Sunday, 5 June 2016

Hiking Above and Beyond

To better enjoy the photos, please click on them to increase their size.

Setting off yesterday, I thought the title of this blog might have been, 'Spending time with the Grizzlies'.

The 'Making Waves Gang' had spotted a grizzly soon after they departed Calgary and we were heading into prime grizzly country - The Boulder Pass / Ptarmigan Lake Trail,  19.3 kms, 694 m of elevation gain and 8.24 hours of amazing vista's.

Before heading out of the carpark, a check was made to confirm we had all the necessary gear - bear spray, hooter, whistle and instructions given on how to react! The initial hike was 3.7 km of road walking.

 Right from here, we regularly 'cooed' and called loudly 'yoho bear', banged our poles together and swivelled 360 degrees to check the surroundings. Guess who called loudest and longest?
Not long after leaving the road, we happened on actual bear footprints, but it was agreed they were at least 2 days old. About 2/3 the way through the hike up, we found more footprints and quite fresh bear diggings.

So here I am telling the tale of the 'hike above and beyond'. For all the warnings, noise making and forest and open space peering, it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the day. The 'Making Waves' team are extremely experienced hikers and I had complete faith in their research for this hike.

As we hiked along the road, birds were chirping in the firs and a stream gurgled and tumbled not far below.

At 2.6 kms [I needed to rest], I turned round and had my first view of Mt Temple, that was going to be so much a part of our day's beauty.

Just over a kilometre later, this is what we saw!

At this point, we crossed the ski fields at the back of the Lake Louise slopes, before entering a  narrow forest trail.

Eventually this opened out and the beauty of Ptarmigan Mountain revealed.

Streams were crossed.

Energy food eaten beside the cabin shelter.

Then onwards and upwards, not forgetting to look back and admire the Valley of Ten Peaks.

A marmot was on lookout duty.

And this ladybird was having a fun time exploring the vegetation.
As we were cresting Boulder Pass the vista's were staggeringly beautiful. My photos cannot do justice to the incredible  Mt Redoubt and its boulder field.

Could this hike get any better? The answer was before us, as we we began the descent to Lake Ptarmigan. The pristine beauty of the partly frozen lake, surrounded by patches of snow and dominating mountains, had me jumping for joy!

Thanks Andra for catching this moment.

I was lost for words, so I'll let the pics tell the story.

Finding our lunch spot.

Mt Ptarmigan towering over us.

At about 2 pm, we really had to tear ourselves away from this spectacular vista and commence the trek back down.

The beauty didn't lessen. Mt Redoubt 

And of course, if you hike with the 'Making Waves Gang', you have to be ready to play.

But now the time really had come to descend, with an element of bush bashing just for fun and some even louder bear noises from me.
 Mt Temple was determined to impress all the way down.

Glacier Lilies made a splash of yellow beside a gently flowing stream. As I took this photo, I was informed that they are prized food for the grizzlies.

In this view, Mt Redoubt was dominating the valley.

And so we were back to the road with a last lingering look behind to Mt Ptarmigan and a final view ahead of Victoria Glacier.


How lucky are the 'Making Waves Gang' to have these mountains on their doorstep, but how incredibly lucky am I to have met Andra through her blog and so get to share their mountains with them. My sincerest thanks for making these unforgettable memories.
I would love to read your comment.


  1. What an awesome hike! Makes me want to plan a vacation up north. Hope this doesn't make Portland look shabby after such fantastic scenery. :)

  2. Helen, I feel incredibly lucky to have met you! Now you know and there is no more doubt, you have what it takes to be out & about adventuring in these rocky mountains. I will treasure the memories we created from our play time!

  3. What an absolutely gorgeous place! Thanks for sharing your hike!

  4. Stunning views, Helen! Our planet is incredibly beautiful and you seem to find the most gorgeous places there are. :)
    One thing I especially like in these photos is that one can almost feel how fresh and clean the air is.
    Thank you for sharing! Have a lovely weekend!

  5. What a stunning place for a hike!! Wow!! I do so love your photos of your adventures.

  6. Yay, three cheers for the Gang!

    I wasn't really impressed with the road at the beginning of the hike but WOW did it get spectacular!