Saturday, May 28, 2016

Larch Valley Snowy Symphony

Some days being "out & about" in our mountain playground feel more magical than others.  Our adventure today up into & down around Larch Valley was like a magic show with appearances then disappearances and again appearances of snow, flurries and sprinkles.   We each participated in this day like directors orchestrating a snowy symphony.  We had many reasons to celebrate: I got to meet my Australian Blog Friend who is visiting her son in Banff,  two other friends are beginning a new chapter in their lives and we others always enjoy the opportunity to celebrate just being able to be "out & about".  

We made good time up the switchbacks to Larch Valley.
How fitting on a day with life's pinnacles are at the forefront...
...we would have Pinnacle Mountain  prominent throughout.   
I was excited to see what the upper Minnestimma Lake looked like so made a dash over the last hump.  It was mostly covered in snow with a few small grey openings.  It was calm here and peaceful and so pretty.  We took care of the photography business before settling down to dine.  Nearing the desert course of our meal,  flurries began to fall.  We could see behind us white out conditions coming our way.   That did not matter though....
....we still took time to have fun!
Definitions say that symphonies are composed of three or more movements.  While our movement was consistent all day of the "remember to breathe" kind with photos ops, play time, chat time...the weather movement played a snowy symphony.  The snow moved in, it moved away, it moved back in again, then it moved away again, and on and on.  All this offered up a photographers dream!
we stand separate
only for seconds in time
my snowman
Prominent Pinnacle & Shadow Shot
I loved everything about today!  
We found our way to show what that word means to us.  
friends, family, scenery, playing
After investing time up in this terrain, we then aimed back down the switchbacks to Moraine Lake.  
We worked our way up the trail to the top of The Rock Pile.  
above Moraine Lake & in front of some of the Ten Peaks
I applaud how our symphony played out today.  
It was award winning.
It was a pleasure to be in the company of each of you. 
Thank you for this day!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Forgetmenot Pond Sunday Long

"It's the Sunday of a long weekend and I will not be staying home!"
That's my declaration for this day!

Yet, I didn't want a long drive nor a long hike on this Sunday of the May long weekend.  I picked Forgetmenot Pond and area as it is a short drive and a short stroll around the Pond.  While the forecast was for rain in the city, it was for snow out there.  That peaked my interest as I knew that would escalate the level of prettiness.  

The first gate opened May 15th.
The second gate is open also but from photos I saw, there is no way I will be taking my car down that road any time soon.  Especially after all this rain and snow over the last few days.  At this three way intersection, I veered left.
I was the only vehicle at the Forgetmenot Pond Parking Lot.  Loads of vehicles were passing on by in a mass exodus from the Little Elbow Campground area.  I bundled up against the weather and crossed the bridge to begin strolling around the Pond.
 some of the views along the way
I had a hard time keeping my lens clear of snow flakes.  They were the wet, big, heavy accumulating kind.  Even though I geared up against those, I was still cold and got very wet.  No complaining though, I was strolling, not hiking at any break neck pace.  The prettiness was too much to just pass on by.  
 end of the trail
Quite some time later, I arrived back at my car that was covered in snow.  I warmed it up and warmed me up then drove down the road a little further.  As the exodus from the campground intensified, I decided to go with the flow and head home.  My winter tires are in my basement, not on my car and the driving conditions were winter-like.
I made it home with a card load of pretty....  
....thank you to the May long weekend snow event!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Nose Hill wide open window

While out & about this morning taking care of city business, the realization set in that this was not turning into a day to stay inside and look out the window at wild-like weather.  After returning home I verified the forecast and confirmed the window of opportunity for dryly being out & about was wide open for many hours to come.  The wicked weather would work its way here much later.  I quickly altered my wear, grabbed some gear and headed for Nose Hill to hike.

Oh Alberta how wild you can be with your weather and your flowers!

an Alberta wild rose in full bloom at Nose Hill today
This time around I picked a closer to home entrance to the environmental park.  
While I have seen many of these markers in previous visits 
this was the first time I saw a sign like this at an entrance.
After the rain that fell over night and into the wee hours of the morning, my main intention for this day was to photograph rain drops.  This was the best I could do.  By now the amount of drops had dwindled in amount and in size. 
It was time to shift my focus.
I took a different path...
...then close up photo opportunities  became plentiful.
The air was fresh & clear and the springtime ground cover was in abundance.  I followed the trail of wildflowers, got distracted in the beauty, then found myself lost both figuratively and physically.   With no far off views, being in low lying places, only flat meadowy prairie-like landscape visible as far as the eye could see, I pulled out a piece of gear that I did pack, my GPS pointed me to the way back from which I came.
I thoroughly enjoyed three hours of wandering around Nose Hill Park and admiring the springtime beauty it offered up.  While not getting high, nor being amongst the big mountains, I still felt pleased with what I came away with and that was fulfilling for me.


