Books, Dreams, Freedom, Uncategorized, Writing

His soul and her sister

Soul and her Sister

He stands on the top of the mountain he always wanted to conquer and his mind is finally free to roam, free of the restraints of worry and daily live.

He stands baptized as so many citizizens of this world bearing his given name, but called by everybody a animal name. Bear he is called , like the Grizzly…

The voyage to this place took some effort and hardship but instinctively Bear knew that only at this place would his soul be free and light to set her free and to finally reach her destination and within in this his freedom of mind .

IMG_9697Here on top of this majestic third part of a mountain range close to his home town , not far from civilization his soul became free of the chains, which bound it to the abyss of daily life as described in the unwritten book of societies law. Here his soul found her sister indeed she even was named Big sister , one of three here in Canmore , the small one the middle one and here where he was the Big Sister. She unfolded her wings and the more closer his feet brought him to the peak the more free and lighter she became to finally as he traversed the last Rock Slap she lifted up and hovered over him like a feather in the wind .Weightless white and beautiful. Her at this moment his heart became weightless, beating in the rhythm of nature and the wind surrounding him. Beating like never before although he scaled several mountains , traveled through valleys and canyons crossed desserts, lakes and rivers, stood on mountain peeks where not many people ever stood no matter which weather rain or shine , but never and nowhere did it occured to him in such a clarity that this mountain with its ruggedness its unwelcoming appearance and tough weather is the key to his life or to be more precise for his life to come , for the change which he did not realize was about to come .

Freedom would be the word one would use but it’s a word too light to describe the severity of this moment, as at this place in time the path he will travel is the path not traveled by many but by some for different reasons. A path which is plastered with uneven rocks , shards of class, tight corners, foggy patches and points of no return. A path which only excists for him, created by maybe karma but more by nature, by the power of the mountains valleys, creeks and their inhabitants may it be flowers grass or animals ..

Longing for this peace and freedom which entered his heart here like only a romantic is welcoming his heart to do , he commenced his voyage to live the happiness and satisfaction which is abundant in nature and it’s creations.

The way to his dream would be long and many obstacles would have to be overcome. Many hurdles and ruts to conquer and many questions to ask. He will be disappointed, lost and hurt. Questions will arise and answers will not be forthcoming right away if ever. His decision which was born on this faithful mountain will be seen by many as a unusual , some will say stupid and he knew that there would only be a small number of people which he hoped he would meet one day who would understand the longing and movement in his heart and soul.

 

So he descended from this amazing mountain In slow speed as if something holds his feet firmly to the ground, as if the small plants are holding on to his ankles and slow his arms holding his hiking pols to a snail like speed, a slow speed he never felt, never experienced , a speed in which he sensed all around him, as if he is now part off this breeze of the clouds above him and the Stone and scree below him , as if he is already one…He descended and soon the starting point of this hike was reached and the cars and paved road was closer then it was comfortable for him, and only his slow beating heart and his soul whispering to him sweet melodies of freedom and peace did he not turn around a moved back up the mountain to remain there forever.

No he did not . He returned with these vehicle He came from the big city with. He knew that he can not run away, that his patience and inner peace will give him strength and wisdom to walk the path before him. He knew he had to slowly work and advance to the intersection in his life which will bring him to eternal freedom happiness and peace.

His return journey to the city was not, as it usually occurred a sad occurance but instead a voyage of calmness and inner laughter . A stretch of white lined pavement laying ahead of him which will bring him to the place of his residence , the place where he earned his income which was s essential in this society , a place where he would voice his new found path to his friends colleagues and aquantances, The place which would be the place of burning timber bridges, closing doors, shutting windows . A place where he also will find support, where he must begin his new life as his old life will find a closing chapter in, just to scribe a new book.

 

As the new day dawned one peaceful night after he awoke, and here it was again the certainty of change and challenge. The feeling of abundant happiness, the strength of the Chinook and the colour of a pale orange glow, how it only exists up in the north also know as Northern Lights. All this was with him and gave hime the possibility to face the first step…

SHARING HIS PATH WITH PEOPLE HE KNEW. Why was this of importance though? Important because his world consisted of people. He was and will never be a true loner or hermit. Human contact will always be a tremendous part of his life.

