Jasper NP – Angel Glacier (08/15)

On Mount Edith Cavell until 2012 there were two glaciers, Ghost and Angel. Ghost collapsed during this glacial event. Avalanches and ice fall during the summer shorten the angelic appearance of Angel.

Cavell Lake

Jan’s Tips:

  • Due to lingering wildfire smoke and recent bear activity, I was unable to explore extended trails, however, access to Angel Glacier is via a short, well-traveled path. There is a nearby rim with a rock scramble providing better views, which is the location of most of these photos.
  • In the Canadian Rockies, grizzly activity closes trails or requires groups of four to travel together. Therefore, it’s always good to go prepared with a Plan B; better yet, also with Plan C and D. Bear and Trail status links.
  • If you’re like me and prefer photos minus strangers, and quiet trails with more opportunity to see wildlife, especially during peak tourist season, GO EARLY.
  • Helpful links:
  • A Parks Canada Pass is required.
  • Link to my other Canada blog posts.

Resources:

Kootenay NP – Stanley Glacier (08/15)

Kootenay National Park is sandwiched between Banff and Yoho National Parks. For this post, I’ll let the photos speak my words.

Jan’s Tips:

Resources:

Yoho NP – Lake O’Hara (08/15)

With a daily visitation quota, few have the opportunity to see Lake O’Hara and her surrounding peaks. Fewer still have the legs, interest or ability to see the lake from this perspective. Today’s objective was what is known as the Alpine Circuit. It is more route than trail. I’d say 25% was on easy, well-groomed trail. The route includes a fair amount of cliff edge, boulder and scree field hiking, not a good place for people with height issues.

The route is well marked with this insignia.

Good example of route marking. Follow from one mark to the next. Sometimes closely spaced like here, other times requiring a keen eye or a bit of travel.

From the Wiwaxy Gap Trail, looking down at Lake O’Hara and across at Schaffer Ridge. The latter section of the Alpine Circuit includes hiking the front section known as All Souls’ Prospect. If you look closely you may be able to see the trail.

The sun distorted the photo a bit, but it shows perspective with Yukness Mountain along the back, Opabin Prospect in the middle, and Schaffer Ridge on the right. Lake O’Hara is on the lower right while Opabin Lake is on the top left.

A good example of the well-groomed trail, but hugging the cliff edge.

Wiwaxy Peaks

This is looking to the north with Wiwaxy on the right. If you look closely, you’ll see the switchback trail that starts the route.

There are a few non-glacier places to replenish your water along the way.

First time I’ve had a marmot stand up and pose for me. In this area they are the Hoary Marmot species.

A good example of some of the boulder sections.

So much beauty and variety.

I was pretty excited to finally capture a clear photo of a pika. I’ve been trying for about 5 years.

Jan’s Tips:

  • Use this Parks Canada link for more information on Lake O’Hara including cabin rentals, camping, bus schedule and reservations, etc.
  • Regarding the bus, keep checking the site. Frequently there are cancellations. I was able to reserve a spot a few days in advance. There are also a few walk-up spots available each day but you’ll need to arrive early to get your name on the waiting list. I had a 10:30am reservation and arrived at 7:45 hoping to get on the 8:30am bus. I was #10 on the waiting list, and thankfully was able to get on because I was already part of the 60 per day quota.
  • Bring a plastic container to get a to go or mid hike piece of the infamous Lake O’Hara carrot cake.
  • The Alpine Circuit is about 8 miles and 3,600′ of elevation gain and loss.
  • Other nearby camping sites.
  • The ACA Abbot Pass Hut is accessible from Lake O’Hara
  • A Parks Canada Pass is required.
  • Link to my other Canada blog posts.

Resources:

 

Banff NP – Victoria Glacier at Lake Louise (08/15)

To capture this view of Lake Louise, you must arrive early otherwise this naked canvas will be marred by lots of red bobbers. Another benefit to being an early bird is that you’re more likely to experience silence around the lake and on the trails. You’ll see more wildlife and hear nature’s sounds.

Victoria Glacier reigns large above Lake Louise.

