Saturday, October 22, 2016

Packers Pass October 22 2016

desire for a mere glimmer of hope

The forecast for our hike into Ptarmigan Lake and then on up to Packer's Pass looked ideal.  If you are in the know though, you are aware and go prepared for the exact opposite. We got that close to exact opposite as we started out, yet I held out hope for ideal and when we got that glimmer of it, my attitude changed and I was a much happier girl.  That glimmer came by way of a touch of blue.
I was happy to have a few friends on board who were game for a large day in a wintery wonderland  in one of my most favourite areas no matter what time of year.  Still autumn with winter so close I can almost taste it, I knew we would have some snow I was just not quite sure how much.  Much to my surprise we were knee and at times for some thigh deep in that sweet powder.
 After experiencing snow flurries along with dark clouds, it then opened up to some blue off and on over the next little while.  The ons were exactly when I wanted them to be.  For example, when we arrived on the other side of Boulder Pass at Ptarmigan Lake, there it was that glimmer of hope.
Thank you to the guys for breaking trail and finding the route with least snow and least resistance from Ptarmigan Lake all the way up to Packer's Pass.  Out in this open, it was cold, it was windy and it was tough work to get to our destination.
We made it!
This is my summit shot 
on Packers Pass 
in front of the Wall of Jericho
with Zigadenus Lake below me.
 The blue sky appeared when I hoped it would.
We had a short lunch break at Packer's Pass.  It was too windy and cold to stay for an extended period.  We refueled, we captured our memories and then made a beeline back down.  I lingered behind, admiring every little thing.  From the sun on the peak... the lonely little larch.
By the time we arrived back at Ptarmigan Lake, there was blue galore and it was feeling on the warmer side.  I took one last look back at the view before heading on to that big boulder.  You know that big boulder!
The Yoga Boulder!
It was time to work our way back down through Boulder Pass.  
The lighting was beautiful!
 Soon the bushes will be totally covered with that sweet powder.
We reached the intersection back by the Halfway Hut.  
It was very warm, we delayered, then headed for the forest for the long hike back to the trailhead.  
 We had views for quite some time.  We stopped along the way for snacks and also to check out all the fresh tracks of the cat-like kind.  There was obvious activity of chasing and catching so we did not linger around this area too long.  We had an amazing view of Mount Temple to end our day along this section.
I truly enjoyed being out in these conditions in this area with these friends.  I am ready to embrace winter and what it throws at us.  It always holds true and it did today, if you go prepared for anything & everything including an adventours spirit, you find that way to make the play date an awesome one!  Thank you for today!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Tombstone Lakes October 15 2016

is the

What a spicy day we had!

A destination to hike to that packaged together includes all that I am looking for these days is Tombstone Lakes.  I hoped for a little bit of snow, I dreamt for open water, I wished for stunning scenery and I wanted fun friends to share all this with.  I got it all and a variety of each to boot!   

view as we arrived at Elbow Lake
For the most part as we hiked beside Elbow Lake and along the Big Elbow Trail, the weather was a little on the wild side.  We experienced those 85km/hr gusts of wind that were called for and lots of cloud cover.  We pushed through that and as we neared the turn off for down hill the sky began to open up.
We met the Conservation Office as we were heading in.  He was on his way out from his home heading back towards Elbow Lake.  We conversed for a few minutes exchanging knowledge of the where-abouts of hunters.  He questioned us if we saw a solo hunter in the area, which we did not.  We stopped by the residence for a snack stop on the deck.
The weather was becoming quite lovely.  In one direction the sky opened up immensely.  We found the trail leading down to Lower Tombstone Lake and I was elated to see it fully opened and not iced over.  We hiked around it in calf deep snow to the far end.  This is the view from the far end looking back.
Then, only a few minutes later, a few meters higher, and a few meters further, we arrived at Upper Tombstone Lake.  What a variety of appearances of the lakes today.  Lower's Upper sister was totally frozen surrounded in snow and gray clouds.  Normally this would be an ideal spot for lunch.....
.....but I spied an upper ledge that had potential for views so we made our way up.  Over the rocks, through the snow, around the boulders, we arrived at the top with a grand view of the Upper Tombstone Lake below us.
my destination shot
We enjoyed lunch up here, then took care of capturing our group and individual photos.  I enjoyed being in this much snow.  It was a gradual introduction to the season.  I watched my friends work their way back down to the Lake.
We headed back the way we came except for hiking around the opposite side of the Lower Lake and then back out to the main trail.  From a winter wonderland at the Lakes to a gorgeous autumn day at the meadows, we were fortunate to have such a variety of terrain and scenery to experience.  We hiked through the Upper Tombstone Campground before heading back out to the main Big Elbow Trail.
enjoying the view
I kept looking back at the view behind us.  
That's where all the blue sky was.  
After that one final look back, it was time to keep focused in front and aim for Elbow Lake.  
The mountain view in front was amazing.  
We returned via the other side of Elbow Lake.  This time I opted to return on the trail that was right at the water's edge.  It afforded some pretty sights.  Here you have one Lake, with a variety of views from one side to the other.
After passing through the Elbow Campground where a few tents were set up for the night, we arrived back at the head of the Lake.  The few open spots of water made for a photographers delight.  We savoured the final views then hit the last kilometer downhill to the parking lot.
On the drive home, we needed to make a short stop.  I was admiring this cloud for part of our drive and when we made that quick stop, I hopped out to grab a shot.  This just added to the variety of scenes we saw today.
I sure do like it when all things fall into place in all the right ways.  
I loved that about today!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Nose Hill Park October 9 2016

