Monday, 30 May 2016

Hiking with the amazing Andra and friends - Larch Trail.

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Most Monday mornings see me entranced by the trails hiked by Andra MacKnight and her friends, through her blog 'Making Waves'. This routine has been an important part of Monday mornings for the past 3 years. I 'oo' and 'ah' constantly as I read. I try to imagine following in her footsteps, as her words and photographs  transport me across the miles. Some mornings I think, 'Yes, I could hike there' and mostly I think, 'Not a chance.'

Saturday morning a car stopped in front of our accomodation in Banff. Had I not been at the gate, 5 people had planned to knock on the door and say, "Come hiking with us today." A dream come true! Thank you Andra, Darlene, Deborah, Leena and Ken, for making me so welcome.

As we drove the last 500 metres to the Morraine Lake car park, I was greeted by the spectacular view of some of the Peaks of the Valley of the Ten peaks. The stunning, blue green moraine lake awaited me at their base. It's impossible to capture the beauty of its colour with the camera lens. It is far brighter and brilliant as seen with the naked eye and is constantly changing with the sunlight.

Layering up!

Let the hike begin.
Darlene Andra, Deborah, Leena, Ken.

We immediately entered towering,  pine forest for the climb to Larch Valley. The well graded switchbacks allowed me to keep up with the group with not too many 'Help, I need a rest' cries. The pines were mostly thick, but occasionally we would catch a glimpse of the gorgeous colour of Moraine Lake and the snow capped peaks above them.
Ladybird insisted on playing in the first snow.

Soon after the fun loving Canadians joined in. They didn't have to be asked.

The higher we climbed the more snow we found and eventually had to hike through.

Not ours!

Our arrival in Larch Valley, heralded the end of the steep climbing and our view opened out to 360 degrees. My happiness metre had been high, but now it soared to new heights. I just didn't know where to look. I couldn't stop. We had to keep in a bunch for bear safety. It's a wonder I didn't stumble or fall, as I was most certainly not looking at where I was putting my feet as much as I should have been.

Five of the ten peaks, of the Valley of Ten Peaks.

Eiffel Peak - left. Pinnacle Mountain - right.

Finding a path to Upper Minnestimma Lake.

Let the post holing begin.

Yeah, we made it! Behind us is the zig zag path to Sentinel Pass. 

Andra set up her tripod  for our photo shoot.

When the playing was over, we sat in sunshine eating our lunch, with this jaw dropping view.

In a matter of minutes the sunshine was replaced by cloud.
Suddenly I was asking, 'Is that snow?'

It most certainly was. Such excitement for me!

Our descent commenced making new trail towards the lower lake. The majesty of the panorama before us, just filled me with awe and wonder.

A friend at home had asked me to make a snowman and snow angel for her.  Finding all this snow, I just had to take up the challenge.
Thanks for your help Darlene.
And Andra.

And still there was time to play.

The view in front and behind us was constantly changed by the mood of the weather Gods.

Time for some trail bashing.

Not forgetting to look back.

A last push through some thick young pines and we were back on trail, with fields of wildflowers and again glimpses of the memorising blue of Morraine Lake.

A final photo shoot on the 'Rock Pile', beside the lake, brought this sensational hike to its conclusion.

Andra loves to select a word as a theme for her hikes. Today it was 'orchestrate'. I am so grateful for her orchestration of all the elements of this hike, to bring me the 'hike of my dreams'. 
I would love to read your comment.

This is the link to Andra's wonderful blog.    I'm sorry you will have to copy and paste it wouldn't link for me!

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Crossing the Rockies

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A spectacular drive today in glorious sunshine, Banff in Alberta to Kimberley in BC. [267 kms] The snow capped mountains had us in awe, but the spotting of 3 black bears was the highlight.

Below, back at the Bow River.
Bill we waited and waited for a train with no luck. Not far along the road, we heard it come through.

Castle Mountain

Johnston's Canyon

Copper Mountain from Johnson Canyon.

Awesome to be constantly driving through these snow capped peaks. Where do I look? Can I take too many pics?

Vermillion River

Paint Pots - source of colour for the one nation people.

Numa Falls

Lunch beside the Kootenay River.

Columbia Lake, near the source of the Columbia River.

Relaxing on the balcony of our more than comfortable unit.

Wonderful muted sunset at 9.30pm.

Clear skies at 6.30am.

Moon setting.

Marysville Falls near Kimberley.

Our return journey was as sensational as the previous day, but the views looked different travelling in the opposite direction.

Columbia Lake

Kootenay River

Lunch view of the Columbia River.

We were fortunate enough to spot 3 more bears.

The continental divide. 
Here is the source of the Bow River which flows NW to Hudson Bay and the Kootenay, which flows  west, into the Pacific Ocean.

Magnificent view west from the Continental divide.

Mt Rundle dwarfing Banff on our return.

During the late afternoon the rain returned. The forecast for tomorrow is for more damp weather. I am extremely grateful for these 2 days of wonderful sunshine and our travels with Kim and Stuart. 
I would love to read your comment.