Thursday, January 30, 2020

Powderface & Prairie Creeks January 30, 2020

Having the time to live a life full of variety, my focus has been everywhere this past while!  I do know though that I gotta get gain to stay in the game.  This has not been a priority nor my focus.  To fill a few open morning hours I hit the hills out in the Elbow Valley region.  My intention was to reach Powderface Pass so that's where I aimed.   

The trail was hard packed so spikes were all that was necessary.  
I like the look of the sky and how the hills were lit.  
 passing through the gate
Many trees had come down recently and thankfully they were cut and moved to the side.  The trail was covered in needles and tiny twigs and was not the prettiest looking place.  I got lost in my thoughts and just motored along until love grabbed my attention.  I call this a nest full of love!
 Further in it prettied up!
 the sun beginning to peak above the trees
I reached the junction, Powderface Pass straight or Prairie Link & Creek right?  
Oh I'm fickle!  Just like that I opted out of the Pass....  
....and went for the sharp right!
From then on I just went for the finish which was still another eight kilometers and half more of the gain.  Back into the forest, once again there were many trees recently chopped and moved off to the side.  Back into the forest, once again the trail was covered in needles and tiny twigs.  A long uphill section of Prairie Creek Trail was sheer ice so spikes were my savior.   I completed the loop!

Got my gain now on with the day!    

Monday, January 27, 2020

Bow Valley Provincial Park Trails January 27, 2020

It's seven years later now and Happy Hiker and I orchestrated a do again day of a day we did back then!  This time around we knew we would be in for a much, much warmer experience and we hoped for no animal encounters during this outing.   We are much wiser now and would know what to do if we did have one.  We arrived to this view from the parking lot near Middle Lake in Bow Valley Provincial Park.  It was pretty right from the get-go.  
Middle Lake was a sheer sheet of ice!
We meandered off and on trails finding sections that were snow-free.
At times though we could not avoid the snow and spiked our way through it.  It was quite a photographers' dream today which made it a slow go.  It seemed like every minute or so it was time to "remember to breathe".  Even the little things were so beautiful they looked larger than life, just like these three trees that were three feet tall.
It was time to carry on to Many Springs Lake.
Thankfully a parks truck had been here in days prior creating a packed track for us.  
Many Springs Lake with open water.  
At the edge of the Lake we could see the springs bubbling.
view from the bridge leading to the Bow River
We arrived at the Day Use area which is only accessible on foot at this time of year.  
The river ran but it did not runneth over like it did near the town of Cochrane.  We were able to get down to the shore to admire the ice formations.  This sheet of ice was thick and was hanging over the edge of the bank.  It appeared to be suspended in air.  I was able to get under the very edge of it to capture this perspective of it pointing to Mount Yamnuska.
This is looking up towards the sky from underneath the edge of the ice.
I see things!  
Here I see an angel soaring in front of the rock. 
Her face is downward and her shoulder length hair is blowing behind her.  
Do you see what I see?
ice chunk imitating a mountain peak
(if you can believe it, I have been told I do not have an imagination)
At times I became one with the ice.  That was the case as I tried to capture all the bubbles in the ice.  Laying down and positioning my camera, this was the best I could do.  There were tonnes of bubbles that were blended together and not as defined as I have seen elsewhere.
What an incredible view we had with the sun shining on the ice and the blue sky reflecting in it.
Once again I became one with the ice.  
This is a close up view of one of the cracks in the ice.  
You can see many cracks in the above photo.
Time was passing and it was time for us to move on to the campground to settle for snacks at a picnic table in the sun.  This is the route we followed to the campsites.  We liked the view we had that showed us others had been here on days gone by.
We enjoyed dining in the warmth from the sunshine so lingered a little long savouring it.  
We still had places to be and sights to see.  
Next was a stop at the amphitheatre.  
From here we made our way along the moraine and then back to the car.  Time was on our side and we decided to check out the Flowing Water trail which was on the opposite side of the 1a. It was a very short drive there and we were back out hiking in a matter of a few minutes.  As it turned out this portion of the trail was covered in deep snow with no obvious trail whatsoever.  Instead of attacking that, we spiked through the camping area.
view of the Kananaskis River
which was a massive ice field
looking down at the Kananaskis River from the trail
We decided not to do the entire loop because it was getting late in the afternoon and it would take for ever to beat a path through the deep snow.  We returned through the campground along the same route we went in on.  By now the sun was low.
We worked our way back out to the entrance where all the parks buildings are and which are closed for the season.  I am assuming these bikes are here to hibernate for the winter.  From here we had a few more minutes on dry pavement back to where we started.
The only thing left to accomplish was a visit to Tim's for a tea latte and biscuit with even more chatting and chuckles.  After today's hike, we now have new memories to carry forward from this area.  Even though, we will never forget that wolf encounter seven years ago out here.  So what do you say Happy Hiker...let's mark January 2027 in our calenders to hit these trails again!   Yet, in the mean time I look forward to more Happy Hiker Making Waves adventures!  Thank You for today!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Fairview/Moraine/Tramline/BowRiver X-C Ski January 23, 2020

