Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Lake Country a.k.a. K-Country

This past weekend, my friend Julie and I headed out into Kananaskis and enjoyed some lovely lake time. Not only was I excited to ogle three gorgeous alpine lakes, but the Galatea Creek trail was virtually destroyed in the flooding in 2013, so I was curious to see how it had changed since the last time I was up there (about 9 years ago!). The early morning weather was variable, and the clouds had opened up by the time we reached the parking lot, where we spent 30 minutes or so in the 4-Runner waiting out the rain. Le soleil finally peeked through though, and by 9:30 we made a break for the trailhead.

Mother Nature's devastation remains evident along the creek bed, however the incredible trail rebuilding efforts meant that the hiking was marvelous through the lush forest. The spa-like background sounds of Galatea Creek were mesmerizing, but of course the real eye candy began at Lillian Lake, which is as clear and deep jewel green as it ever was!

The west shore of this gem is where we stopped for lunch, and we quizzed out a fly-fisherman who was casting nearby. After nearly an hour of learning about belly boats and cutthroat trout while we ate and basked in the patchy sunshine, we continued on up to Lower and Upper Galatea Lakes.

This sign is slightly incorrect.... distance is more
like 2 km to the lower lake!

Lower Galatea Lake

Upper Galatea Lake

The day was absolutely fantastic - perfect temps, great company, stellar landscape.... The only caution I have for any of you who would like to check these lakes out is, for some unknown reason the distances shown on the trail signs (and in some guidebooks) are rather skewed. We had a GPS with us, and we cross-referenced with another party with whom we chatted upon our return to the parking lot.... the round trip ended up being almost 24km, including just over 8 km to get to Lillian Lake itself. So make sure you are prepared, that's all. The signage and various printed material leads you to believe it's only around 5.5 km to Lillian Lake - an understatement which really took its toll on some of the people we met along the way.


Monday, July 2, 2018

Field Days!

This past couple of weeks have taken me even further west, where I've stomped and scrambled around in the vicinity of Field, BC.

I signed up for one of the Burgess Shale hikes last weekend, and it was absolutely AWESOME. The Mount Stephen trilobite beds are a fascinating, protected area on the side of the mountain high above the townsite. The slog up to the fossil paradise is steep, and our wiry, spunky, informative guide David kept us entertained by feeding us bits of cambrian trivia the entire way. This is definitely a must-do for anyone interested in geology!

Next on the Yoho agenda was Paget Fire Lookout and Sherbrooke Lake. I've done this lovely wander a few times before, and a group of us from Canmore started out with the intent to check out a completely different trail.... but when we were overrun by the crowds at Plan A, we reverted to Plan B. B as in BEAUTIFUL.

The break from work has been fabulous, albeit not long enough.... it never is though.... *SIGH*..... I am hoping that this upcoming weekend holds more of the same, as the Rockies weather is looking great in almost every direction!


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Last Minute Excursion

I don't often spend money on my outdoor pursuits, especially when the activities take place in my own back yard..... However around noon on Saturday, I learned that I would be able to skip out of work early and not have to come back until Monday morning. So on a whim, I looked up an endeavor that I'd been curious about for quite sometime, and as luck would have it, one spot was available. By 4:00pm that afternoon I had booked myself in for a Sunday cruise up the via ferrata at Mount Norquay, and by 4:15 I was on the road to Canmore.

Now I'm not gonna lie, I went into this little adventure with fairly low expectations. I mean really - a relatively large group of people, following a guide, clipped into cables, using man-made hand and foot holds, etc.... I was prepared for it to be somewhat impersonal and maybe even a bit cumbersome. Honestly, I was mostly looking forward to simply being outside and getting my hands on some lovely Rockies limestone. Of course scrambling up to a high point has long been one of my favorite things to do, so the fact that this route ended on a peak was an added bonus.

Well let me just say that my presumptions were completely and totally one hundred percent incorrect. My expectations were blown so far out of the water I could hardly believe it! I did the Summiteer, which is the all-day version, and I absolutely loved every minute of it!

Beauty view of Banff from the Norquay Road.

And.... we're off!

The climbing starts right away.... no 'easing into it'.... LOL!

One of the cool obstacles!


Doing some 4x4-ing!

Don't look down!

Hanging bridge.

Slacklining.... sort of!

Lovely spot for lunch.

Did I mention that lunch was provided? Yum!

And the fun continues!

Nepalese bridge... the only obstacle we had to cross twice.

Summit view!

Look at that vista!

I had a most excellent time!

Time to head down - apre-climb
appetizers and beers were provided also!

The peeps in my group were fabulous - George and his brother Harry from the UK, Allan and his wife Allison from Atlanta, Richard and his kids Malcolm and Kirstin from Edmonton, and of course our witty, fun, friendly, competent and knowledgeable guide Robbie. The obstacles and the exposure of this cleverly laid out, iron path ascent were super rad, and the virtually perfect weather put the enjoyment factor off-scale high! I would definitely consider doing the other routes at some point - perhaps one of you will join me?