Monday, August 31, 2009

Yummy Yam!

What a scorcher of a day!! There is still not a cloud in the sky, and I believe the temps reached somewhere around 30 degrees C today in the Bow Valley! Whew!! I couldn't bear the thought of NOT doing something outside today, so I stopped on my way out to Canmore from Red Deer this morning at Yamnuska, to do the Yamnuska Traverse. How fun! I wasn't exactly equipped in my usual gear, however I was able to scrounge some shoes and a pack from the basement in Red Deer - so I didn't have to drive all the way to Canmore and then backtrack. Ha ha! Neither of which will ever be the same! The descent from the peak involves some major scree slopes, and 'skiing' the scree kicks up a ton of fine, limestone powder... which has now permanently whitened the said shoes and pack!! Oh well.
Also, at the base of the east ridge, I was super fortunate to catch up to two fine gentlemen from Calgary, who have done the traverse on many occasions. Larry and Jerry are avid hikers - having hiked everything from Alaska's Chilkoot Trail, to the East Coast Trail in Newfoundland, to trails down into the Grand Canyon. They kindly let me tag along with them, which I'm sure saved me many a route-finding error. Thanks again fellas! It was great to have such friendly folks to enjoy the day with.
I just noticed my face is a little sunburned... but tomorrow is supposed to be a bit cloudier, so with some SPF 50 and a hat, I should be good to go! Go where, you ask?? I'm not sure yet. Guess I better get out the guidebooks and decide on something!

Yamnuska Traverse (east to west)
Time (car to car): 4-1/2 hrs
Distance: ~9km
Elevation Gain: 900m

Friday, August 28, 2009

Black Feather Canyon

Yesterday we hiked up to a crag called Black Feather Canyon, near Lake Minnewanka. It was awesome! There was nobody around, and the rock was great! I would definitely like to go back sometime, when I'm actually feeling in the mood for climbing. I'm not sure what my problem is lately, but I'm definitely more obsessed with hiking and scrambling. Although I guess it's not really a problem... since there could be many worse things in the world for me to be directing my attention to... heh heh... But since we will be doing some relatively serious climbing in Australia, I should probably try to shift my focus a bit for the next few months. We'll see how that goes...??!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Yes, FINALLY I made it out to Lake O'Hara! I've been wanting to go there for years, and I've made many attempts to book a bus ride and I've even stopped out there on the fly a few times to see if I could ride standby... and yesterday was my lucky day!
I could not believe how beautiful it was! And the day itself was stellar - not too hot, no clouds, and of course very few people! I did a big part of the Lake O'Hara Alpine Circuit, which I highly, highly recommend - I started on the Wiwaxy Gap trail, then took the Huber Ledges trail over to Lake Oesa, then went up to the Yukness Ledges trail and took it around to the Opabin Plateau, dropped down and went to Opabin Lake, then stayed on the West Opabin trail and hooked up with the All Souls Prospect trail, which dropped down to Schaffer Lake, then took the Big Larch trail back to the ACC hut / Le Relais day shelter area. This route takes you up high, and to say the views are spectacular is an understatement!! I had such a fantastic day!
Today T-Odd, B-Rad and myself are heading into Blackfeather Canyon for some sport climbing, then I have to go back to Red Deer for my final stretch of dayshifts before another two weeks off! At which time my sister will be visiting me!! Yeah!! I am excited to see her and get her out onto some of the trails in our amazing Rockies!
Life is great! Cheers!

Lake O'Hara Alpine Circuit (except for McArthur Pass)
Time (bus to bus): 6-1/4 hrs
Distance: ~11km
Elevation Gain: 825m

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Land Down Under

Yeah!! We're booked!! Todd and I are heading to Australia, we depart November 7th!! Can you tell I'm excited??!! We've been discussing ideas for our fall trip for a few months now; many destinations came up, and since we have some friends who will be there at the same time, we decided on Melbourne. Climbing and kiting are on the activity list - we'll be travelling between Melbourne and Adelaide, including Mt Arapales, in a camper van. How fun will that be!! Eeeek!!! I can hardly wait!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Beehives and teahouses!

Quite the combination, hey! That's pretty much what yesterday amounted to... the morning started out a little less than sunny... but my friend Lynn and I headed out to Lake Louise anyhow, in hopes that the clouds would burn off and we could do some hiking. Our perseverence paid off (and I'm sure Lynn's sun dance helped out!) and by 9:30, we were on the trail.
I must say, the loop we followed turned out to be my new favorite scenic hike! The views were amazing pretty much every step of the way, and I highly recommend it! However, it really should be done in the order we did it - I noticed in a couple of guidebooks it is suggested to do the route (or part of it) starting at the opposite end. One word on that: ICK!! Anyway, here is what we did:

- Chateau Lake Louise to Mirror Lake
- Mirror Lake to Little Beehive (do not go to teahouse first)
- Little Beehive to Lake Agnes Teahouse
- Lake Agnes Teahouse to Big Beehive lookout
- Big Beehive lookout to Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse (via Highline Trail)
- Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse to Abbott Pass lookout
- Abbott Pass lookout to Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse
- Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse to Chateau Lake Louise (via Lakeshore Trail)

The only trail which required backtracking was between the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse and Abbott Pass lookout. The entire day was stellar!
Today we got rained out... we had aspirations of quickly zipping up Ha Ling Peak or West Wind Pass before we had to leave for Red Deer... but the Spray Lakes valley was filled with clouds and precipitation. So... they'll have to wait until the next time.
Back to work tomorrow for SEVEN... count 'em SEVEN... shifts! Eeek! Oh well. I'll survive. On the bright side, that means I have SEVEN days to plan for my next set of days off!! Yeah!

Lake Louise Teahouse / Beehive Loop
Time (car to car): 8-1/2 hrs
Distance: 20km
Elevation Gain: 800m (total - Little Beehive, Big Beehive, Abbott Pass lookout)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Rainy day fun!

My friend Lynn is in Canmore with me for the weekend, and we are bound and determined to get out and enjoy each and every minute of it... even if it means playing in the rain! Today, we woke up to heavy showers in Canmore, so we decided to drive west until we got out of it. Finally at Field, BC, the weather lightened up a bit, and that's how we ended up at Emerald Lake! It turned out to be a super day - we hiked the Emerald Lake loop and took a little side trip up to the base of the falls that are just below the pass heading over to Yoho Lake. Then we zipped up to Hamilton Falls, hopped back in the car and stopped over at Takakkaw Falls, drove back towards Castle Junction, and tripped up to Silverton Falls. I guess all the waterfalls were fitting... since it was raining anyhow! Oh yeah, and did I mention the SNOW!!?? All of the peaks between Field and Canmore are extremely white. ICK. Tomorrow we are hoping the clouds give way somewhat so we can do the Lake Agnes / Beehives / Plain of Six Glaciers loop out at Lake Louise. Although no matter what the skies bring, it will be awesome to be out in the mountains!

Emerald Lake Loop (with side trip to unnamed falls and Hamilton Falls)
Time (car to car): 3 hrs
Distance: ~9.5km
Elevation Gain: 150m