Thursday, August 31, 2017

Summery Summary

The first day of July was my last day in Iceland.  I spent Canada Day sightseeing around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.  Visiting this Island was a life long dream come true.   I still look at my photos to keep the memories alive.  At times I can't believe I was really there.   Little did I know while I was there that beautiful weather, gorgeous scenery, amazing colors and experiencing new would become my summer theme.  
That Iceland trip ignited the adventurous side of my soul and I wanted to keep that spark electrified.  I pulled out my little green worn & torn notebook to check out my scribblings from the past few years. There I saw written an ideal destination to fulfill what I now newly needed.  The unofficially named "Horseshoe Lake" would feed that appetite.  The hike to Lake Annette, Giant Steps, Paradise Valley, Horseshoe Meadows & Horseshoe Lake and then back again on July 8 was a great kick off to the dog days of summer hiking season.  The weather was beautiful, the scenery was gorgeous, the colors were amazing and it was brand new to me.  
Into that Skoki region is a favourite place of mine to venture to.  I have been many many times in different seasons with variable conditions. I like to add a different twist each time I go just to keep it intriguing.  I had heard about Heather Ridge and eyed it each time with hopes of having a birds eye view from up there one day down the road.  Standing on this summit would be an opportunity to carry on with this summer theme that was developing.  Seeing Ptarmigan Peak and Ptarmigan Lake on July 15 from this vantage spot was spectacular. The weather was beautiful, the scenery was gorgeous, the colors were amazing and it was brand new to me.  
My summer would only get better!  On July 19 my university days pal who I have not seen in some thirty years came to visit me from Georgia USA along with her friends.  For their introduction to Alberta and our Rockies, we hiked to the summit of Mount St Piran from Lake Louise on July 20.  After all these years there was no effort at all with the friendship carrying on.  We both changed over the years with our lives growing in different directions yet in some ways we became even more similar.  The weather was beautiful, the scenery was gorgeous, the colors were amazing and it was brand new to them.
At the request of the young lady, we hiked to the summit of Fairview Mountain on July 24.  Her wish was to go high where she could feel hugged by the mountain peaks and the glaciers.  It was on this day where I witnessed her embrace her surroundings, a growth occurring, a developing potential passion, and a young person "remember to breathe" which I believe was all happening without her even realizing.  This was a WOW day for me and for my friends.  The weather was beautiful, the scenery was gorgeous, the colors were amazing and it was brand new to them.
On July 27, the day before I would turn 60, SmutsFist and I hiked to the summit of Mount Allan in celebration of my big birthday.  He put this plan in place and my only deed for the day was to get myself to the summit.  Thank you for arranging this special day and thank you for our friendship.   This was exactly how I wanted to acknowledge turning 60 years old.  The weather was beautiful, the scenery was gorgeous, the colors were amazing and I wondered what brand new things & places I would experience at the age of 60.
And so this summer trend continues!  July 31 was a one time gifted free day off work and I wanted to make the most of it and be appreciative of that gift.  I have been to Wenkchemna Pass a few times and each time from the summit, I admired the tarn that sits in the meadow down to the right.  We ventured there this time.  I now know I will not go back to Wenkchemna without tacking on this side trip.  The weather was beautiful, the scenery was gorgeous, the colors were amazing and it was brand new to me.
The summer heat wave continued and so did the Verdant Creek fire.  The smoke from the fire was cause for concern for some but I just aimed to be "out & about" anyway and hoped for the best.  The best clean air didn't present itself today but a new to me area and lake did.  On August 12 after visiting North Molar Pass we made our way across the molar meadow and hiked up to a high point in search of Mosquito Lake.   The color of the lake and its surroundings were so very pretty.  One day I will put my feet in that lake.  The weather was beautiful, the scenery was gorgeous, the colors were amazing and it was brand new to me.
Where to next!  My next destination needed to be new and needed to be higher and further.  August 19 we headed back into Skoki and reached the summit of Fossil Mountain.  At times I was speechless given the views.   I was truly thankful for the clear clean air.  I saw a whole new section of Skoki from this summit.  It was work to reach this point.  It was a long day and I was glad to be finished but I realized today that it is taking more to reach that feeling of being pleasantly depleted.  Today opened up new doors in more ways than one.  The weather was beautiful, the scenery was gorgeous, the colors were amazing and it was brand new to me.
August 26 would be my so long July/August & so long summer hike.  I picked the summit of Mount Bourgeau to say my goodbye.  The views were vast in all directions.  This is a place where I knew I would feel like I was "on top of the world"!  In fact it feels like I lived these two months on top of the world.   Today was ideal in every way and I felt content that I could say I ended my summery streak on a high note!
Months back early in the year when I began to draw up my summer plans, I never dreamed it would turn out the way it did.  I feel blessed and fortunate and I am very thankful for that.   It was a July and August where I felt like I was flying high the entire time.  If I could have imagined what my days would look like and I could paint a picture of that it would have looked exactly like it actually did.  I would have to say the stars aligned perfectly.   

