Sunday, April 28, 2019

Nose Creek & Trans Canada Trail April 28, 2019

It's been quite some time since I strolled through the Birth Forest, or hiked along the Nose Creek Pathway.  I had no intentions of doing that today but that's where I ended up and it was the perfect morning to explore there.  Originally I planned to head further away from my neighbourhood but when I looked out my window and saw how much snow had fallen through the night, I decided I was not going to be the first one to drive the roadway out to the main drag.  My car would not make it.  I could make it out on foot though and fortunately the Nose Creek Pathway is just short of a kilometer away out my front door.

the Birth Forest trail looked like it was lined with sparklers going off 
There was over the knee deep snow in the neighbourhood to break trail through to get to where the true trail begins.  Once at the park entrance there were snow drifts scattered here and there, I worked my way around them.   
big snow drifts
Before heading to the Nose Creek Pathway, I meandered through the Birth Forest.  
Small bushes were weighted down with lots of heavy wet snow.  
The scene gave the appearance of ignited sparklers.  
At the end of April I did not expect to use a winter frame but this photo is worthy of a wintry frame.  
some of the older trees planted representing babies born since 2007
just enough snow just enough cold for Mother Nature to create a display
snow drifted high against the fence
The floor of the Nose Creek Pathway was somewhat protected so did not receive as much snow accumulation.  It was a pretty place for my Sunday stroll.  There were numerous bridges that crossed Nose Creek.
In one section along the Creek, there were many birds tucked into the side.  I could see they were well into the bush that was covered with snow.  They probably nestled in there late yesterday when the snow started and the wind came up and the temperature dropped.
I could see they had ice built up on their feathers.
I learned something new today!  The Trans Canada Trail is incorporated into the Nose Creek Pathway.    I followed this trail west for quite a distance.  The signs looked fairly new.  A number of years ago I had been down in this area but it looked different today.  It appears a new trail has been built.
A long stretch of the Trans Canada Trail was covered in ice.
The Trail had a very small amount of elevation gain, but enough to take me high to where I could see Nose Hill off in the distance.  I thought about what it might be like up there right now and if the crocuses would be covered in ice or even visible through all the snow.  
I had gone far enough and it was now around time!
I had my spikes on so ice was not an issue.
This is the 8 kilometre route I covered this morning.  In one spot on the left it looks like my gps skipped a beat but that was not the case, I had to do out and backs.  The Trans Canada Trail took me close to another neighbourhood.  Another time when the snow is gone,  I will return here and walk further on the Trail to see where I end up.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Kananaskis (A Just Living Life Day) April 25, 2019

My intentions as each day comes is to stay home and accomplish household chores.  Each day comes and I come up with one excuse or another to get going and get out the door doing one thing or another.  When I woke this morning and checked the forecast I knew this would be a day to get out the door and get going and stay home another day.  The forecast was for fabulous and it turned out that way as you can see in the fluffily (made up that word) framed photo from Mount Lorette Ponds.    
As each day comes it is a challenge to get out for sunrise with the sun rising so early.  I did get going with the morning rush hour crowd but my rush was heading west then south on highway 40 "where life begins".  I made it to the Upper Kananaskis Lake in time for shoreline shadow shots.  
I strolled the shore admiring the scenery.  It was not even mid morning yet and already an avalanche of snow occurs.  I heard it first, it was thunderous, and then I zoomed in on it.  It is surprising how what looks like a small amount of snow can make such a roar.
After getting some exercise, I came back to my car then set up my breakfast site.  
It was time to move on down the road.  I made the short drive over to the Interlake Parking Lot and went for another shoreline stroll.  This is the springtime scene with ice breaking up.  There were a few vehicles in the parking lot and I assumed they were probably over at The Point Backcountry Campground.
The sights so far were splendid and there was still more to see.  On the way up to Kananaskis Village I stopped on the side of the road to capture this photo of the Kananaskis River.  It is dry in this region as you can see from the river level.  Snow run off should help increase the depths.
It was nearing noon and I was feeling for food.  My intentions were to dine at Wedge Pond by a fire.  The entrance to Kananaskis had a billboard that showed the fire rating at high.  No fire today.  It seems early in the year to have a rating of high already.  I arrived at Wedge Pond and my favourite spot was vacant.
I set up my lunch site.  
A few days back I made turkey chili for the first time and froze single size portions. My Trangia worked like a charm.  In about 8 minutes my turkey chili was thawed and hot. I had a selection of crackers and pretzels to pair with it.
Now satisfied from lunch it was time to relax, take a load off, just lounge about.  Enter to the scenario, my hammock, the perfect place to just hang out.  It swayed every so slightly, just enough, to sway me into sleep.  I did end up having my bear spray beside me just in case, along with a book with intentions of reading.  The reading never happened,  
Forty minutes later I packed up, it was time to move on down the road again.  Even though I have driven by Mount Lorette Ponds a multitude of times over the years I have not taken time in those years to invest time in admiring them.  I did check them out a couple of times but that seems like a lifetime ago.   
The ponds put on a spectacular show!
It was so pretty and so peaceful.
The colors were amazing today.  
When I am out sightseeing on Highway 40 "where life begins" I like stopping by Barrier Lake for a bit to admire the views there.  Access is closed until June 29th while construction is taking place.  Today was definitely the day to be out doing what I did in Kananaskis.  All those household chores are still there for me to attack another day.  Maybe I will stay home on Saturday seeing as there is snow in the forecast!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Grass Pass Boundary Pine Loop April 22, 2019