 

The story tells Us now that although the people He was aquainted with always seemed supportive but, as one may expect only in the ways of status quo. No this dreamer and romantic will not find the kindred soul in the people he knows here, to be sad sadly, althought so many years and moments where shared , laughter and tears, anger and happiness, seemingly not rooted too deep in their friendships as he only received signs of caution, rethinking or even turning around signs where given to him. But again did he realize how easy it was to walk his path which laid in front of him as if a strong hand paired with wings was guiding him and showing him that his heart was still with the personages of his life and that he understood that only he can surely understand his way to travel.

And so he took the first steps out of this excisting place . The first step to lighten his load to travel lighter and swifter. Some may call it abandonment some will call it Raptor , for him it was just a natural transition..

In the next few days he sold what others called possessions, his car, his furniture his electronics all in a hurry and without the notion of gain, actually more a give away to people who had different needs then he has, a gift, some taken with a smile others with misunderstanding. And disbelief .

He terminated his employment, a step he thought would be the toughest instead it was the easiest as his employer was one entity in his life who actually understood and supported this romantic dreamers decision and encouraged him to walk his way, to travel his path and to never look back or regret, to open his heart and mind to kindred spirits. Indeed he wished him the Best farewell he ever received and our dreamer felt a deep movement in his heart, close to the abundant happiness on top of Big Sister, but different in colour and sent. Love some people call it, he felt, love to a being he never felt closeness with , but still so close to his soul, which filled our dreamer with the light of gratefulness.

This moment our dreamer realized later was indeed, the last necessary sparks of universal energy needed to commence and continue his journey. This moment it was, which he would feel indeed eternal thankfulness for. But this would be another chapter told further beyond .

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Canada, Day hikes, Evening Hikes, Glaciers, hiking, Iceline Trail, International, Little Yoho Valley, Seasons, Yoho National Park

Fourth Part Special places this summer: Yoho National Park

So here we are the next special place in my collection of exceptional hikes in an out of this world setting. Surely many people heard about Yoho National park and if not than definitely about Takkakaw falls, one of the most spectacular sites on this world, with it’s roaring waters, its force when it first meet the step in his path and then continuous as a free falling wall of water until, after it spread out its spray a few hundred meters around itself, it splashes down and turns into a creek.

I will not post pictures of this site here today, but I will speak about the Iceline Trail, or little Yoho valley trail how it is known as well.

This trail commences at Takkakaw falls and climbs up to higher elevations across the valley. It is a loop and experienced hikers can finish it in 4 hrs, but for me it takes at least 6 to 7 hrs as I just have to stop too many times, or just not enough, to really let nature flow through me. Hikers have the choice to start on the north and commence the trail with the hard section first, or to start at the south as we did this is and other times. Most hikers commence at the harder section but I experienced that after traveling from this direction for a long time sometimes the small not so exposed gems in this area are missed.

The path I most often take takes one along the Yoho river, along a old logging road, past 2 other waterfalls, through a wilderness campground and then to one of my favorite places in the Rockies. A place which I only discovered this year although I hiked this trail before:

Duchesne 1Duchesne 2Duchesne Lake:

This lake always captures me and I noticed that also my fellow hikers were extremely touched. Of course these pictures do not do justice to it’s beauty which is ironically influenced by the sight of death beside the main element of life: water!. And I believe this is what capture me all the time. The coexistence of these 2 elements and it’s irony as well as the water actually killed the trees on it’s north shore. This lake almost disappears during the summer month as the melt of and precipitation diminishes, then in fall with more rain and especially in early summer, when the melt off let’s the water rise, the trees on it’s shore drown and leave their beautiful skeletons for Us to see and experience.

Wildflowers 1 YOHOWildflower 2 YOHOFurther along the trail continues through the forest, along one more small lake and then it enters a series of meadows, which in early summer are filled with wildflowers and blooming grasses.

