Monday, September 18, 2017

Just a walk.... a loonnngg walk....

I should have known, that once the option was out there, my tenacious, energetic friend Gillian would choose it....

Her plant is in a shutdown and she's been working long days, with only one day a week off. But that was not a deterrent yesterday, and what started out as plans to hike to Bourgeau Lake turned into "Wanna check out Harvey Pass? It's only 11:30.." and then "Should we just go for the summit? It's only a quarter to one..."  And that is how we ended up striding nearly 25km and ascending around 1500m, on a beauty Sunday in the Rockies.

The hike started out with us rocketing up to Bourgeau Lake, and since we whipped that off in about an hour and forty-five minutes, it seemed like a no-brainer to at least continue on to Harvey Pass.

Approaching Bourgeau Lake.

A beautiful alpine setting!

View of Bourgeau Lake on the way up to Harvey Lake.

Cute little Harvey Lake.

An unnamed tarn below Harvey Pass that makes it on the map.

Still a bit smoky - looking west from Harvey Pass.

The pass only took us another 45 minutes or so, and one thing led to another, and pretty soon we were churning our way up the scree slope to the top of Mount Bourgeau.

Another view of Bourgeau Lake!

The summit! What a view.

Popular place.

Summit selfie.

A bit hazy, but still a see-forever vista.
The Banff townsite is visible just above my shoe.

What a great day to be up high!

The sun was out but the breeze had that fall bite to it, so we only hung around at the summit long enough to snap a couple of photos and say hello to the others who were up there as well - an Aussie, a New Yorker, and two Swiss visitors. I was wearing everything I brought with me except my down jacket as we reversed our tracks and began the 12-plus kilometre jaunt back to the car.

Now, the toe-jamming descent!

Another tarn at Harvey Pass that makes it on the map.

A nice treat along the tightly-treed lower part of the trail.

We left the parking lot at 9:40am and returned at 5:05pm, so all in all we were pretty darn quick - we cranked this one out in just under 7-1/2 hours, car-to-car. The last time I did this trail (in 2009!) I logged it at 8-1/2 hours... so for me to shave off a whole sixty minutes, when I'm nearly a decade older (but obviously not wiser!) is substantial, in my books anyhow. Of course a huge thanks goes out to Gillian, who is a machine and doesn't cut me any slack.... LOL!

The Wenkchemna Pass larch-fest is still on this fall's hit list, as long as the weather holds out over the next few weeks. Until then....


Tuesday, September 12, 2017


1. small, loose particles of stone or sand
2. courage and resolve, strength of character
1. clench (the teeth), especially in order to keep one's resolve when faced with an unpleasant or painful duty
2. move with or make a grating sound


This is seriously the word of the month! I'm not gonna lie - September so far has been nothing short of gritty, from every angle.

To start with, making my way out to and spending time in one of the most desirable (read: insanely busy!) mountain towns in Western Canada, on the final long weekend of the summer, required major grit (verb, 1.). I am proud to report that I made the drive without using any curse words. Beyond that, well, no comment.... LOL!

Next, my friend Sheila endured an unfortunate and traumatic incident just prior to said long weekend, which I'm sure will be testing her impressive grit (noun, 2.) for the foreseeable future. But being she is as solid as the Rockies, she insisted on keeping our play date and we had an excellent, much needed afternoon at West Wind Pass.

Then, my bestie Toni joined me for a couple of days, and in her usual good-natured fashion she allowed me to drag her around the cluttered mountain trails... which at times did cause her to behave with moderate grit (verb, 2.). She fared awesome on the hikes, but there were stretches where I know she definitely questioned WTF were we doing and why she was my friend... Haha....

And most recently, my co-worker Gillian gave in to my whining about my bucket list, and she graciously slogged through rain and snow with me on an overnight trip into an alpine hut - which in itself was an exercise in all of the definitions of the term!

Grit. It might actually be my new favorite word. And here are examples of it, in pictures.

West Wind Pass, with Sheila....

What a trooper! Sheila, you are one strong girl.
Love you my friend!

Lake Louise, with Toni.....

Toni! She wasn't mad at me at this point....
but check out her gesture in the pic below....

Temple, in the haze.

Stanley Glacier, with Toni.....

I probably don't have to say it....
my favorite mountain!

Are we having fun yet??!

If I didn't stay this far away from her, I'm sure
she would have punched me.... LOL!

Almost at the basin....

Made it! And.... we're friends again!

It's all down hill from here....

There are few places I'd rather be!

Can you see the up-track? This is where Toni hated me the most.

Sweet view on the way down.

Lake O'Hara / Abbot Pass (via Wiwaxy Gap), with Gillian....

Ummm... Not exactly a prime
way to start the day!

But we packed the gear, so we might
as well make the best of it!

Lake O'Hara

View from the Lake O'Hara Alpine Circuit.
Hint/Advice: Hike it clockwise!

Wiwaxy Peak and Gap in the background.

The beginning, of never-ending scree and rubble.

Still smiling, in spite of the rain and blistering wind!

The end, of never-ending scree and rubble!
Abbot Pass Hut - woot!

At the hut, looking down the approach slope to Lake Oesa.

Drying gear! A hut tradition.... LOL!

We witnessed an interesting chopper rescue of an injured climber.

The approach slope.... was covered in snow the next morning! D'oh!

Jerry the resident pack-rat paid me a visit in the night.

We're ready for the descent!

Slightly steep slope!

We made it down safely.

Next: Yukness Ledges

I never get tired of this view.

Me, in my happiest of happy places!

That is my month to date, and the fun and games (and grit!) shall continue this upcoming weekend. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, grit in the context of behavior is defined as "firmness of character; indomitable spirit." Psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth, based on her studies, tweaked this definition to be "perseverance and passion for long-term goals."

Either way, I'm a black-or-white, all-or-nothing kinda girl, and I am making the choice to stay out of the gray and hold out for the all. Developing true grit happens to be a bonus side effect from all of this! Yeah!