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Mount Bourgeau August 26 2017

July and August of this summer have been filled with an all time high of fabulous things.  With August winding down and today being the last opportunity for a hike this month, in fact this summer, I wanted a day that went out with a bang, a packed punch,  a wam bam pow, and a gigantic WOW!   The unusals were on board plus a couple of others who were game to take on the challenge of the big day and catching summit fever from me for the first time.  Mount Bourgeau batten down your hatches, here we come!  
We were keeners with the early start and second in line to the trail head parking lot.  It was crisp and cool and ideal for the long trek up through the forest.  It's conversation that gets you through this section because the views are very minimal.  When we did get one, I captured it.
We had a very short stop at Bourgeau Lake then made our way to where it would be wide open for the next many many hours. Fireweed was still in bloom and carpeted large areas of the meadows leading up to Harvey Pass.
lake well below Harvey Pass
lake behind us before heading up to Harvey Pass
lake hiding in the meadow
We took a longer snack break here at the lake at Harvey Pass.  We were getting ready for the final long steep push to the summit of Mount Bourgeau and we needed maybe about 60 to 90 minutes worth of fuel to get us there.
We began our assult on the ascent. We took our time and made sure to appreciate every amazing view and there were many.   I captured a part of Bourgeau Lake well below us.  This was as close to the edge as I felt comfortable with.
Mount Temple many miles away
I was already feeling high and we were not at the summit yet.  I really like all the layers and colors of mountain peaks as far as the eye could see.  I like how even and level they seem to be from one end to the other.  Of course, I was happy a fluffy puffy cloud developed for us.
We captured our solo summit shots as soon as we arrived and this is mine.
I am so proud of you Flying Finn.
I was pleased to be able to share in your spotlight.
We moved off to the side and gathered around to dine.  We had front row seating, a window with a view, prime time tickets to witness amazing scenery in all directions.  I get restless just sitting after I eat.  I could feel something overtake me.  It's happening again!  I was catching that fever!
It was very contagious today!
Fever pitch was at an all time high!
The fever can wear you out or energize you.  I like to think we were now energized so it was a good time to keep the momemtun up and begin our long descent.  We geared up and I headed off.....
.....and my friends followed.....
view as we worked our way down
When Mount Assiniboine came into view again we checked her out.  Then all of a sudden a big plume of smoke billowed up.  It almost looked like a nuclear explosion.  It got bigger and bigger, then is spread, this disipated then more plumes billowed.  It did not look good and we just hoped things were going to be OK over in that area.
this was the only cloud in the whole sky that looked like this
We arrived back at Harvey Pass and opted to rest for a short while and snack yet again.  
We also wanted to watch over in the Assiniboine direction.  
looking back up at where Mount Bourgeau's summit is and where we were
colorful lake
A few of us circled around that another little green lake that was somewhat hidden.  It took on a whole new look when we reached the back side of it.  You can see the trail that leads up to Harvey Pass and the summit of Mount Bourgeau but it was the golden colors in the water that was my main focus.
All the steep rough sections were out of the way now.  I felt a little frazzled from what we accomplished already and knowing we still had a long way to go yet, I made an effort to stay focused and to get this done.  We left Bourgeau Lake, aimed for the trees and struck up conversations again hoping this would make the distance and time fly.  It felt more like time was suspended as we hiked down the last seven kilometers in the forest.