Further on the trail skirts a small water falls which is created by the glacier melt- off up in the higher elevation. This glacier is another highlight on this trail which I will cover later. One other highlight begins after this small waterfall as the trail makes a sharp left turn and a marshy area, another amazing site appears with it’s green grass, the mix of water, vegetation and tall trees, located below the massive side moraine of one of the massive glaciers residing on top of Yoho valley.

Here it is were it get’s apparent that above this calm lush valley of the Yoho river, where thousands of tourists marvel each year in it’s so picturesque and innocent beauty, lies a massive force which turned the upper elevation for hundreds of years into a dessert like area. There the rocks are exposed, scree is seen everywhere and the water from the glaciers continues to erode the earth even more and expose more polished rock.

Marsh And this is the main reason why I can not spend enough time in the Yoho National park, as it possesses this roughed beauty which gives hopefully all of Us the inside that we are just this small part of this planet.

Growing in the harshest environment

Growing in the harshest environment

A small part of it’s nature and processes but that we have such a big influence if we are not respecting nature and by respecting I mean to actually see it the way it is. A functioning organism, a life being which in it’s entire being seems so strong and indestructible, but it’s small parts are so sensitive and fragile just like this one example:

This little spruce tree is growing on the foot of one of the glaciers. I have seen this tree the first time 5 years ago as it was just emerging above the small white rock on the right, it slowly pushed into the light, and now after all these years it grew just 9.5 cm, a indication how hard this environment really is. Hopefully no hiker will step on it one day and finishes it’s young fragile life. I will check on him again next sum me and hopefully he gained another centimeter or so of hight.

GlaciersIMG_9428As the trail continuous and we are passing by more and more beauty it can very well happen that all our senses are overfilled or overwhelmed with all the impressions this natural wonder holds.

This is not a statement it is a fact.

One of my guests suffered under sensory overload and his whole being changes from a curious watcher to somebody who keeps his eyes down, slows down his walk and was sometimes even disoriented, yes it can happen and I wish sometimes I could take pictures which could reflect what this one guest saw. But even the best pictures, with the best camera can not reflect what our eyes can see, so there fore I only can show a small peace of this beautiful place:

There’s only one more piece of nature I would like to speak about, one which so many people never touched, even never got close enough to really see and fell it’s magic, it’s power and it’s majestic beauty:

Glaciers I talk about.

P1040862P1040903The forming force in the Rockies and one of the many reasons why the Rockies were declared a World heritage Site and why they are the Magnet for millions of tourists each year and one more reasons why my heart and soul belongs in the mountains.

These natural monuments of Ice. Slow moving, ever changing silent giants and witnesses of history and events which are almost forgotten by so many.

The pure Glacier ice

The pure Glacier ice

At the foot of of of the glaciers

At the foot of of of the glaciers

They bare the stories of the indigenous people of this country even only as one of the forming factor of this land, they give life, influence the climate, make Us laugh, sometimes cry and for sure demand a lot of respect. But even this massive power in these giants are they our friends, as we can travel on them, marvel at them and can enjoy the rich water they gift us and marvel at their beauty.

IMG_9428

And this is how I will end this post but I promise a picture post in the next few days with my complete collection of the Iceline Trail.

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Banff, Day hikes, hiking, Lake Bourgeau, Mt Bourgeau, National parks, Professional Guiding, Seasons

Third part Special places this summer: Banff

Here is the third part of my five part series about my special places which I visited this summer during my guiding work in the Rocky Mountains and other places.

I have a very strong connection to Banff as so many other people on this world as well.

Banff has a atmosphere of everlasting timeless beauty, it’s inhabitants are extremely unique not only in the regard of social interaction but also the complete outlook in life is different: The mountains capture the soul of the people here and not money or success. All my friends here work in the mountain industry in one way or the other, but more of this later.

If the possibility arises I hopefully can call this wonderful place my home. As I mentioned in a earlier Blog, Jasper would be my ultimate place to life but as the town is small and absolute pristine, so many people would like to do same as I and especially in winter is it very hard to find employment in Jasper.