We were long overdue to share a day being "out & about" in our mountain playground.  I put a shout out to Happy Hiker to see if she was keen to head off into cowboy country to refill our hearts and souls with joy.  Back in 2012 we dropped by to see The Boundary Pine after visiting Grass Pass and some of those Bull Creek Hills.  This time around I suggested we complete a loop coming off the back side where The Boundary Pine is and then venture down into that bowl.  This would be new to her and we agreed to make this our plan for the day!  

After checking all conditions before heading out the door, I knew we would be in for some wind gusts.  I parked as close to the trail head as possible and ran with all my gear into the trees to I could safely gear up without my gear blowing away.  We got the business out of the way of getting up that trail to where the views would begin.  We had no snow, no ice, no mud which meant no spikes and no gaiters. 
The winds were wilding up!
(I made up that word)
To get clouds like this, there has to be wind!
I had hoped for crocuses on the way up to Grass Pass.  We saw one lonely one that had just been born.  I had to focus on something and then the clouds began to show off and capture my attention.  I have this thing for clouds and they sure did it for me today.
We checked out Holy Cross and Mount Head and then went up slope to where we began the traverse over to where The Boundary Pine stands tall.  Today is Earth Day and today we needed to become one with our earth.  On the stretch from over there to over here, at times we had to hunker down to the ground or else we would be "off the deep end" and "never meet the ground"!  Once we got into a few trees I looked back to get this photograph of the clouds and the mountains.
The Boundary Pine

We captured our above photos after we dined.  We had hiked down slope on the backside to get well into a clump of trees for at least a little shelter from the wild wicked wind.  We settled in there for a little while and chatted up a storm.  At least now we did not have to yell at each other to be heard.

a view looking over to the Bull Creek Hills
Thank you to Happy Hiker for this photo.  
We followed along the edge of the ridge looking for a more scenic and fun way to get down.  
I like the crazy trees up in this neck of the woods.
the gate that opens to the bowl
So it was back in this bowl where all the crocuses were!  For today's crocus captures I focused up real close trying to protect them from the wind as I pressed the button.  The majority were singles with a random pair scattered far apart.
We geared down and took time to be silly.
It was still wildly windy but at least it was a bit warmer.  I was in desperate need to quench my thirst after all the silliness.  Thank you Happy Hiker for this photo.  She mentioned when she took it something about a frame, so now I see what she meant.
Time had come to get down the last stretch to the raod.  We meandered, all the while still admiring crocuses as we went.  We reached he bottom, scampered through the sparse aspen forest then walked the road back with the wind whipping around us.
We stopped in at Tim's in Black Diamond and savoured a hot one while sitting by the fire.  
We still had topics of conversation to cover so ended up spending close to an hour relaxing.  
I had such an enjoyable day.  Yeah, that's my kind of Monday!   