Big Beehive reflected in Mirror Lake

Lake Agnes

Lake Agnes and her Teahouse

The Lake Agnes mascot. I just found out these are called Hoary Marmots as opposed the the Yellow-Bellied variety found in California.

Such bright and cheery asters

A nectarine pit was left behind; this little guy quickly found it. DON’T FEED THE ANIMALS!

This sign was especially helpful in identifying the mountains.

Looking down at Lake Louise. Today it’s not smoke causing the white skies, those are rain clouds.

Victoria Glacier and her surrounding peaks from the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail. I read that the name “Plain of Six Glaciers” comes from the hanging glaciers of Mount Aberdeen, Lefroy and Victoria, as well as the Lower Victoria and Lefroy glaciers and the hanging glacier on Popes Peak.

This is Mt Lefroy, my favorite in the area.

Waterfalls and a close-up of a portion of Victoria Glacier. Just as I reached the end of the trail for this photo, it started sprinkling. I quickly started descending as thunder boomed and thankfully was nearing treeline when the first flashes of lightning were seen. I had rain gear with me, something that should be considered part of your minimum kit in the Canadian Rockies. The temperature dropped quickly and I hurried to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House to seek shelter. Of course this was something easier said than done as 50+ others had the same idea; the Tea House was bursting at the seams. After 30 minutes it became apparent the storm wasn’t going to cease quickly nor would I ever get a cup of coffee, so down the mountain I went. Soon thereafter, the rain stopped, the skies cleared, and the sun reappeared.

Blue sky and sunshine, a nice way to end the day!

Jan’s Tips:

  • This was about a 12.5 mile trip with 4,100′ of elevation gain and loss. I started at the Lake Louise parking lot, ascended the Lake Agnes trail up to the Big Beehive overlook, then connected to the Plain of Six Glaciers trail via the Highline Trail, and returned down the Lakeshore Trail.
  • Grizzly activity closes trails or requires groups of four to travel together. Therefore, it’s always good to go prepared with a Plan B; better yet, also with Plan C and D.
  • If you’re like me and prefer photos minus strangers, and quiet trails with more opportunity to see wildlife, especially during peak tourist season, GO EARLY. This is not only a stop for the Charter Buses, but their is an onsite hotel. I started hiking about 7:30am and saw few others until I neared the Plain of Six Glaciers Trail.
  • Helpful links:
  • A Parks Canada Pass is required.
  • Link to my other Canada blog posts.

Resources:

Banff NP – Monarch Ramparts (08/15)

The Monarch Ramparts are the lumpy hills in the distance.

What are ramparts anyway? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary (1) a protective barrier (2) a broad embankment raised as a fortification and usually surmounted by a parapet (3) a wall-like ridge (as of rock fragments, earth, or debris).

At Healy Pass you are rewarded with views of the Pharaoh Peaks.

On the east side of the Monarch Ramparts is a series of unnamed ponds/lakes and meadows. The haze is from wildfire smoke.

On the west side of the Monarch Ramparts is this chain of mountains, including Sugarloaf and the Pharaohs.

I believe this is Talc Lake.

I believe these are Scarab and Egypt Lakes

A glimpse at both sides of the Monarch Ramparts.

“The Monarch” is the exclamation mark at the end of the Monarch Ramparts. Below it is Eohippus Lake, my next destination.

Lake Eohippus

Lake Eohippus invites a swim

One of the unnamed ponds/lakes invites another swim

The Monarch Ramparts from another perspective

I’ve been told this is called Cotton Grass. There was a very small area maybe 3’x5′ within a very large meadow that contained these plants.

Western Pasqueflower (aka Dr. Seuss flower)

Jan’s Tips:

  • This was about a 17.5 mile trip with 3,800′ of elevation gain and loss. I started at the Sunshine Village parking lot, ascended the Healy Pass trail, traversed the Monarch Rompart ridge, descended through the Lake Eohippus meadow to Simpson Pass, finally reconnecting to the Healy Pass trail.
  • Grizzly activity closes trails or requires groups of four to travel together. Therefore, it’s always good to go prepared with a Plan B; better yet, also with Plan C and D.
  • If you’re like me and prefer photos minus strangers, and quiet trails with more opportunity to see wildlife, especially during peak tourist season, GO EARLY. This trail is definitely quieter than many but because a bus can be taken from the parking area to Sunshine Village, there are a fair amount of hikers on the Simpson Pass to Healy Pass section of the trail.
  • Helpful links:
  • A Parks Canada Pass is required.
  • Link to my other Canada blog posts.

