Friday, August 31, 2018

Fish Creek Provincial Park August 31, 2018

With wide open days at this point in my life,  it's time to invest hours on end exploring wide open spaces in the city, but far from the core of it.  In the past I dined at The Ranche in Fish Creek Provincial Park and I biked a part of the Park back in 2009 but hiking here remained elusive until today.  We had the map with us and picked a route to follow.  The idea was to fill our day walking & talking, snacking & snapping shots.  When all was said and done, we accomplished that while covering 15.5kms of trail.  

There were paved paths & dirt trails.
My friend declared this is our new office view!  We worked side by side for decades with loads of time to chit-chat.  Now that we are both retired, it takes work to find time to share that is open on both our calendars.
Our day was glorious with blue sky and those fluffy puffy clouds I love so much.  It was warm, scenic, breezy and bugless.  Our route took us over bridges.....
.....and along the shores of the famous for fishing Bow River.
I know in the past there have been black bear sightings and warnings in Fish Creek Provincial Park.  I  confirmed with my friend we would be fine without our bear spray.  I have been trending with bear encounters while out exploring our playgrounds the past couple of months.  Today though we only spotted american white pelicans and deer.
The dirt path section along the Bow River was beautiful.  
We were able to get down to the river's edge.  
Hours passed as did the kilometers.  The only telltale sign of that was feeling it in our feet.  We had a couple more bridges to cross, even a creek crossing, before arriving back at where we started about five hours prior.
When I saw our track on google earth, I noticed there is another whole section to Fish Creek Provincial Park that we did not even touch on.  That can only mean one thing, I will have to go back! Until then, there are other parks & places to invest our time when we have time.  Ah, retirement, that's the life!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Mount Lipsett August 29, 2018

Day Dawns
I arrived at our rendezvous location a little on the early side.  The rising sun was a solid bold pink again which left me wondering were we in for smoky surroundings on our Mount Lipsett hike. It appeared I was not the only one in a wondering state.  Soon after then my friends arrived and we were on our way west.

As we began our ascent and before entering the forest I checked back to where the view was and saw we were being afforded a bright blue sky with those wispy clouds that I love and had missed so much.  My motivation was lifted and I hoped it would be onward and upward weather-wise from here on in.
our direction became clear
the reds were vibrant
new snow along the way

Summit Experience
Summit visits encompass an array of activities.  First of all comes the arrival there.  It's time to take time and admire our surroundings followed by a few short seconds to silently give thanks and appreciation.  I was in awe of today's beauty on the summit of Mount Lipsett!
In short order comes the capturing of my summit shot. 
We were cheerful today, not just in color.  I am quite sure my friends were also thankful for the blue sky and fresh mountain air.  It seemed like we were all on the same page of a short story, at the same time through out our day.
other summit activities
at times a sketch tells a better story than written words

On this Wednesday the trail was quite quiet with just us and seven others spread out in passing or off in the distance.  We had the slopes, the meadows, the trails, the summit all to ourselves to wander at our hearts content and wander we did.  We watched a few people head up the gully to the Mist Mountain summit.  They are mere dots in the dark.
 wandering along the ridge and wondering where the people are 
in their journey to the top
 We wandered up to a ridge and ventured off trail along it.

The End
The view had improved as the day went on.  The wind had picked up and created rather cold air when we were nearing the end of our summit visit.  We bundled up and braced against it until we were back into the shelter of the trees. Then we were wrapped in the warmth from sunshine.  Just over six hours later we arrived back at the trail head parking lot.  I felt it was worthy to capture one last scenery shot of what our hike looked liked at the end.  

Author's Note
You know that saying "love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation"!  I have missed the sun and the blue sky.  I have missed those wispy white clouds and breathing in that fresh mountain air.  Experiencing the conditions we did today confirmed my love for all those things.  My appreciation for receiving the best of everything in our mountain playground sky-rocketed.  I wish the best from here on in for all those who are affected by the wraths of forest fires. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Jasper Townsite & Area August 22, 2018