I am not up and out the door this morning heading off to live my 

I am taking a little time to remember back to a 5*21 when I did do just that!

*the play mates*
Making Waves, Adventure Designer, Ms D No Stopping Me

(this photo is titled "skirts to match the mountains")

Back in 2011, on 5*21, we trudged through deep snow to make our way to the Kananaskis Lookout.   It was not a dry year so the Lookout Folks were not home. To our delight we outright owned this place.  It was a day where our free spirits came out to play.  We spent an hour and a half here just laughing and living life.  In all the years I have been hiking, this was my longest summit visit.  I truly enjoy the longer visits the most. 

This morning when I checked through my photo portfolio to see what I was up to on past May long weekends and on past 5*21 days, I realized that I forgot about that dreadful day on Prairie Mountain on the May long weekend back in 2014.  I am very good at remembering dates and happenings and anniversaries but that dreadful day just went by the wayside.  This just goes to show what is important in life and how happy fun times come to the forefront bringing along wonderful memories.

Memories from the same play place can stand out for different reasons.  How interesting our springs are, being so different from year to year.  5*23 of 2015 was so dry the Lookout Lady needed to be at the Kananaskis Lookout immediately.  Look closely and you will see her patrolling on her deck.  She invited us up for a short visit. While some things can be so totally opposite....
.....other things never change!  
Just like on that May Day back in 2011, on this 2015 May Day our free spirits soared. 
The rain in the forecast for this entire weekend is welcome!  
With lifes happenings, I need a little time to, as my mug says, "stop & breathe" & read.  
Time will tell if snow will accumulate higher up over the next few days.  
I will love it even though.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Raspberry Ridge SunDay FunDay

Ever since hiking Hell's Ridge over a month ago and spying Raspberry Ridge across the way, I knew I was due to go back to that Lookout seeing as I had not been since 2010.  It is not one I would consider soloing, so I thought just be patient and  the time is right it will happen.  Then, voila, a friend put the idea out there and in a matter of seconds I hoped on board.  I wondered what conditions would be like in that neck of the woods given the amount of snow that fell recently. Arriving at the entrance to this area of Kananaskis and eyeing the hills, I already knew there would be hardly any snow to contend with.  There is something about this territory that I truly enjoy.  The landscape is so different and you tend not to get the hoards of folks.
making my way down the 940
After not being here for many years, the trail head was very recognizable. Speaking of recognizable, it is always nice to meet my loyal blog followers and that means you Clayton.  I remembered following his blog and albums and we even exchanged a few mails back in the day when I needed advice on my first adventure down into Utah canyon country.  His intentions for today were to hike Mount Burke with his troop but arrived at that trail head to view a mountain that got plummeted with snow and would probably not be summitable.  

We geared up and got on our way.

We had a clear view of the entire stretch of Raspberry Ridge. 
It was obvious the greater amounts of snow bypassed The Lookout.   
The Lookout is on the top of the bump on the far right in the photo below.
We opted for the scenic route up to the ridge which followed long switchbacks.  This would make for an easier ascent and also a longer day.  In the two times I have reached this ridge, it was always by way of the straight up assault section.  This scenic route was ideal, it offered grand views under blue sky and sunshine.
We veered off trail somewhat.  
Here we found loads of wild flowers.
odd angle needed to capture the entire stretch of my kind of cloud
We arrived at the backside of the ridge where we found a few millimeters of snow.  We spread out a bit here as we made our way up.  At this point I just needed to get to the top and devour my lunch.   I could finally see the Raspberry Ridge Lookout and went for it.
my destination shot
view of Plateau Mountain
Mount Burke fully dressed in lots of winter white
Hell's Ridge
that television is still here
Us and the TV!  Like I mentioned at the start, it is nice to come across my followers when I am out & about.  It was nice to meet you JP and Andree and thank you JP for snapping shots of me and my friends.  I am obviously not as experienced as you two are, I acknowledge a lesson was learned today.  
these words say it all
After dining and taking time to have a little fun at The Lookout, we then hit the trail to begin our descent which would be taking the same trail down that we came up on.  We still took time to admire the trees and flowers and clouds and rocks.  There was truly so much to be thankful for on this day. 
Patience pays off and once again it did this time around.  Between catching up with an old friend to making new friends, between experiencing perfect weather conditions to enjoying amazing scenery, between having a bunch of fun to feeling like it was a workout at times, patience rewarded abundantly.  Thank you for this day!