Resources:

Yoho NP – Emerald Glacier (08/15)

Want to see waterfalls, wildflowers, stunning mountains, glacial rivers and an Emerald Glacier? Then this just might be the hike for you. I won’t lie, you’ll earn these views with about 4,400′ in elevation gain and loss over 14.5 miles, with 2,000′ gained in the first couple miles (or you could reverse the loop to end with some serious descending and enjoy the benefit of crowd avoidance).

Takakkaw Falls invite leisurely enjoyment.

Daly Glacier feeds Takakkaw Falls

You can hear the crashing and roar of Takakkaw Falls as you climb from the Whiskey Jack Trailhead up to the Iceline Trail.

Distractions are good for me when climbing.

The views along the Iceline Trail were divine, including Emerald Glacier, the President Range, Whaleback Mountain and I believe the Waputik Range.

Emerald Glacier

Whaleback Mountain with Glacier Des Poilus (I think)

I believe this is the President Range. I’m not pulling your leg the mountains are named President, Vice President and Secretary Treasurer.

This little guy didn’t want to get off the trail. I think I scared the poo right out of it.

Laughing Falls – what’s so funny?

The creamy milk white of the Yoho River

Takakkaw Falls provides a welcoming roar as I returned via the Yoho Valley Trail.

Jan’s Tips:

  • Grizzly activity closes trails or requires groups of four to travel together. Therefore, it’s always good to go prepared with a Plan B; better yet, also with Plan C and D.
  • If you’re like me and prefer photos minus strangers, and quiet trails with more opportunity to see wildlife, especially during peak tourist season, GO EARLY. I started hiking around 8am and shared the trail occasionally with a few others. By the time I reached the Yoho Valley Trail, there were few instances of solitude. Since Takakkaw Falls are viewable from the parking lot, this is a stop for the tourist buses.
  • There are several on-trail lodging options: Twin Falls Chalet, Stanley Mitchell Hut, Twin Falls and Takakkaw Falls campgrounds, and Whiskey Jack Hostel.
  • Other nearby lodging options:
    • City of Banff
  • A Parks Canada Pass is required.
  • Link to my other Canada blog posts.

Resources:

Banff NP – Peyto Lake (08/15)

Along the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park at Bow Summit is Peyto Lake. You can’t see it from the parking lot, but since it’s only about 1/2 mile to the first viewpoint, it’s a very popular hike. It’s worth following the less used trail a short distance further to a rock outcropping to gain this full view, as well as see the Peyto Glacier. For the more ambitious, you can climb further up a 4×4 road to the site of an old lookout tower, with views worthy the effort. There are also a couple of trails providing access to the lake (Peyto Lake South & Peyto Lake East). Since I’d already hiked to Bow Lake Waterfalls, time prevented me from further exploration.

Peyto Glacier

Jan’s Tips:

  • Grizzly activity closes trails or requires groups of four to travel together. Therefore, it’s always good to go prepared with a Plan B; better yet, also with Plan C and D.
  • If you’re like me and prefer photos minus strangers, and quiet trails with more opportunity to see wildlife, especially during peak tourist season, GO EARLY. Since this was a Plan C hike, I didn’t arrive until early afternoon and it was packed with probably 100 people on the trail. This is a stop for the tourist buses.
  • This is a good hike to combine with Bow Lake and/or Bow Lake Falls.
  • When you’re done hiking, stop by the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge for a treat, located conveniently Bow Lake trailhead parking area. They also have lodging options.
  • Other nearby lodging options:
  • A Parks Canada Pass is required.
  • Link to my other Canada blog posts.

Resources: