Sunday, September 30, 2018

Nova Scotia Colours Retreat 1 Sept/Oct 2018

Nova Scotia Colours Retreat 1 Sept/Oct 2018

With a world of time on my hands to fill here I am now in Nova Scotia. I left Calgary on a wintery autumn day and arrived four hours and five minutes later in Halifax on a summery autumn day.  I picked this time of year to venture east so I could become embraced by reds, oranges, yellows, golds, all the shades of autumn in Canada's Ocean Playground.  Yes, that is another name for Nova Scotia, and what you see on licenses plates here.

I stayed close to the airport the night of arrival and that was where I got my first glimpse of autumn in progress.  Before heading to my home away from home the next morning, I spent a few hours hanging around Peggy's Cove.  Between the scenery, the ocean air and the bag pipes wailing, I knew right then and there, I was where my heart and soul truly feel at home.

I arrived at my apartment over looking the ocean, met my hosts, settled outside with a glass of "The Beachhouse", felt the salt air on my skin, listened to the waves, sat on the beach to admire the sunset and then......lights out for me after such a fulfilling day!


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Sentinel Pass Larch Valley September 25, 2018

In this day and age the only realistic & sensible way to hike any route leading from Moraine Lake is to arrive at the trail head via the Parks provided free yellow school bus shuttle service from the Lake Louise Overflow Campground & Parking Lot.  Today that method to madness worked like a charm for us and we got to enjoy everything that is charming around Moraine Lake, Larch Valley and Sentinel Pass.  We came with big hearts today because we hoped there would be loads to love!  
I left home at 5:30am, we left carpool at 6:05am, arrived at the Overflow Parking Lot at 7:40am, we boarded the yellow school bus at 7:55am, we departed at 8:00am, arrived at the Moraine Lake Parking Lot at 8:20am or so and began hiking at 8:32am.  First things first and that was to invest a few minutes capturing the reflection that some of the Ten Peaks were showing off in Moraine Lake. 
The reason for choosing to hike through Larch Valley at this exact time of year is to witness the larch trees presenting themselves at their absolute best. Today they were pure perfection!  The weather was perfection too!       
We arrived at Larch Valley and we were in awe of the spectacle.  
I was already thinking "What more could we ask for?"  
Taking time to breathe!
Our progress along the trail was very slow, very very slow.  The opportunities for amazing photographs were boundless.  What a photographer's dream!  Feeling the warmth from the sun made it even easier to just stop and just stand and just stare.  I was loving everything so far and we still had lots of ground to cover.
 golden larch trees become one with snow capped peaks
The couple of inches of snow covering the ground magnified the beauty of the trees.  It made the tarn stand out and the reflections in it captivating.  We spent quite some time in this valley before carrying on.  We chatted with two gentlemen who were gearing up to make their way up Mount Temple.  It was 11:00am at this point in time and I just hoped in my heart they would be OK.
We eyed our next objective which is Sentinel Pass in the middle, we boosted our energy and then went on our way.  The majority of the switchbacks were snow-covered, icy in spots, easy going but only for those of us with microspikes on.  Others were on all fours, on their butts, voicing expletives.
We arrived at Sentinel Pass.  We found an area all to our selves were we could comfortably lay out our gear, move around, capture all of our photos and then settle down to dine.  This is the view down to Paradise Valley.  
This is the view down to Larch Valley, Minnestimma Lake and across to the Valley of Ten Peaks.  
I have numerous photos from up here to share.  
This is the first of me where I am standing guard over the Sentinel.  
Paradise Valley is behind and below me.  
 happy to be here and feeling so much love for this place today
 perched out as far as my comfort level would let me go
 view of Pinnacle Mountain from Sentinel Pass
We spent more time capturing photos at Sentinel Pass than we did dining time.  We opted for only half our lunch and to savour the other half at another beautiful location.  It was all about sharing the love around.  On the way down I made sure to stay clear of those who were all over the place out of control with no foot traction.
Back down at the meadow we spied the lower lake and agreed that on the shore of it would be an ideal place to shed some more of our love. It took some time to get there, once again, our pace was very slow, very very slow.  
We made it!  There were a couple of big boulders clear of snow, we settled down on them and dined again.  It was tea time too! From here we could see the hikers going up and down the switchbacks to Sentinel Pass.  Also we could see now there were many more people at The Pass.
 just doing what we do
 then I needed to do it all by myself
We meandered through the meadow and through the larch trees.  
I was still full of love so dispersed a touch more amongst the larches.  
They are so soft to the touch.
The afternoon was going on and we still wanted to  visit the first valley again and also around Moraine Lake.  We opted to begin our descent back through the forest.  The weather was still beautiful and the scenery seemed ever more spectacular.  The wonderful afternoon lighting was a bonus.
 into the forest we go
We worked out way back down to Moraine Lake and carried on along the trail that goes to the far end of it.  It was nice to be by the Lake and have it be the color it looks from high above.  You can see the Tower of Babel in the center.
What are the words to that song by Air Supply, I think they go like this "I'm all out of love...", well I wasn't and I proved it!  I was so high and so happy at this point that everything looked lovable to me. I came with a big heart and loved everything from beginning to end.
Today was an incredible experience.  When you go to the mountain playground you go with hopes of receiving the best of everything yet willing to accept whatever you are handed and finding a way to make the most of it.  There was no resorting to willing to accept today, there was no having to make the most of something.  

