Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
But R and I do far off very well! This next destination was part of the few words of advice we received. It would be 3.5 km to Frozen Lake and this is where we made significant elevation, with parts of the trail being straight up. At times we were bent over leaning to the ground to maintain our balance and almost in a crawl-like posture to make progress up the side. At the end of the hard part the colorful larch trees spread apart and presented us with a most beautiful turquoise Frozen Lake at the base of Mount Fox. Mount Fox was named by John Palliser for a member of the Royal Geographic Society in the 1800's. The sun shone at times on the water to make it look sparkly and crystally! What a feast! Not only did we experience a feast for our eyes, what is a hike without a coke and two bite brownies!
Today I took a tumble and many stumbles. I came away with scratches and scrapes and a bent pole and without my camelbak sipper and pole baskets. I have no idea when along the route they went missing! We came away with the experience of a new adventure along a new trail, with a sense of peace and serenity never seeing another single soul during the whole six hours and thirty minutes. How often do you get to stand in two provinces at a split second in time! We did today! With only a map and R’s map reading skills and her great sense of direction, with a few words of advice, we were able to unbury a hidden treasure!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
This book is a keeper! "Sole Sisters" would make a great gift for "Soul Sisters" or any running friend for that matter!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
At 10:30 we hit the trail with the masses, only to stop about 15 minutes in to strip of a layer or two! I was already in shorts so just needed to ditch the fleece. The first couple of kilometers was a continuous climb, so slow and steady was the pace through the winding forest. Not much to see along this part of the trail other than backs and backpacks. I was already thankful for my new trekking poles! As we worked our way up, I could feel it warming up and checked my thermometer to see it reading +20 degrees already! Thank goodness it only got three degrees warmer than that as the day went on.
An hour later, the tall green trees opened up to a view of Larch Valley with the mountain view surrounding it. We stopped on a bunch of rocks by a bridge to dine and watch others trek past and watch others trek past and watch others trek past...you get my drift! Photographers had tripods set up working on that perfect shot. We even saw a couple of gals with their eisels set up and painting away!
It took about 30 minutes to wind our way up the "Z" making sure to always look back every now and then to feast on what lay behind and below! I could not believe the view once we made it to the top! Inside I felt emotional! It was another accomplishment for me, greater than what I have experienced in the past. Behind me was a view below of Paradise Valley. It truly looked like paradise! I was nervous walking out to this point but once again, the greater the risk, the greater the reward! We took turns standing on this rock to have our winner's shot taken!
I really didn't believe anything more today could be as beautiful until we took a detour on the hike back to follow a trail that would give us a bird's eye view of Moraine Lake with some of a few of the Ten Peaks in the background. The dots on the Lake turned out to be people in canoes. The water was the most amazing color of turquoise! What we thought was a clap of thunder or a plane turned out being an avalanche on the other side of the Lake, a very safe distance away!
After eight hours of hiking, I was pretty beat, my feet were tired and lazy, I had run out of water and was so glad for it to come to an end. There was agreement from all on this! There was so much to see today, nearing the end it was hard to take in any more sights or to even appreciate them as they should be appreciated! I took tonnes of photos and will look back often, it's a day I will relive over and over!
Today was topped off with a beer and burger in Banff! A beer never tasted so good! I devoured my burger and fries! I enjoyed being with the 12 others today who were all such nice folks. We shared many laughs and stories and most of all we shared in a fantastic hike that had beauty galore!
Friday, September 19, 2008
This will be my first time hiking in the Lake Louise area other than going up to the tea house. This is suppose to be "THE" time of year to do this hike as the larch trees are at their peak color! I hope to get some nice photos to share especially for my friends and family in Nova Scotia who are use to only seeing maple leaf colors this time of year. They say too, expect the trails to be busy.
It’s looking like there will be 13 of us! Safety in numbers and yes, 13 is a good number! The Lake Louise area hiking rule states no less than six in a group!
Will we be lucky...with great sights to see? Stay tuned!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
The heart, the spirit, another year younger!
Lady Bell, Ms M and I were a little late in our celebrating as can happen sometimes but these occasions are important enough we manage to work them into our schedules one way or another. This time, for the first time, we tried out Smuggler’s Inn for Sunday Brunch! Our waiter was a character, our booth was cozy, the fire place felt warm (although we did not need a fireplace today), the food delicious and plentiful, and as always, the company and conversation enjoyable!
We had a couple of hours to spare before heading to other commitments, and being such a gorgeous day, we felt a park-type stroll was in order and Carburn Park was the perfect place to do that on this day! It was busy with bikers and walkers, fishermen and picnickers, dogs and ducks. The leaves have started their process of changing colors and looked beautiful as the trees reflected in the water. We even saw a pirate ship floating about!
It’s always nice to spend time together!
I’m glad we had today to share!
Saturday, September 13, 2008
...and yes, there was snow!
We hit the highway at 8:15 knowing another group was doing Buller Pass and hitting the highway at 8:00. There is method to our madness! You see, we prefer others are on the trail before us to clear the way! With a bright clear blue sky, +2 degrees, not even a breeze, R and I reached the trail head shortly after 10:00. I shot this photo just as we are entering the forest.
After roughly two hours of gradual incline, it felt cooler, the trees opened up to present an open pass with snow covered mountains on either side of us with our possible destination straight ahead. We found a gigantic rock perfectly placed by an avalanche beside a partly frozen creek. It was time to relax in the sun and dine. We would need energy if we choose to ascend further. This was where I zipped on my pants bottoms. My friend R decided to remain bare legged as many others did who passed by us. Should we? Shouldn’t we? Do we dare? What if? Looking to our left, to what lay ahead, we agreed to at least investigate!
The trek out seemed long. The snow on the path had melted making it muddy at times. It was still pretty though, and the sun was warming up even more. It took another hour and a half to get back to the trail head. We knew we were close when we could hear vehicles and see the tree line open up. What a welcoming sound and sight!
Today confirmed "the greater the risk the greater the reward"! Here’s looking forward to more rewards!
Friday, September 12, 2008
According to Gem Trek Maps, Buller Pass is rated as a "strenuous day hike". The trail head is off the Smith Dorrien Highway (highway 742) near the southern part of the Spray Lakes Reservoir. This hike is listed as being a 14.9 km round trip with an elevation of 660 meters. Buller Pass will be my first Pass of this year’s hiking season. The trek promises subalpine meadows and alpine terrain, a mostly deciduous forest, creek crossings and spectacular views.
With a forecast of rain for the city of Calgary today, that could mean snow in the mountains. You have to go prepared for anything this time of year. Well, actually, when you go to the mountains, you have to go prepared for anything, any time of the year! What kind of hike are we in store for!
Sunday, September 7, 2008
The half marathon started 45 minutes before the 10km and the 5km so us halfers got the choice parking spots. In fleece and tear-a-ways, I walked around to loosen up, picked up my chip and took two bathroom breaks. Then back to the car for final preparations. I then seeded myself accordingly and waited for the gun! I couldn’t resist, a start photo! What a view ahead of us!
At 9:15 we were off! The first few kilometers were through downtown and throughout the townsite. We turned onto a pathway that followed the river and at times I felt like I was running in peoples’ backyards. This was a great way to see Canmore. I was paying attention to my walk breaks but not to the kilometer markers or my timing. I was engrossed in my surroundings. I felt enveloped in mountains! The first half was mostly flat, not so lucky for the second half. It was quite hilly, up and down, around, up again, up around and down and over and over and over...this felt like "rock n rollin". I just knew on the downhill I could make up time if I just open up and go with it. It was here, I was able to pick people off! Could all that mountain hiking be paying off? In this area, a bunch of people including three young boys were very generous with hi-5s. I participated and found myself getting high on hi-5s.
Around the 19km mark, I had a walk break, a few runners came from behind and overtook me. The photographer on the side, let them run by then aimed the camera at me and I heard click. I said "oh no, not during my walk break!"
The last couple of kilometers were going by quickly. I realized now that I was going to have a decent finishing time. To try and make it a more decent time, the competitiveness within took over and I began picking off those that picked off me. I finished strong and happy with my arms high in the air in victory, yet once again!
Having noticed Sarah at the start and along the route, I watched for her as she crossed the finish line. She was beaming bright, I could tell she had a good race too! Check out her race report. We caught up at the watering hole and made introductions. We chit chatted for a bit and took some photos. I then headed off to get some coffee, fruit, cookies and to hear the band play.
This was my fifth half marathon this year and it was my second best time on a course that was the hardest of them all. I will definitely sign up for this one again. But right now, I am excited for the Half Marathon in Kelowna in October and training for that.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Here is the shirt! Ooops, I’m so use to saying that, I mean, here is the sack! The race is going green this year! Instead of a shirt, they gave out a reusable, environmentally friendly grocery bag.
Other going green initiatives they advertise are:
- a paperless registration, you can still register on Sunday, they will have a computer set up
- cups at the water stations will be composted
- human powered rickshaws to make deliveries to the volunteers instead of a van
- they are suggesting car pooling to the event and have set up a site to arrange that
- bring your own coffee mugs for this race’s pre race coffee tradition
These are a few, there are more, but what a great idea!
I plan to tuck my camera in my pack along with my gels, it’s small and there’s lots of room. I hope to have some along the route photos to share with you.
So here’s to having a fun time Running in the Rockies!
Thursday, September 4, 2008
We started off at 9:30, me being the only one brave (or stupid) enough to bare my legs. Within 10 minutes from the parking lot, we crossed over a large pink suspension bridge to a creek with a low enough water level that the rocks stuck out, so that meant no need for sandles. I knew this was going to be a day of spectacular sights when right off the bat, we heard what we thought was thunder then to look to the left only to see this! I herd of cowboys came storming out of the bushes herding a herd of about 50 horses through the bushes, across the creek and off into the trees to go, well, I don't know where!
The early part of the hike was the challenging part! It was 3 kilometers of approximately 600 meters of elevation. First through tree-lined, narrow, steep, muddy, winding, hair pin turns. This was the sludging part. Then it opened up, we were above the tree line on steep, frost covered scree which afforded us this kind of view. I made sure to look back very often, not wanting to miss anything and to make sure I had this image embedded in my mind. You can see the snow covered peaks in the distance which seemed to be at eye level which meant we were up high. Then down below, the fordging river, the road and to the right Forget-Me-Not Pond which was emerald in color when the sun shone on it. We followed the narrow path for a short distance along the slope. At this point I kept my eyes in front of me because when I looked to my right, I felt my balance go a little wonky. You can see some of the trekkers behind me. I was laboring with my breathing somewhat, that happens when the air is thinner higher up but we still slowly pushed forward.
After two hours and thirty minutes, we finally reach the Ridge. Even though it was snow covered, it still felt warm because of the work to get there and being closer to the sun and the reflection of the snow. I very discreetly gave myself a pat on the back. This was quite an accomplishment! Not only was I high physically, I was even higher mentally! We could see forever! I could even pick out city center towers, which looked like specks.
This was our dining spot, behind some trees sheltered from the wind, with a view of forever and other ridges around us. This is when I had to fleece up, and zip the bottoms of my pants on. The others were happy to see me put my bottoms on, I guess I made them cold when they just looked at my legs. My cheese sandwich never tasted so good (still not ready for those deli meats yet). Of course, I topped of my lunch with those two bite brownies. We stayed here about thirty minutes enjoying the vista, snapping photos and chatting about hiking equipment.
The trip down is always quicker and the first part was really quick. Most of the snow had melted by now but once we got into the tree line, it was even more muddie and the footing was not as easy on the steep down section. I was thankful for my snowshoe poles! This was the first time I ever used poles for hiking and if I ever take on a challenge like this again, the poles will be part of my equipment. Today my knees and ankles are thanking me!
To sum up today, I would say that Forget-Me-Not Ridge got its name from all the forgetmenot flowers that blanket the ridge but for me it will be forgetmenot because of being able to conquer the challenge, completing my first Ridge and for the amazing scenery!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
The co-ordinator for this hike sent an email reminder for tomorrow and this is what was included:
- Bear Alert: It is bear season. Ensure that you are prepared and educated on bear safety.
- Hunter Alert: It is hunting season in Kananaskis Country. Wear bright unnatural colours and be sensitive to the possibility of stumbling onto a bear enjoying something left behind by a hunter!
- Are you prepared for variable weather? Weather in the mountains is often more extreme than in the city. Make sure you are prepared for wetter, snowier, colder, and maybe even hotter, weather than you would get in the city.
- Since it's a slug going up, it's recommended that you bring your hiking poles.
- Please note: there will be one river crossing. Please bring sandles.
I've been looking for a little adventure in my life but UGH! what have I gotten myself into!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
We had our choice of picnic tables so picked the best one of them all. Location Location Location! Then laid out the cloth, opened our lawn chairs, got our coolers and baskets in place, we laid claim! After a cup of coffee and a chance to relax for a bit, off we went to follow the walkway along the river. It’s paved with steps up and down, places to sit, plaques to explain, view points, railings and scenery along the path like you wouldn’t believe! I’m really realizing lately what beauty there is in my neck of the woods!
We lingered over our picnic of salmon sandwiches, snap peas and carrots, havarti cheese, cole slaw and macaroni salad. The Chardonnay paired well! When it was time for fruit and nut mix that meant it was also time to bring out the crib board! The competition was on once again! We were competitive and fierce! I came out on top this time which means it is now 1-1 which means...rematch!
We spent the balance of our dilly dallying polishing off the wine this time along with those two bite brownies and basking in the sun by the river lounging in our lawn chairs!
OH! LIFE IS ROUGH!