When I woke this morning and looked out the balcony doors I knew if was deja vu all over again.  Then when the sun showed up that deja vu was confirmed.  The smoke index was high and I could smell it and could see not much at all.   It would be a day of focusing on what was right under our noses.  We had a plan in place and mid morning began to execute that plan.
Our first stop was at the Valley of Five Lakes.  I hoped for bright greens and other crisp colors but I knew in my heart that was just a pipe dream.  The first bridge we crossed offered promising scenery.
 Lake Five was the first lake for us and I went for the reflection shot.  
One thing about the smoke conditions, we were afforded dramatic views.
 We spent some time at the Third Lake.  
We could get close to it and the green hues were pretty.
 lots to reflect on today
 one of our group shots for the day
We carried on to the next and to where we could admire the scenery from different angles.  We were warned about a grazing black bear on the slope to our right.  We continued on checking out to our right.  Little did we know...... had crossed the trail and was now swimming in the Lake.
We watched it from a safe distance for quite some time.  It looked healthy with a bright black shiny coat and plump belly.  After cooling off in the water, it scrambled up onto the boulders for easier access to desert.  It was in its own little world which is usual for this time of year, fueling up and filling up, gearing up for hibernation.
We completed our hike at Valley of Five Lakes and then drove back to Jasper and up towards Pyramid Lake.  It was time to find an ideal picnic site and I remembered where there was the perfect spot.  We parked the car and right in front of us at Pyramid Lake was a herd of elk.  It was exciting to see them in the water cooling off.
When I realized they were also in the thick brush around us, I headed back to the car.  My friends opted to hang out longer and watch them do their thing.  I knew with it being rutting season, it wasn't ideal to be near them.  A little later we saw two Parks People keeping people away allowing the elk to have their space.  I also saw on the news where later that day in Jasper a buck charged a fellow.
We had to take a bushwhacking detour to get around the elk to get to the bridge which would lead us to that ideal picnic spot.  Still focusing on what is right before our eyes, I like how this photo turned out.  The island looks tiny.
 enjoying our picnic
 I have been craving color which has been absent from our views.  
I created a view which had limited satisfaction.
Yet it was a feast for my fuel need.
Ready to hit the road again, we drove to Maligne Canyon and did the hike there.  These kinds of canyons and waterfalls are not my thing and I find them hard to photograph.  I have nothing to share on what we witnessed.

Annette Lake was an inviting spot to spend some time.  My friend went for a swim to cool off.  I chose to practice photo taking.  This is late afternoon but looks like late evening early night.  I played with the camera settings and was happy to see this was the outcome.
Jasper Park Lodge was just down the road and around the corner so we added that to our list of places to visit today.  By now we were walked out and tuckered out.  Our home away from home was just a short drive and we went for it.
We had much success today when it came down to it.  
It was more of the unexpected that made our day.
Jasper I will be back!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Bald Hills Jasper National Park August 21, 2018

We woke to a smoky day forecast for Jasper but never mind that we were hiking anyway.  I have hiked along the Icefield Parkway and at Cavell Meadows but that's it for Jasper National Park.  I heard about the Bald Hills plus saw photos and knew I would like to hit these hills one day.  The Maligne Lake Road drive was not as pretty as I remembered due to smoke so we just went ahead and got it out of the way in favour of securing a parking spot of Maligne Lake where the trail head was.  The lot was looked packed but thankfully we got a spot, not far from the kiosk.
It was obvious many hikers had gone before us.  The first stretch was easy along a fire road with little elevation gain. We could see blue in the sky and I was thankful for that.  After the fire road, we came to an intersection where we made the decision to take the short straight steep trail up and save our knees by taking the long winding road on our way down.
We reached the opening and could see where we would be heading.  
I saw switchbacks and wide open spaces both of which I was happy for.  
The steep switchback section was short and afforded us views very quickly.  
Although there was blue, there was smoke too in the distance.
There was miscommunication on where our final destination was and we had split up along the way.  Never the optimum scenario but today it was OK due to the wide open area and lots of people around.  When I reached where I thought was our lunch stop, I could see my friend continuing on off in the distance.  I continued on too.  Here I looked back to where we came from and saw our other friend coming our way.
We reached the summit of the first Bald Hill and this was one of the views.  It was a spectacular place to be and I realized why this area is so popular.  I already knew I wanted to come here one day and take time to explore more of the Bald Hills.
It was rather erie looking, what else is new these days with all the smoke.  I could see Maligne Lake and wondered what it would be like to be up here on a clear day.  Yes, I need to be come back one day.  I checked out all the meandering trails and the other Hills and opportunities to explore are boundless.
This is my Bald Hills summit shot and my lunch spot too.   
We enjoyed our lunch and then began the descent opting to make a loop off the top.  The trail we took  coming down was much more user friendly than the trail we took to ascend.  I loved the colors we were seeing and the terrain & meadows & views.  I looked back to see my friends as they descended.
view along the descent route
We reached the trail that aimed through the meadow.  A could see how in a good year around the end of July this meadow would put on quite a wildflower presentation.  We hiked along taking our time.
hippies on a stick
From the summit we could see a tarn in the middle of the meadow.  I hiked over to it as I knew I would enjoy snapping shots around it.  This was my favourite view from the backside. We were getting more blue in the sky as the afternoon went on.
looks like autumn is on its way
Back at the intersection, we took the trail that would be long and winding and gentle.  
It was long, very long, and it was hot. 
the long last stretch
I arrived back at the car and waited for the others to arrive.  I had hoped for some time to spend down at Maligne Lake or even walking around part of it.  I'll incorporate that on my next visit.  We spent a few minutes admiring it and capturing a pretty picture.
The drive back to Jasper was prettier than it was this morning so we took time at Medicine Lake.  
I was grateful that the day we picked to complete our bigger hike had blue sky and minimal smoke.  Being in the Maligne Lake area opened my eyes to other hiking possibilities that I have stored on the back burner for now.  We arrived back at our suite pleasantly depleted ready to just relax and plan for tomorrow.  Stay Tuned!