As today went on one word worked its way to the forefront of my vocabulary and that word was "dreamy".  I joined up with my Thursday friends to spent the day gliding all over the place on groomed tracks around the Lake Louise area.  I spent a few days here two weeks ago but I can never get enough of this beauty so I went back for more.  Today we were afforded one of those one-wayers which meant starting up top and ending down bottom.  We followed Fairview to Moraine to Tramline to the Village then included a big portion of the Bow River Loop.  The whole way was "dreamy".

We were greeted with a thin layer of brand new snow all underneath a blue sky.
The Fairview section of X-C Ski Tracks is my favourite.  
I glided along following a friend through the winding snow laden tree lined maze.
 arriving at the meadow section...
 ...and then skiing through it.
 A bit of cloud hoovered around for awhile which was a tease of the mountain views.
The conditions for snowplowing down the steeper sections was the best I have ever experienced.  
The last little downhill here popped us out onto the Moriane Lake Trail.  
 my ski stop shot
We glided down to the Tramline and followed it the whole way back to the train station. We then skied a portion of the Bow River track which took us back to the edge of Lake Louise Village and we walked the balance of the way to the Discovery Center.  This was the perfect place to sit inside on a comfy sofa to enjoy our lunch.
 We are inside in behind all that ice and snow.
With time on our side after lunch, we headed over to another starting spot of the Bow River Loop and and tacked on a few more kilometers of "dreamy" X-C Skiing.   It was at this point when my right ski began to stick every now and then, thankfully I was able to keep control and avoid any face planting.
 just gliding along
 view from the bridge as we exited the soft-sided section of the campground
 Something as simple as this and I need to stop to offer some admiration!
 beautiful blue + wonderful white = "dreamy"
 We removed our skis, crossed the road and had a short up hill walk back to Lake Louise Village.
We all raved about what a gorgeous day it was at our Lake Louise playground.  
Looking around at my friends, all I saw were the biggest brightest smiles.
Yes, we are fortunate to have all this "dreamy" beauty so close to home!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Glenbow Ranch Fire & Ice January 21, 2020

I am overdue for being out & about while a new day is dawning!  The dawnings the past few days have been incredible and I had faith today's would be too!  I also found a source that said the Bow River near Cochrane is nothing but a massive ice field.   So, you gotta know where I went this morning,  Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park where it was a fire and ice show!
The crescent moon was still high in the sky when I arrived.
This time around I aimed for the viewpoint just past the turnoff for Tiger Lily.
From there I watched the show.  
The colors were as I hoped they would be.   
framing the colors
you can see a trail bottom middle
I was being watched as I was watching!
When I thought the show was fading, I carried on along down the trail watching my footing as the path was covered in a thin layer of frost, which was pretty on its own.  When I looked up a few minutes later, there was an encore taking place.
I reached the bottom of Tiger Lily and as the oranges were turning to pink.  
 from east to west there was color exploison in both directions
The sun was up but it had not warmed up.  I was at the valley bottom now and it was bitterly cold.  I still had ground to cover so covered it quickly to keep warm.  All the while on my way to the Bow River, the helicopeters were in taking off and landing training.
with so much sun of course there were lots of shadows
By the time I reached the river the sun was on it and it made for wonderful lighting for taking pictures.  Each tree had a layer of ice wrapped around it which was up to a foot or two high.  These trees were not that close to the river which shows how far the ice pushed the water in land.

The river was a field of ice!  As far as the eye could see there were wild and crazy ice formations.  It was pushed up onto the land so I did not have to venture far to see it up close.  Some formations were like lace.  I like how the sun reflected and created stars.  Also, I think I see an ice bird on the far right!  Do You?
the ice, the sky, the whispy cloud, oh so dreamy
This chunk of ice created by Mother Nature is like a pillar of strength!
This piece is about two feet tall.
I spent about an hour by the river doing nothing but admiring the ice formations and capturing their beauty.  At times I was laying down being one with the ground to capture different perspectives, all the while the two helicopters were flying over top doing their training loops.  I wondered if they saw me and if they wondered what the heck I was doing. 
I could have spent another hour down by the river.  I did not hike a very long stretch of it, the ice was so close, so compacted, piece after piece after piece all right there.  I felt so full of fulfillment, my stomach was growling,  I was chilled to the bone, it was time to go home.  With a few kilometers to go to get back up to my car, I just put her in overdrive and got up there.

today's 11km route