Showing posts with label Environment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Environment. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Hiking season

Between Terry's broken ankle and wanting to spend every free moment skiing during winter, we have not been hiking. Although some trails are still closed for avalanche risk, there are still plenty of amazing hikes in the Rocky mountains that in our three years we have not yet done.

On Juneteenth when we didn't have work we thought we were in the clear to hike Lake Agnes. It was a school day/work day and I had been asking around in some of the hiking groups I'm in online and folks said they weren't having problems finding parking during the week. Hm.

Arrived at the parking lot at 10am and it was firmly closed. So we went back to the Lake Louise info center to regroup. After a conversation with one of the park guides and some more conferring, we decided on Moose Meadow to Ink Pots. 

It was nearly deserted until we hit where the trail merged with the path from Johnston Canyon to the Ink Pots. Lots of mosquitoes, some wildflowers getting an early start, and a lovely walk through the woods. The Ink Pots were worth the trip. We also discovered a lovely river just beyond, and the mountains of course behind it all, making a ridiculously beautiful spot to stop and eat lunch before adventuring on.

Btw, the Lake Louise parking lot fills by 8am even on a weekday, and Lake Morraine by 6am!!!

For the next week, we had seen a photo of Peyto Lake looking particularly deep blue and given that we'd never seen it yet (the overlook had been closed for most of our time in Canada) decided that would be the destination. The view did not disappoint. However, as the lookout is only about 1km from the parking lot we knew we needed a bit more for a hiking adventure.

So we hiked through the snow (!?!? no joke) across a ridge to another viewpoint that overlooked Bow Lake and some different mountains. The snow was very slippery and slushy so Terry's ankle began bothering him before we got to the farthest point on the trail; however we saw enough to know we wanted to come back later in the summer when more had melted and make it all the way through to the end.  The prairie dogs were abundant - a few were so big and fat I thought they were a different animal - and it was as always fun watching then scamper about.  

The wildlife highlight, however, came on our return trip.  This marmot popped out of her (his? I'm going to assume this was a mama with babies inside who wanted to keep an eye on the giants happening by) hole. At first she just popped out, checked us out and dived back in. But then she got curious and took a longer look. This was when she assumed the classic "senior year photo pose" and let us photo her from various angles.  A small group came by and she again dove back into the hole, and returned moments later to check them out.  We must have hung out with her for at least five minutes (a long time, wildlife-wise) and it was with regret we said goodbye and finished the hike.


Saturday, May 7, 2022

Getting outdoor hours

I am trying the 1000 hours outside challenge this year. Given the way the first part of the year has gone, I think I will be happy to reach 500 hours by new year.  However, my mother's day present to myself and my family means that more time out of the house just may be quite a bit more feasible.

Yes, this is a new (to us) patio set. The chairs around the table are significantly more comfortable than the set we previously had so outdoor dining just became more likely. AND there are two loveseats perfect for lounging on while reading - one for me and one for Alex. PLUS two small coffee tables just right for holding nice cold drinks to stay hydrated in the summer heat.

Just need this to not be the next "most wildfires ever recorded" year so we can breathe the outdoor air.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Centennial Ridge


Last week a woman I had met in a hiking group asked if I wanted to accompany her on a hike that, according to Alltrails, is way longer AND steeper than anything I had ever done before. But I have been wanting to push myself so I said yes.  On Friday night a wildfire started on the other side of the mountain we were to hike.  But others were heading up when we met at the trailhead so we decided to go for it.

The smoke at least obscured the sun, making what we supposed to be a "heat warning" day into something way more comfortable temperature-wise.  But, we were breathing in smoke and all vistas were obscured.  The trail is almost unrelentingly steep - we made 1000m elevation gain in about 6 km.  We hoisted ourselves up boulders and slipped on scree on some of the steepest parts.  I gave thanks for my water bladder because it meant I didn't have to stop and pull out a water bottle every time I needed a drink.  Also, it's so thin and light that I can carry a lot more than a water bottle will fit. I drank a LOT of water.

