We stood and admired it and then carried on back down to it and circled around it.  We checked the time and when we saw it was 5:05pm and the last bus was leaving at 5:30pm, we put a plan in place.  This was to be our last taking time to admire the view spot. 
We still had 1.6 kms to go with a bit of elevation gain in there.  It was all business now and we ran, not fast but we ran.  We ran just like he did in the video when he "had to go".  As we got closer we could finally see the yellow bus still sitting there.  We motored down that last hill and towards the building.  I could see the lady upstairs looking out the window.  We arrived at 5:25 and I still had to climb the two flights of stairs to check in for our spots on the bus for the ride back down to the parking lot.  The lady said she watched us running down the hill.  

I was so glad that when I got that feeling that I "had to go" that Short Stop was game to go too.  Her suggestion of summiting Wawa Ridge made the day for me.  Thank you for that!  I never get tired of the Sunshine Meadows area.  No matter what the season, it has so much to offer.  Today left me with a peaceful easy feeling that was gentle on my mind and I like it like that!  


  1. Had I known I might of spotted you on the web cam. Ha Ha. Another fabulous day in your magnificent mountains.

  2. Beautiful hike and such amazing scenery! And "Gentle on my Mind" reminds me of a Glen Campbell song from the 70s (I'm showing my age!)


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