We were presented with the best of everything today! 
We embraced it with wide open hearts and love!
Thank you for this gift!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Sheep & Rae Lakes September 22, 2018

Mid September means to get out there before the autumn colors are gone, to get out there before the snow falls, to get out there before you need to check road & avalanche conditions, to get out there before the gates close. Already it's the last day of summer and the colors are mid cycle, the snow has fallen, roads were reported snowy & icy and there has been an avalanche incident.   The pressure was on to get out there!  So what did we do?  WE GOT OUT THERE!  
The plan of attack for today was to catch up on each others life's happenings, have fun, laugh, OH and hike.  Seeing autumn shades was our interest and we knew we could find that at Elbow Lake, Sheep Lake and Rae Lake.  While it's all about larches these days, we got a double dose with colorful ground cover too.   We arrived at Elbow Lake to see campers braving the unseasonal weather conditions.
 The sky was scattered with blue which afforded us amazing reflections.
 We worked our way along the Big Elbow Trail.
My favourite place along this trail is where Tombstone Mountain comes into full view.  
It was sprinkled with white gold and framed on the bottom with a line of low lying cloud.
The clouds were moving in & out, around, up & down quickly.  At moments in time different areas were lit by light.  Then at seconds in time various mountain peaks peeked through those motion-filled clouds.  The oranges and crimsons and golds could not have been more beautiful.
 the views were jaw-dropping & wide-smiling spectacular
We opted to head towards Sheep Lakes first so carried on by many trail markings that would have taken us to Rae Lake.  I always wondered what it looked like up on the ridge area where the Sheep Lakes are.  We followed the trail for a short period of time.
 The scenery up here was absolutely lovely!
We stopped by the Fish & Wildlife Cabin.  No one was home.  It was not boarded up for winter yet so I imagine someone will be by in the near future to close up shop.  At first we considered this as our lunch spot but then decided we wanted out in the open where the views were.
 We visited one of the Sheep Lakes.  
There is a row of mountain peaks in the clouds above the line of trees.
You just have to picture that, I was not quick enough to get a photo before the clouds came.
We exited the trees to the ridge overlooking Tombstone area and Desolation Flat off in the distance.  This was a perfect spot for our group photo.  The sun felt warm and there was no wind, yet the clouds  still did their motion-filled thing.
Somebody said jump!
So what did we do?
We jumped!
It took a few takes... get where we were each in a happy place!
 dining time
 We left the Sheep Lake area behind!
Back out on the main trail, we found one of the many markings that would lead us to Rae Lake.  
This area had more snow and this was where the larches were.  
Rae Lake looked beautiful.  Someone calls this lake "the jewel in the bellybutton of Mount Rae"!  This certainly is a valuable jewel of a place.  We arrived at the lake where it runs off into Rae Creek.  We headed to our left and hiked around the full lake.  This is looking across to where the creek leaves the lake.
 a location shot on the opposite side of Rae Lake
 incredible reflection
 reflections are a few of my favourite things
Having hiked around the lake, we then found the trail and ascended the hill away from Rae.  Heading off on this trail would give us that big loop option.  We talked about how pretty this is and how it would be nice to stay the night here one summer.   Good-bye Rae Lake, I will see you again!
The trail we took that led us away was snow covered, over grown and we were drenched from the wet bushes and branches.  Also it was full on rain for much of the balance of the hike.  What did that matter though.  We were in our happy place, which is where we were all day, and we had another happy place to get to.  That happy place was in dry clothes, in a warm place and a full belly.

We dropped into Woody's Pub.  There was no Florentine Steak or Italian Red Wine on the menu so for me a tall order of onion rings, mashed potatoes, a rack of ribs all paired with a light pale ale would have to be suffice.   The catching up on life's happenings, the fun and the laughs carried on all day and we brought it into Woody's with us.
If you are still with us to this point in our story, you are now well aware WE GOT OUT THERE!  I am so happy we carried through with this day considering the forecast we were presented with.  We went prepared for anything and everything and even though we were more than dampened physically, we did not let this dampen our spirits!

Thank you for today!