our route for today

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Cox Hill Almost + Odd Ridge April 21, 2019

In the past I have said that's it!  I have declared never again!  I have stated I'm done with this place!  Yet, I go again!  Today I went again!  At the end of today I thought to myself I don't ever need to go back here!  But I know I will hike up there again!  Today we decided on hiking up to Cox Hill.  I have been many times in the spring and sometimes we make it to the top, other times we turn back.  Today we turned back!  
With a gorgeous day on hand, a friend contacted me to see if I was game to hit the hills.  I was keen for the shorter drive so we could be in the playground sooner and spend longer there.  The further up the Cox Hill Trail we hike, the deeper the snow became.  I was surprised at how much snow was still there!  Or should I be surprised, I believe I say I am surprised every time I am up here in spring.  
We agreed to assess the slope when we got to the opening to see if it looked user-friendly to ascend.  We agreed it did and went on our way.  The snow was packed with footsteps to follow.  We continued along the long switchback and then completed a straight up section and we turned right to continue on, we both stopped pretty much at the same time and decided this was not for us today.  With in a matter of a very short time the snow was becoming softer and not supportive on the slope.  Balls of snow had been rolling down.  We did an about face and got off the slope, then out to the meadow.
I don't think these are from the Easter Bunny!
We began to hike back and I felt disappointed.  This was not the first time I have been here in the spring when we did not go all the way to the top.  My mind was heading down in the dumps. We reached the view point and stopped there for an early lunch.  I acknowledged today was Easter Sunday.
It's Easter!
We discussed what to do.  I went into "save the day" mode.  We wanted more.  I wanted to feel like I accomplished something.  Even though we covered lots of kilometers and elevation gain already, it was not satisfying.  The views were beautiful and loads of great conversation took place, we were getting tonnes of fresh air and exercise, yet my mind was still in that unfulfilled place.
We conjured up a plan as we were reaching the end of the Cox Hill Trail and nearing the Dawson Parking Lot. Instead of heading to the Parking Lot and calling it a day, we hiked out to the Powderface Road and along it for a bit, to where we could see the slopes on the other side.  We found a spot where we could ascend up to a ridge.
We meandered through meadows, up more hills, through meadows and up even more slopes.  The views were quite nice.  It was hot, it was very dry up here, and by now my spirits were lifted.  This meandering, this bushwhacking, this route finding, was doing it for me.  Here is Moose Mountain right behind me and that is Cox Hill to the right.
My friend was eyeing Cox Hill being able to see the trail in the snow and was looking to see if she could see others on it.  She was game to continue exploring, so we went for it. 
We climbed a bit higher and found our way through the trees.  
We could see the turn off onto Powderface Road a way off over there.
From our highest point we spied an open meadow with structures.  We descended down off the ridge and worked our way over to the open space.  When we came out of the trees this was in front of us.  The coast looked clear and we curious as to what this was all about.
The signs stated this is where you cut down Christmas Trees on Saturdays and Sundays in December.  
This place must be used for other reasons.  There had been recent activity in the fire pit.  There was loads of freshly cut wood.  We sat on the logs around the fire pit to rest and had snacks. It was a beautiful day and we basked in its glory.
This was our view.
That's Cox Hill in the middle.
It was time to begin wrapping up our day.  For me, I now felt content.  This little add on and discovery did it for me.   In hind sight, did the day really need saving when we did not make it to the top of Cox Hill!  In hind sight, I realize I needed an attitude adjustment.  We left this meadow behind and I looked behind as we did.  The clouds that had developed were so pretty.  I like the little up and down cloud lines that are faintly visible underneath the big white cloud, to the right of that hill.
We left the meadow in a different place than where we entered it.  We could see the little dirt road would bring us out to Powderface Road.  We realized too when we got here the gate was locked.  We did what we needed to do.
A mere few minutes after leaving the meadow, the Conservation Officer drove along.  
By this time though we were walking along the edge of Powderface, good timing.  
After a short stretch along here we were back at the Parking Lot gearing down.
My attitude was adjusted, my spirits lifted, I was happy & content.  
Truly I am grateful for  every single second I am afforded the opportunity to be "out & about".