Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Trip Report - Mt. Lawrence Grassi

This will be one of the last hiking/ scrambling related sets of photos from me for the year, as we've hit shoulder season. The fall weather at ground level quickly turns to wintery conditions up top, inducing 'We're going to die' panicked moments from Anita which are obviously not fun for her, and even less fun for me having to calm her mid mountain. So unless we get another unexpected bout of warm weather, my scrambling season will stop at 16 peaks, with 14,001m or 46,669ft of total elevation gained.

We headed out to Canmore yesterday and took a quick jaunt up Mt. Lawrence Grassi, and had the entire mountain to ourselves. Not another soul in sight the entire way up and down. It was cold, but the views of snow covered peaks at the top were incredible and made it all worthwhile.

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Winter has arrived?

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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Trip Report - Barrier Lake Lookout

I wanted to take a moment to comment on the terrorist attack in Edmonton last night, but really don't have anything to say other than: Be vigilant, friends. We are so blessed to live in such a beautiful country, yet a select few manage to make it such a scary and ugly place. Let not those who would incite hatred and fear change the way we conduct ourselves, and interact with each other. With respect, with dignity, with love.

Yesterday morning, the weather forecast called for drizzle/ showers in the mountains by noon. And Anita was groggily waking up like a tranquilized sloth, so we debated staying in bed. But the 'Seize the day' part of me thought the fall colours may be gone by next weekend, so I dragged her out to Barrier Lake for a short hike up to the viewpoint and fire lookout. Turned out to be the right decision, as it only drizzled on us for a few minutes, and we got to see all the golds and reds of autumn in the mountains, on an otherwise perfect day.

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Beautiful golden coloured foliage

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This was an interesting large depression in the landscape, dipping down dozens of meters, but with incredible fall coloured trees erupting from it.

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Not my favourite beer. I dumped some out so I wouldn't have to drink it all, and even a mountain ground squirrel that ventured up for a taste didn't like it.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Trip Report - Montana

I read a satirical line recently that said "A great way to improve your experience is to lower your expectations."

Without intentionally doing this, we went to Montana for the Labour Day long weekend with fairly low expectations, but were surprised by how much more fun it was than expected. We would spend a day in the Waterton townsite hiking up Mt. Crandell, before then driving into Montana to stay two nights at a Tipi Village run by a Blackfoot artist. The experience of sleeping in a tipi was interesting... pro-tip: tie the door flap down at night, lest a gale force wind blow the door open, sending ashes from the fire pit inside swirling madly everywhere, while you confusedly wake up and search for your glasses and an instruction manual in the dark on how to close the door. (No instructions were to be found). Also, the Product Safety regulator in me questions the safety of lighting a fire inside what is essentially a giant tent.

We would also spend a day in Great Falls, alternating between drinking local brews and checking out random grocery stores. Food, Beer, Mountains, and travel. My kind of vacation.

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The Lodgepole Tipi Village we stayed at in Browning, Montana.

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From Bear's Hump, overlooking Waterton Lake, the townsite, and the historic Prince of Wales Hotel.

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The Prince of Wales Hotel.

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Inside the hotel.

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Our home for two nights. We stayed in the yellow, blue and red one.

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Running Eagle Falls, along the Going to the Sun Highway in Glacier National Park.

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Trip Report - The Big Sister

In this week's edition of Summit Saturdays, we're going to play a game of Good idea/ Bad idea. Good idea: getting out to scramble up a mountain. Bad idea: taking your buddy's 12 year old son up a nearly 3000m peak (1200m elevation gain) for his first real scramble. Our bad.

Good idea: Enjoying the outdoors by chilling out in a copse of trees, halfway up the mountain. Bad idea: starting a campfire up there. Seriously, we saw the ashes of a fairly recent campfire some moron hikers had decided was necessary, despite it being a terribly dry season, with rampant wildfires raging in our national parks. I wish I could find these morons and punch them until they could no longer have kids...

Anyways, back to our main story. We ascended The Big Sister (the tallest peak of the Three Sisters) in the Canmore area yesterday, topping out at a high point after about 800m of elevation gain, shy of the summit because the kiddo was not feeling it (again, our bad). But for his first real experience scrambling a mountain, he did awesome. Lesson learned: start small next time.

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The early part of the hike through the trees. Steep.

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Above the treeline. Continuing steeps.

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This little dude was a trooper.

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Navigating a steep and lengthy downclimb... which we would later discover was completely unnecessary.

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Scrambling on all fours.

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The highpoint we would call it quits at.

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Me!

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All that matter is your state of mind.

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And lastly, the ashes remaining from the fire I talked about. STUPID PEOPLE!