It has been quite a while since I have hiked a mountain where you get to what looks like it will be the top only to find it continues up. Four times we said "almost there" ... four times we were wrong.  We passed the weather sensors, which was super cool because these are on the ridge above the slope where we skied last winter, and every time we check the area's weather and I type "Kananakskis" in the search bar, "Nakiska Ridge Top" comes up and that is exactly where I was.  We continued along the ridge a while, but between the smoke starting to cause headaches and the understanding that we would have to recreate the hike to get some actual stunning views and some photos of something that doesn't look apocalyptic, we cut the hike a bit short (it's supposedly just shy of 16km total and we got to 11.2km).

On the way back we met this little guy.  We took a photo from way back on the trail, then walked a bit closer for a better photo, then realized it didn't seem to notice us at all so we got closer ... we probably could have touched it before it scampered off onto the ledge right beyond where we could see it.  I couldn't decide if it's very comfortable with humans, or has had so few interactions it didn't consider us threats.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Troll Falls

Our first attempt at hiking the Rockies in the snow didn't go all that well - the temperature was significantly colder than predicted, Terry and I weren't properly attired, and I also realized a coat is too long for proper hiking and I do need a warm jacket.

So, fast forwarding a few weeks: we had the free day, the clear sky, and the apple cider to spice, heat and throw in thermoses.

Troll Falls is a recommended easy half-day trip from Calgary (between the 2 hour round trip and the quick jaunt to the falls). It is also highly recommended as a winter hike.

We almost didn't get there with all the stops the kids made to play in the snow. Seriously, the first kilometer took about 45 minutes. When the sign said it was only 0.3km to go, we got hardhearted and said no stopping until we get there!

It is early enough in the season that we could see water still running down the falls on the inside of the ice. From the front was all ice, and from the back it was all ice, but in the middle water ran. Our cameras were unable to capture this.

Climbing up the side of the falls is a recommended treat and Alex did not need to be told twice. The only regret is that we didn't have ice cleats, and the icy area just behind the falls was way too slick to venture towards without them.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Our First Canadian Rockies Hike

With the weather and everyone's health in line, we rushed out the door last weekend to check out a reportedly easy hike a bit over an hour away.

Our kids have seen far too many amazing things in their short lives and are subsequently painfully jaded. For Alex I could blame it on tween-ness but Zoltan has no excuse. They did not care about the spectacular mountains. Or beautiful view. Or the waterfall. Or the fresh, crisp air. Speaking of which, it is August and it took nearly half the hike for me to shed my jacket and my long sleeved T-shirt. Needless to say Terry is in absolute hog heaven.

In all fairness, they did did eventually stop whining about wanting to go home.

The guide book calls Canmore "Alberta's Aspen" but about a million times smaller.We headed into town after the hike to grab lunch and to wander around. The kids did an amazing job not whining in the candy store, and were happy to use their allowance to get some treats to snack on during the ride home.

Monday, April 16, 2018

One Sentence Book Review: Beyond Sleep

Beyond Sleep by Willem Frederik Hermans
Overly self-conscious and self-important young geologist, carrying the weight of his father's too-early death and resultant failure to achieve greatness, goes on remote site visit critical to his thesis completion yet is painfully unprepared for any aspect of his journey.

Buy, borrow, or don't bother: Don't bother

Thursday, April 12, 2018

One Sentence Book Review: New York 2140

New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson

This book will delight anyone who has ever wondered just how will the world look in about 120 years when no entity on Earth seems willing or able to do anything to slow the pace of climate change;  the author fits in descriptions of extreme weather, human scientific and social ingenuity, and political showdowns in between the stories of the small group of fellow megalithic-city-within-an-apartment dwellers who change the world.

Buy, borrow or don't bother: Buy - and keep checking back over the next 120 years to see which predictions come true!