Regular readers of the blog will remember back in April this year I travelled to North Carolina with Sarah and hiked a short section of the Appalachian Trail with my Tennessean friend Andy and his girlfriend Jessica. I had a great time and invited them both to come up to Calgary and see the incredible Rockies.
Though Jessica couldn't make it this year, Andy arrived on the 25th Oct for a whistlestop tour of Kananaskis. We did some hiking and dodged some weather, almost blew off Nihahi ridge, ploughed through thigh deep snow at the top of (a very cold) Burstall Pass and caught sunrise and sunset on the road every day until his departure on the 29th. We visited some of the usual haunts and grabbed some nice photos along the way, but never quite got that lovely calm on the lakes for a few reflections.....annoyingly, the day after Andy left I caught the image below when heading up to Rawson Lake with Cecil.
It was a manic few days with many miles travelled and many wonderful sights captured including a lovely big Grizzly that crossed the road in front of us as we headed up highwood pass one morning. Andy had a great time and really whetted his appetite for more of these wonderful vistas, maybe next time Jessica will make it too. Click images below for larger captioned versions.
I set out today for a short hop along Powderface Ridge with my friend Cecil. From the very start we were right on the line between snow showers and sunshine. The ascent through the forest is one of those Kananaskis climbs that start as soon as you are out of the truck and just keeps on going. At the top I almost had to put on my jacket because of the cold wind but resisted the temptation meaning the winter coat is yet to have its first outing this season. We managed 9.2 km (5.7 miles) and approximately 600m (1968 feet) of ascent and escaped the snow for the most part, we covered the outlier and the appropriately named 'Rainy Summit' but only caught a couple of showers as we descended. Click a small image in the gallery below for larger captioned versions.
At midnight last night I noticed a hint of aurora outside and grabbed a couple of shots before heading to bed, it was a weak display for the most part but still provided one nice burst. I couldn't stay up until the wee small hours as usual as I had commitments in the morning, but I really enjoyed this beautiful phenomenon just as much as I always do.
Day two of our weekend in Banff saw us out and about early to beat the crowds to one of the most popular hikes in the area, Stanley Glacier. It also allowed us to catch some nice views of the mountains as we drove the short distance to the trailhead. Click here for full hike and photos.
Saturday saw us heading out to the mountains again, this time much closer to home for an overnight stay in Banff National Park at the Rimrock Hotel. We drove up there on Saturday morning and took in a nice 5km (3.1 miles) hike to the highest point on Stoney Squaw mountain at 1880 m (6170 feet) where we were greeted by a beautiful rainbow beside Cascade Mountain and blue skies over the distant Fairholme Range. Click the first image in the gallery below for larger captioned versions.
A nice Chinook moved through tonight, a naturally occurring phenomenon Chinooks are a regular sight in Alberta but only occur on the leeward side of mountain ranges so are not common to many. They bring very fast warming (great in winter) and bring some strong winds which, in combination with the mountains help create these wonderful arches that clear the sky.
I headed out on a planned excursion to revisit Yates Mountain today with my friend Cecil, I have done this one a few times now but this was Cecil's first excursion to the wonderful summit. The fog and low cloud hung with us all the way from Calgary until we hit the edge of the Rockies where, all of a sudden, it was gone. The contingency plan we had made to take a low level hike was returned to contingency status and we made the steep 643 m (2109 feet) ascent to that wonderful fire lookout position where the Bow and Kananaskis valleys stretch out in front of us. Click the gallery below for larger captioned images of the hike.
As this weekend was thanksgiving in Canada it meant an extended weekend so we booked a hotel in Fernie, British Columbia as a short getaway. We did a beautiful hike and explored the area just a little, it is certainly somewhere we would love to return too and being just 3.5 hours southwest of Calgary it's likely we will do just that. Below are a few shots of the town, click any gallery image for captioned slideshow. Click here for the full hike to Castle Mountain through wonderful autumnal colour.
Day two on PEI saw us visiting the PEI National Park then following the Gulf Shore Parkway East before taking the 'Points East' scenic drive. A great second day on the island. Click here for more of PEI
After visiting Green Gables on day one of our trip to PEI we continued along the Gulf Shore Parkway to the small town of North Rustico Harbour stopping at several beaches along the north coast. Click here for more.
We arrived in Calgary, Canada on 29th December 2011 to continue our journey. This blog is intended to keep our family and friends informed whilst we explore Canada.You can use the RSS feed below to stay updated.
The Shaman, West Texas