Monday, August 19, 2013

The Hat-Trick Weekend

Wow, the past seventy-two hours has been nothing but outdoor fun!! Yeah!!

It all started Friday, with Sheila, Shawn and I hiking up Read's Tower. Now from the road, it honestly doesn't look like much - a basic buttress of rock, overshadowed by nearby Sparrowhawk and Bogart. And as we were approaching it, I was even beginning to feel a bit sheepish, because I was the one who suggested it and now it was appearing to be quite boring looking.

However, boring it was not! Turns out the entire trail is virtually straight up, with a beauty view of the Spray Valley (which keeps your mind off the steepness!), and the scree slope leading up the tower is littered with amazing fossils! It was a great hike and we had tons of laughs - ask Sheila about the barking 'bear' we encountered sometime.

Of course on Friday night, Sheila outdid herself and cooked us a most fabulous supper.... so we were all fuelled up and ready to go on Saturday morning to The Devil's Thumb.

Talk about a perfect choice of hikes to do on a busy day at Lake Louise! We had the place to ourselves and enjoyed a peaceful lunch while looking down at the crowds below. It was fantastic!

And Sunday, well Sunday was the most awesome girls' day I've had in a long time! Sheila, Caroline, Linda and I giggled our way up Mount St. Piran, and we then lolly-gagged on the sunshiney summit for the better part of the afternoon. I love those ladies and I can't wait to get together with them again! Too much fun!!

Now I have a few more hours of work, and if I'm lucky I'll score some wicked BBQ ribs and homemade cheesecake (Shawn?! LOL!) before I head north. I am super excited to check out the Yukon, and if you don't hear from me until September, don't be alarmed.... there is no internet access or cell service.... but I'll post as soon as I'm back to the real world.
Shawn was here!!
Have a fantastic couple of weeks everybody! Play safe!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thereisienwiese, here we come!

And.... the European Vacation is booked! First stop - Oktoberfest!! Yeah baby!

I've been thinking I'd like to check out the world-famous beer festival for quite some time now, and this year I decided to just do it. Life is way too short to put things off.... and you know me.... when have I ever been one to not do exactly what I want!?  LOL!

So.... On October 3rd, we fly into Frankfurt, where we pick up a rental car and begin the whirlwind tour. On the agenda of course is Munich, and from there (after recovering from an inevitable overindulgence of Lowenbrau) it will be a free-for-all! No set itinerary is in place, but hopefully the sights of Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, France, and maybe even Luxembourg and Belgium (mmmmm chocolate!!) will fill our days. I can't wait!!

For now however, I have many, many kilometres of hiking to enjoy. This weekend I have plans to spend more amazing outside time in the Rockies, and I leave next week for a backpacking trip in the Yukon. Then my Sister is coming mid-September for a visit - yaaayyyy! I am so excited to see her! - and shortly after that, I will be packing for Europe.

It really all comes down to there being so much to do and so many places to go in this world, but so little time. **SIGH**  Gotta make the most of every minute!!


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Giraffes, wolves, and other mountain madness....

Caroline: "So, when people ask you what you did today, what are you going to say?"
Cheryle: "Well, today I stuffed a giraffe's foot into a crying baby's mouth."

True story. I did. But.... I think it will make more sense when I tell you how that all came about....

I love the Rockies, and I love hiking - especially traverses or loops, where you don't travel the same path twice. And recently, while googling I don't know what, I stumbled across a cool blog written by someone who has done tons of trails and who records the trips in amazing detail. A fairly recent post of his described hiking the Twin Lakes / Arnica Lake loop in a clockwise direction.... Which, if you read about it in any guidebook, is touted as a horrible, scenery-poor, sensory-depriving trudge.... However, the blogger's account was super positive, so since I've been into and out of the lakes a couple of times already, with Hwy 93 as both the starting and ending point, I thought I'd see if I could con a few friends into joining me on this random-blog-recommended, ass-backward variation of the circuit.

The "guinea pigs" - Caroline & Tim - thanks guys!!

Ummm, so far, the scenery is pretty nice!

Cool forest!

Meadows just before Lower Twin Lake.

Lower Twin Lake

Lower Twin Lake - pretty!

Upper Twin Lake
The Twin Lakes from Arnica Summit

Arnica Lake from Arnica Summit

Arnica Lake

As it turns out, it is a most excellent way to do this four-lake extravaganza! Beginning at the Altrude Creek trail is pleasant - the forest foliage is varied, the meadows are mucky but open and lush, and approaching Lower Twin Lake from its outlet is stunning! Upper Twin makes a good lunch spot, and then taking some time to enjoy the stellar views from Arnica Summit is a no-brainer. From Arnica Summit, it is mostly downhill, bottoming out at Vista Lake.... where we saw a small pack of wolves!!

If you look close, you can see a couple of them
on the log in the lower centre of the pic.

Hard to see - these pics were taken from across the lake.

The pack consisted of two grey wolves and three black wolves, including a pup. It has to be the single coolest wildlife encounter for me yet - so completely unexpected! What a joy to see!
Anyway. Back to the crying baby....
So. This morning, at my suggestion, the three of us rode in one vehicle to the trailhead. I figured that there would be so much Sunday afternoon traffic, for sure we could stick out a thumb and somebody would stop and pick up at least one of us, and give us a ride from our exit location to where the 4-Runner was parked. My hunch was correct... and a very nice little family let us hop in with them. I got to sit beside the cutest ever baby boy - who took one look at my sweaty face and IMMEDIATELY proceeded to wail. It was the full-on, top-of-the-baby lungs type of sob/scream, and nothing would calm him down. He was clutching some squeaky rubber giraffe, and from the front seat his Mom directed me to "just put one of the feet in his mouth, he loves it"..... So I did.
And there you have it. Today I stuffed a giraffe's foot into a crying baby's mouth. For the record, he did not seem to love it... Oy.
But my friends did seem to love the hike - we all agreed that the views, and the wildlife, and of course the company, made for a fantastic day! Life is soooo good!
18km later and everyone is still HAPPY!!