simato in Calgary is doing 16 things including…

Hike and backpack as much as possible

9 cheers

 

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simato has written 17 entries about this goal

Opal Ridge

This time we hiked up to Opal Ridge in Kananaskis Country.
We did not hike all of its length because the ridge is sharp and had snow and some ice, so we only went as far as it was safe.
The ascent was relentlessly steep, but it was fun. The day was warm for this part of the year, and it would have been very nice if it were not for the wind, which was fierce although not cold.
This is one of the warmest places in KCountry, south facing as it is.
This and the chinook wind clear it of the snow for many months, making the area very good for seeing bighorn sheep and mountain goats, with some luck. We were very lucky yesterday, and saw 5 of the latter, 3 adults and 2 lambs. We approached from above and got 30 meters away before they moved away. I had never seen mountain goats that close. They are beautiful, whith those long, white hair, and black pointy horns.
It is worth trying the ridge again next June, and go down from Grizzly creek canyon, on the opposite side. That should be the right time, when the snow has just disappeared and everything is full of flowers, later that place must turn into a furnace…



COOOL...

Yesterday we gathered a fairly large group to meet the requirements for bear safety and hike to Wenkechemna pass (Lake Louise area).
After the junction between Sentinel Pass and Eiffel lake trails the snow started to increase and by Eiffel lake we had to break the trail in calf-deep snow.
After the lake in some places it became even deeper. We abandoned the trail, close to avalanche shutes, and made for the path of least resistence, the same choice made by some animals. We met old tracks of a grizzly and her cub, and we were guided up the last, steep slope (thigh deep snow) by the FRESH tracks of a lonely grizzly, that was clearly bleeding frow one paw. We went on to the pass, despite the (rather remote) possibility that it could be lurking behind some bumps, and from there admired on one side the valley of the 10 peaks in all its length, and on the other the deep Prospector’s Valley, that connects to the O’Hara region through Opabin Pass. Very beautiful.



Taylor Lake

A hike below timberline at the end of the season. Lots of mud and snow (in places both at the same time!).
A 6.5km ascent, not too steep, in the middle of uninspiring wood with no views whatsoever. The lake was nice, it must be admitted, but is was a poor reward for the effort.
Anyway, the lake is set in a steep cirque, and encircled by a mixed wood of spruce and larches, which were still having their beautiful yellow leaves. Pity it was cloudy (with flurries) and all the colours dull.
Also, continuing to O’Brien Lake as we had planned was impossible because the trail is faint in ordinary conditions, and the snow and boggy ground underneath it made it completely impossible to follow.



Citadel Pass

On Sunday, 25/9/05, we (David, Jessica, Judy and me) hiked from Sunshine Village to Citadel Pass. We had to pay for the shuttle but it was worth as it cut 6.5km of road, and 500m elevation gain.
The morning was promising, the sky sunny and the air crystal clear.
We ventured on the trail into the alpine meadows, covered by a thin layer of fresh snow, cooled by a soft chilly breeze.
Soon Mt Assiniboine was visible, as close as I have ever seen it. All the mountains around were snow capped, and the larches yellow.
It does me good to see such beauty and breathe that cool clean air.
We had our lunch at Citadel Pass, then hurried back to catch the last bus.



Floe Lake/ Numa Pass

This has been my first hike in Kootenay, I don’t know why I did not go there before.
The hike to Floe lake is the forst leg of the famous backpacking trip to the Rockwall, an awesome, sheer wall of rock, that runs for 35 km almost uninterrupted by gaps. Floe lake is very beautiful, especially now that the larches are yellow. Pity that the weather was very cloudy, windy and cold. We have nonetheless continued to numa pass and then up the rigdge to the right (east), to a flat summit giving excellent views of Mt Temple and the 10 peaks above Moraine Lake, Mt Ball, Mt Assiniboine and the Goodsir Towers.
A very long day, but worth the effort.



Unimpressed by Revelstoke

On Labour Day we hiked to Eva Lake (Revelstoke Nat. Park, BC).
I was unimpressed by the scenery, I find the Rockies as a lot better. Maybe the weather was not helping, but I doubt my impression would be much different if we had hiked on a sunny day.



Paget Peak

On the Continental Divide, between Yoho and Banff. A nice short hike to a place with views from Mount Balfour to Mount Temple, Lake O’Hara region just in front, a glimpse of the Goodsir Towers…
very nice. Excellent weather, great company. :-)



The Iceline

Yesterday we hiked the Iceline in Yoho Nat. Park (BC).
I had hiked it last year, but it was under uninterrupted pouring rain. This time the day was ideal, so we went to the end and continued to Kiwetinok Pass. Overall 27 km, a very long and beautiful day. Certainly a preemier hike, but we have been spoiled by Caldron Lake on the previous Sunday. That now has set the standard, and it will be very difficult to do a hike as beautiful and exciting.



Caldron Lake

This has been one of the best five hikes since I am in Canada.
Caldron lake is hidden above the famous Peyto Lake on the Icefield Parkway, northern Banff. Few know about it, and reaching it is not easy: you have to negotiate sloping rocks in a treacherous canyon, then climb a steep moraine and slippery, exposed scree slopes. But the reward is beyond imagination.
Beyond the lake, of an incredible shade of blue, ridges, moraines, glaciers and peaks begging to be explored.
We have been blessed by a sunny, breezy warm day, almost too hot.
Everything has been just perfect.



Sunday, Smuts Pass

Yesterday I hiked with two friends to Smuts Pass. A very nice hike, not too long or tiring, to a spectacular place, the Birdwood Lakes, two small lakes surrounded by steep mountains (Smuts and Birdwood) and three passes, two of which are nameless (the third is Smuts Pass). The interesting thing about the cirque and the lakes is that the water cannot flow out. There is an underground drainage.
The day was fantastic, blue sky with rolling white clouds, pleasant temperature of 8 to 15 C and a nice cool breeze (sometimes turning into a chilly wind). I took tons of photos and can’t wait to see them developed.
Also, on the way back we saw a fantastic bull moose grazing in the boggy meadow. It was not disturbed by the many humans waching him, so I could sit there for half an hour, until I finished my rolls. The light was very good, intense and warm, and that allowed me to use the polarizer on my telephoto to cut reflexes from the leaves and saturate all colours.



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