My feet were sore and they were barking by the time we reached the parking lot.  I was thankful we were finished.  I was even more thankful that we experienced such an amazing day and that I got to share it with a crew of fun friends.  I hope you felt the bang, punch, pow and WOW today and that you will be game to catch the fever with me again on another one of those summits out there.  

Thank you for today!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Fossil Mountain August 19, 2017

this day of discovery was showcased to be big
in many more ways than just one
for some it was within our souls we did dig
 for all t'was an accomplishment when our day was done

Fossil Mountain was a new destination for us all.  I was glad others were as game as me to go given an early start, a cold temperature and a forecast of smoke.  The past few times I ventured into the Skoki environs this mountain was always at the forefront of my view and in my mind.   Having been in the area about a month ago to summit Heather Ridge, I was not sure I would care to go back again so soon after wards.  This summer has been full of days of discovery which I have been enjoying immensely and I was keen to keep that momentum going.  I have been feeling strong these days so was quite confident I could have a successful summit experience on Fossil.  

When we exited the forest and I saw the blue sky and those fluffy puffy white clouds I was tickled pink.  It has been awhile since I saw these few of my favourite things.  I secretly hoped it would stay like this for our entire adventure.
 We arrived at Ptarmigan Lake where we had a great view in the middle ahead of Fossil Mountain.
 Ptarmigan Peak to our left
 Redoubt Mountain and Ptarmigan Lake to our right
Just before beginning the climb to Deception Pass we stopped for a fuel break.  We then made our way up to Deception Pass then scouted out the route options to ascend the very steep slopes to the summit of Fossil Mountain.  I took a look back to witness one of our first amazing views.  
It was time to begin "the climb".
"the struggles I'm facing
the chances I'm taking
sometimes might knock me down
but no, I'm not breaking
just gotta keep going
I got to be strong
just keep pushing"
The higher we climbed more amazing views were presented.  
We could see the Wall of Jericho with Zigadenus and Myosotis Lakes at the base of it.
Little Baker Lake and Tilted Lake came into view
I was speechless when we reached Fossil Mountain's summit.  Not only did I feel out of breath from the climb but I tried to take time to "remember to breathe" but that is difficult when you are left breathless.  The views did that to me.  We could now see Skoki Mountain and off to the Red Deer Lakes.
summit cairn with the memorial plaque
my summit shot with Ptarmigan Lake far below me
me and my friends full of fever

It was windy and cold at times on the summit yet when the wind died down it felt hot.  We settled down and dined after taking our solo shots.  After dining time we then captured our group shots and some more scenery keepsakes.  We knew where we needed to go to descend so headed off and began to move down slowly and surely through the very deep scree on the steep slope.
looking back at my friends and up to where we were
We connected up with the trail that leads to Baker Lake.
back at Ptarmigan Lake
We passed by the official yoga boulder opting for something a little more unique.  In the middle of Boulder Pass we thought this would be a good spot to wind down and breathe deep.  We didn't spend too long as it wasn't needed, we felt ready to carry on with the last ten kilometers of the day.
Instead of taking the main trail back to the Hut we meandered through the meadow with a few creek crossings and pretty views.  We took a little bit of time at the Halfway Hut to get ready for the last push back to the trail head.  We fueled up a bit more, layered down and went on our way.
looking back through the meadow at Fossil Mountain which is not anywhere near a mere memory yet
With lots of conversation back through the forest the distance went quickly.  We admired the colors again, this time opting for photos with the perfect backdrop and lighting.  This was to be the last of our vast views.....
...except for Mount Temple in front of us...

For me this was a day of discovery in many ways.  The biggest would be setting my sights on a lofty goal and knowing I have the physical and mental capacity to accomplish it without any doubts or second guessing.   I realized I don't always need the affirmation on direction or judgment calls.  My sense and sensibility are proving correct so I am in a more confident and comfortable place with being out & about.  I am enjoying venturing to new places and discovering "new to me" mountains, summits, meadows and lakes.  I feel like I am growing as an adventurer with leaps and bounds yet knowing there is still so much more growing to do.  Thank you for today, it was a most wonderful gift!