Thursday, January 31, 2019

Emerald Lake Hamilton Falls January 31, 2019

Head west "young lady" if you want to land smack dab in the middle of a winter wonderland! The forecast hollered out loud & clear that it would be snowing all day in Yoho National Park. As we crossed the border from Banff National Park into Yoho National Park I knew our destination of Emerald Lake would be a players paradise. That place today was as white as white can be!   
Before snowshoeing the circumferance of the Lake, we found our way up to Hamilton Falls.  This unique marker sign showed the way to go.  It was constructed of a wind flag hanging from a pole/X-C Ski contraption.  
 along the trail
With not too much effort we arrived at Hamilton Falls.  
This was as far as we went and yes I am on Hamilton Falls.
And yes this part of the Park has loads of snow.
Now back at Emerald Lake, we began snowshoeing in a counterclockwise direction.  This meant sauntering through the accommodations area first.  It must be a dream for those staying here who have not experienced snow before.  
 keeping the wine chilled
please bring another bottle
 at the entrance to one of the cabins
 It's a full time job to keep paths clear out here!
The views were non-existent other than white on white on white on white!  Throw in a snowshoer who embraces these conditions and that will brighten up the color spectrum.  We were fortunate for it to be somewhat warm day, we are talking negative numbers but the digits were not double.
 along the trail heading to the forest on the far side of Emerald Lake
 I see something in that snow mound!
hibernating for the winter
After snowshoeing around the Lake, some of the others did one thing while others did another thing. My thing was to scoot on down the trail beside the river to add a little more distance and to capture more pretty pictures.  The lone duck was in its glory owning the river.
 view along the river
I wasn't ready to pack it in yet so I bundled up, put out my seat pad, sat down, flipped my snowshoes, poured some tea and enjoyed the view while the lightly falling white gold continued to accumulate on the ground and on me.  I took a few minutes to reflect on how fortunate I was to be here today experiencing this World UNESCO Heritage Site National Park.  

Monday, January 28, 2019

Nose Hill Park January 28, 2019

Today's edition of being "out & about" at Nose Hill Environmental Park was with intention of seeking out the most ups & downs.  The ten kilometres I covered this morning would make for a great hill training route.  Not only did I find many hills, I also uncovered & discovered many other intriguing & unusual sights.      

My morning started with a straight forward straight up hill just after sunrise.
                           Come on, 
                        you can do it!

on top of another little hill during alpenglow time
Figure out that shadow!
I veered off in a direction where I wondered what was up there!
This is what I found!
I found this too!

I shuffled down another steep hill to a ravine and to where I could watch the sun rise!
                                  O.K. now let's get up out of here!
                             Come on, you can do it!

Once back up on top out of the revine, I dipped back down again and then back up again.  I saw a fenced off area and I was curious as to what that was all about.  I walked around the fence where there were three "Government of Canada" signs, the area was filled with the usual brush & twigs expect for one lone green bush. 

After a few more ups & downs, I passed by this on one of the downs.  
There are numerous structures similar to this through out Nose Hill Park.

As I was descending off yet another hill, I saw a fellow up ahead eyeing something.  He kept eyeing that something and then looking back at me, eyeing that something then looking back at me, eyeing that something then looking back at me.  As I got closer I saw what he was eyeing then I eyed it too. We chatted about what we were now eyeing together.  It appears the coyote was having a nap in the morning sun and was just waking up.  It yawned a few times, then got up and stretched and even did some downward dog poses, then yawned again a few times before going on its way.   Then we went on our way in the opposite direction of the coyote.

I found a few more ups & downs and one down was down enough that at the bottom it was like I got to see the sun rise yet again.  The lighting was so pretty up on Nose Hill this morning.  On the west side of the park the ground was lightly covered in the snow that fell yesterday.
a swarm above me of what ever
I looked back as I was leaving the west side and heading back east.  
There you have those clouds that look like rays shooting out of the hill top.
I covered numerous more ups & downs on my way back to where I began the morning.  Now it was more like business to get back there, veering off here and there to make sure I hit the ten kilometre mark as I was not leaving the hill until I accomplished that.  I did it and this is today's route.

Just another marvelous Monday morning!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Prairie Mountain January 24, 2019

Prairie Mountain never calls my name yet I still go.  I know it is good for my heart, my soul, my lungs and my muscles to get up and down that thing.  With what the weather prediction was, I knew this could be a pretty day out this way.  Like any other time I venture to Route 66 to attack Prairie Mountain, I go early because I like to avoid the migration.  Even more so, I like to witness the pretty colors and light the early hours have to offer.
...and so it begins with pink in the sky just how I like it...
There had been a couple of centimeters of snow late last evening.  From the looks of the ascending and descending footprints in the snow and assessing their time status, it appears someone spent the night up on Prairie Mountain last night.  This is why I like ascending on the earlier side, the low sun shines through and lights up the forest.
Yes, present me with a nice cloud of some sort!
There's not much snow in this area of the foothills yet there were drifts of it up on the ridge line.  
I made it!  Of course the first order of business is capturing proof that I did make it to the top of Prairie Mountain.  Each time I try to get a photo that shows a different perspective in one way or another.  I feel I accomplished that with this summit shot!
It was brutal up here today.  It took wearing five upper layers to feel comfortable enough to take a little time for tea and a snack.  This says it all!  Need I say more!
a patriotic shadow shot
Once off the very top, I took one last look back before getting on with the descending business.   

I know it is good for my heart, my soul, my lungs and my muscles to get up and down that thing! Now back at my car, my heart now begins to settle its pace, my soul is now singing, my lungs are now full of healthy mountain fresh air and my muscles are that much more stronger. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Ice Sculptures & Great Divide X-C Ski January 22, 2019

After experiencing a spring-like day hiking just two days ago, today I went for what I truly prefer for mid January and that is a full on winter experience.  It's ice sculpture time at Lake Louise and you cannot get more wintry than that.  Today being so soon after the ice sculptures were carved meant they would still be fresh and crisp.  Also, they are free to view on weekdays.  

The Ice Sculptures

It is such a pleasure to experience this place when there are just a few others around.  My thinking is the cold windchill, plus being a weekday, also not a holiday season, the crowds did not flock here this morning.  The Chateau workers were still working at finding places to push away with a plow all the snow.  Even with a wind chill, it appeared very calm and I was able to capture reflection photos.

Lake Louise Reflections

The best place to enjoy a great X-C Ski experience is where it is a winter-wonderland.  I picked the Great Divide to swish along for many kilometres.  It was me and a friend who just happened to show up at the parking lot the same time I did.  Oh and of course, the dogs were there.  They were just returning as we were heading out.  Then they were just heading out as I was finishing my swishing for the day.        

 Great Divide X-C Ski

As I arrived back at my car I had this feeling, the feeling I always feel at the conclusion of a wonderful winter mountain "out & about" experience.  With my hair covered in frost,  my lungs full of fresh air, my heart beating quickly, my nose & checks glowing pink, I felt happy & fulfilled and like I was "on top of the world"!