This October weather so far is reminding me of the October when I moved here and that year on that day in Calgary went down in history for coldest and snowiest.  Both of those I truly do not mind, I learned how to embrace them and appreciate them for the beauty they do behold.  Today was no where near as fierce,  and once I saw the clouds disperse and blue sky appear, I quickly bundled up, headed out my door and toured around up on Nose Hill Park.  I had a few hours to fill.  

I like when the seasons meet & greet.
I knew Nose Hill could be dreamy today.
I bundled up but could have had more layers on, it was bitter with a bite.  
Right from the start, I knew I was in for a treat.  
With no direction or distance in mind, I just went, where the sky was bluer, where the ground was sparklier, and where my heart desired.  So up and down and around and up and over and in and down, I went.  
When the seasons clash, we are afforded beauty of a different sort.  This was a good opportunity to practise close up photography.  Ice was in abundance on every tree, on every leaf, on every trail, and my fingers were feeling like ice.
red & white
red & white & ice
We did not receive loads of snow but in the wide open spaces up on Nose Hill, thanks to the wind, the snow drifted.  I began to daydream and thought about SnowShoeing and X-C Skiing.  My hope is for a winter full of these joyful activities.
I also thought about drawing and painting and wondered could I create a piece that looks like this.  I took lessons many years ago but did not push forward with these crafts.  The interest was re-ignited while in Nova Scotia, but of creating beachy scenes.  I have the pencils, the paper, the paint, the brushes...let's see what this winter brings.
Deja-vu, if you are a follower and checked out last Sunday's post!  There we have those sparkly stars again.  Oh yes and today I got to get my being by water fix.  
I was feeling fulfilled with what I accomplished distance-wise and quite sure I had captured some treasures.  My feet were feeling cold and damp, and my fingers were near numb, I found the trail out and back and down and up and over and in and then back out to my car.
On this Thanksgiving Sunday, I have lots to feel blessed about and to appreciate.  

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Upper Kananaskis Lake Circuit Oct 2 2016

NOTE:  If you are a regular follower of mine you will notice the widget link lists on the left side are missing.  Blogger is aware of this issue and is working to restore them.  All my posts are still available through the monthly Blog Archive. 

With all of life's happenings, I am finally getting around to sharing my story from our hike around the Upper Kananaskis Lake on Sunday October 2nd.   I was still feeling at that sea level frame of mind and not quite ready to let it all go.  Yet, I knew I needed to work at getting my mountain legs back.  To solve that equation, I put two and two together and opted for hiking in the mountains around the biggest body of water I could think of.  Upper Kananaskis Lake is a favourite of mine for this time of year and hiking it would solve my problem.  

I was happy some friends were on board to share the beauty, the exercise and the fresh air.  
It was a crisp, cool, clear beginning to our day!
We idled somewhat along the early on portions but then motored through the forest.   For the first time for me since the flood, there were no sketchy sections to contend with.  The new bridges are all firmly planted in place.  The elevation level was low enough too to escape snow.  The weather warmed up as we came out into the open and with no wind we were afforded reflections.
We reached the campground and took a lengthy amount of time here to dine and explore the environs.  This was my lunch time view.  After feasting, we circumnavigated that peninsula in front of me which I had never done before.   We got to view the area and lake from a different perspective.
another reflection
It was colourful at the end of the peninsula.
Further down the trail, the views remained awesome.   I was happy some autumn shades were still in full swing.  When I got home and loaded up my shots from the day, I was surprised to see these little white sparkles in this tree.  When I looked closer they look like a bunch of little stars.   I am not sure what that is all about, but I like it a lot.  
me and my friends
With the warmth, the friends, the scenery, I could not help but think today was a like a gift.  I fully appreciated every second and sneakily tried to prolong the ending to our day.  One friend joined me in circling around another peninsula.  This place had it all, colors, water, mountains, reflections, and those clouds that I love so much.
lots of driftwood along the shore
autumn hues framing the forest
Just short of eighteen kilometers later, we had completed a full circle and arrived back at our vehicles.    We geared down then loaded the cars back up and hit the highway home.  Wildlife was distracting along with scenery on this day.  We waited while she took her time to cross the road.
I felt like I had my cake and was eating it too today!  To have a day like we did today, the second of October, in the Rockies, you gotta know one does not take this for granted.  Thank you for today's gift!