I set out for a hike along Canyon Creek this afternoon but got caught in a pretty wicked storm after an hour or so of hiking. I sheltered in the forest for half an hour then followed the storm back out to my truck having started to get cold due to lack of movement. I've posted a small gallery of the shots I took early on before the storm hit. Back in the warmth of the truck I still felt it was nice to have got out for a couple of hours, after all things can't be perfect every day.
I had planned to hike 'Forgetmenot Ridge' in the Elbow Valley today but on arrival I found the area closed for construction work. As there was little time to be too selective I opted to drive the Powderface Trail for 15 km north to hike Canyon Creek and see where it took me.
It was a beautiful cold crisp day with temperatures reading 5C at ground level and significantly less at higher altitude. A strong wind added to the chill but I opted to hike a small ridge beside the canyon that I've done before and enjoyed. It's been a long time since I had any significant workout in the hills so the small ridge was perfect for a nice steady plod to a lovely narrow summit with stunning views of the foothills and surrounding forests. I've added captions to the small gallery below from today, and for anyone interested in making this hike you can see a detailed description of an earlier trip along this ridge by clicking here.
Sick of the smoke from wildfires that are still raging across British Columbia we decided to ignore it today and set out to our favourite place, Upper Kananaskis Lake. Once there we made a lovely 12 km round trip hike to the Upper Falls north west of the lake.
At the falls we sat below the cascade watching the water bounce through the convoluted pathway in the broken rock formation while we talked, laughed and had a little bite to eat. It was a fantastic afternoon and the smoke wasn't too bad on our chosen route.
As we drove home on the TransCanada highway we saw a girl alone broken down by the roadside so stopped to offer our help, ultimately taking her to downtown Calgary before returning to Cochrane for a late supper and bed. We are both absolutely sure that we will never tire of our visits to the upper lake area in Kananaskis, it is simply beautiful no matter how often we visit. The main image shows the initial view of Mt Indefatigable from the car park, the gallery has captions to share our route to the falls.
Sarah and I set out to hike my favourite trail this afternoon, Burstall Pass. It's one I've done several times now so there is no page write up for this particular one but if you are seeking maps, directions and full photographic tour you can click here to see a previous hike on this route.
We had a lovely afternoon in warm sunshine though it was cool at the top of the pass, the trees are just beginning to turn and another few weeks will see the autumnal colour filling this spectacular valley. We saw a big Grizzly in the first few hundred metres from the car park but he was less interested in us than we were in him and he sidled off and vanished into a scant few trees nearby, quite the disappearing act given his size. The trail was fairly busy and we met lots of people along the way but they were heading down leaving us to sit at the head of the pass and look back along the valley for quite a while with just each other for company.
The 16km round trip with about 500m of ascent is a good workout but worth every step and we really did enjoy our time together in the mountains today. The gallery below has captions to help guide you along the trail with us.
I had to get out today as I couldn't stand being confined to the house any longer by the damn smoke from wildfires that are still burning across our neighbouring province of British Columbia. Figures on the news tonight show an area over 8500 sq km (5200 sq miles) has been burned this year already in BC and there is no sign of a slowdown. That is almost 2.5 million acres this year alone, the vast majority of which are started by human activity, for the sake of all our lungs, please take care with your cigarette ends, campfires etc.
I couldn't go for any of the big stuff as I didn't want to be trying to breathe so deeply on ascent and talking in more of this stuff than I had too, so I made for Cox Hill, a nice little hike quite close to home. The hike is about 13 km round trip with approximately 800m of ascent.
The main image below gives an idea of conditions and it's not that the smoke is over there, it's everywhere but thin enough to see through for a distance. I could have made the shots better with photoshop but thought I'd show the reality of the conditions 'unmolested'. The gallery below has captions and anyone wanting more information, photos, map and route guide can click here for a full description of a previous trip.
We had a lovely afternoon in the Elbow Valley today with our friends Cecil and Arlene who are finally back from their 2 year stint in Singapore. We made a nice easy 10 km 'out and back' along the Big Elbow trail as the main mountains and parks are still 'smoked in' from all the wildfires. We remain without any real rainfall but the temperatures have reduced to the high 20's rather than 30's so it's much improved. After our hike we stopped off in Bragg Creek for drinks and cake before heading home from a really enjoyable hike with great company. Welcome home guys :)
We had a wonderful day today, hiking up to the eastern outlier of Moose Mountain for a picnic. The heat was a bit much at times as we continued the recent trend of high 20's to low 30's temperatures but we walked slowly and enjoyed the trail to the small (dubiously constructed) little shelter on the eastern outlier where we stopped and had our food before walking equally slowly back to the truck. In the shelter Sarah began to regret the choice of shorts for the hike as it was quite cool up there when stationary. We only stayed about 20 minutes before heading back down to the oppressive heat of the lower elevations. It was a lovely little outing of approximately 12.5 km and great to be out in the mountains together.
For those thinking of making this hike there's a full description of route, parking and a map to the summit hike here, or it can be found on the Hiking Canada section of this site.
I set out today to make a nice steady hike beside Barrier Lake but a grizzly with cubs had other ideas and the whole area was closed due to her reluctance to move on. It matters little, when you are in Kananaskis you are surrounded by hundreds of hikes of all kinds so I continued south on highway 40 and waited for inspiration to strike. I didn't have to wait long, as I passed the parking area for the G8 summits and saw it was empty the decision was made. I've made this hike so often now it might be classed a 'regular' and I suspect I will make it again at some point. For those seeking full details of the hike including trailhead access, route descriptions and a map you can click here to see one of my earlier trips up this beautiful steep climb. You will also find a link to this and many other hikes in the area on my Hiking Canada page.
The gallery below is just a selection of images from today, heavy storms last night had knocked down the forest fires and associated smoke and best of all had cooled the temperature from the high 20's and low 30's to a much more suitable 7 degrees, by the time I reached the summit it was pretty cold and I was glad I had carried the fleece up there. Back on the ground after a wonderful afternoon it was saddening to see another new forest fire opposite Barrier Lake being battled by 2 helicopters with drop buckets and dozens of firefighters, it looks like they caught it early so hopefully they will have it out before it has chance to really take hold.
As the title says this really was a long day hike, I'd set out to explore Upper Kananaskis Falls as we haven't been there and something new is always interesting. Though the falls were beautiful, the hike to the falls was so easy that I felt I needed to do more and enjoy the day, so I continued on to Three Isle Lake making a 25.2km round trip with 876m of ascent. The main shot below is Three Isle Lake and the gallery has captions but to enjoy the day with me in full you can see a full hike report and all the pics here, as always there will be a permanent link on the hiking Canada page.
I made the very short journey from home to the Elbow Valley today for an unplanned hike to wherever I ended up. I parked close to the Harold Chapman suspension bridge that makes crossing the cyan blue Elbow River a simple task. After crossing I headed upstream for 4.5km before scaling a minor 488m ridge there. I say minor, but the ascent through tight packed forest without a trail on a punishing gradient still left me knowing I'd done it. I did get a nice view of Nihahi Ridge (an excellent hike which you can find details for here) and enjoyed complete solitude for a little over 4 hours. The main image is of Nihahi Ridge from the small ridge I ascended, the gallery below has captions.
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