So as we all have to do some times: Keep your dream and have patience in choosing the second most favorite place on earth to live.

Johnston 1Johnston Canyon 2One of the most impressive although visited by thousands of tourists each season is definitely Johnson Canyon close to Banff on HWY 1a westbound.

Johnston canyon is created by Johnston Creek which originates north of Castle Mountain in a glacial valley southwest of Badger Pass and south of Pulsatilla Pass, at an elevation of 2,500 meters (8,200 ft). The creek flows southeast between Helena Ridge and the Sawback Range, and then south through a gorge known as Johnston Canyon. The stream empties into the Bow River, south of Castle Mountain, between Banff and Lake Louise, at an elevation of 1,440 meters (4,720 ft)

The trail is easy to be accessed with a huge parking lot with bathrooms and information booth. Most part of the trail is constructed with paved walkways, elevated boardwalks which are connected as a steel construction to the canyon walls. Several bridges connect over the creek to one cave at the lover falls which is a must see. Just be aware that you wear rain proof clothing as the spray from the falls will otherwise soak you through and through.

Johnston canyon 3I am always asked why this canyon is so special to me. There are several reasons.

My first hikes in the National Parks with CORA in Calgary brought me to this place in 2003 and we left Calgary early at 05:00 so to be there before the first tourists arrived.

The pure constructive power of Johnston Creek, the stone formations created, and the different vegetation touch me immediately and here began my love for the Rocky mountains and hiking in General.

Another reason is that when ever I brought international visitors to this place, I saw and heard sounds of wonder so many times and it made me aware that this place is not only special to me but to others as well.

Although the water is raging through this gorge most of time does this setting give peace and calm to most of it’s visitors if their mind is open to it.

Happy germans in Johnston Canyonold-mans-beard-lichenMy first group this season was from Germany and we arrived in Banff just the day before and all members where so excited and somehow nervous about their coming 4 week adventure that I choose this place to first introduce them here to the wonders of the Rocky Mountains as well as to expose them to the calming effects of this natural wonder.

The effect was marvelous. The further we went into the canyon the more the group slowed down and the more often did they stop to take pictures and to marvel at the sights and sounds.

One very calming effect on this hike is the presence of tree lichens, another natural wonder which I will explore later more.

 

At this point we arrive at one other impressive place in Banff National Park: Lake Bourgeau and Harvey Pass:

The trail to this wonderful place commences at HWY 1 (Trans Canada Highway) west of Banff. To access the trailhead one has to cross the Highway to the north side. A small washroom is available for technical breaks before the hike.

The trail itself winds for the first 4 kilometers through a dense forest with not so many view but a great example of the dense healthy forests in the Rocky Mountains.

After this section the first extremely beautiful and inspiring part off this hike emerges.

Falls at BourgeauCrossing the creekA long stepped waterfall which originates at lake Bourgeau and its beauty congers even the most occupied minds maybe because just as we turn a left corner it appears as a magic place (picture on the right) and most of them time the only sounds one hears is the roaring water and the Ohhs and Ahhs from the ones seeing it for the first or even the twentiest time, as it always happens to me.

The trail descents to the bottom of the falls and after an easy crossing (picture on the left) it ascents again further towards Lake Bourgeau at the base of Mount Bourgeau. This section is quite strenuous especially at the parts where the trail has a steepness of 20 to 22 degrees, and it makes it’s way over roots as well as rocks. But even for the most unexperienced hikers, some of my participants are part of this group, the reward at the end of the strenuous section is worth the effort and energy consumption.

Wild flowers IMG_0330Lake Bourgeau is nestled at the bottom of Mt Bourgeau where it’s steep flanks create a bowl like shape. At the lake’s rocky shore, hikers are welcomed by pikas, golden-mantled ground squirrels, chipmunks, and white-tailed ptarmigan. Through late July and August, colourful wildflowers bloom in the meadow.

 

The meadow itself commences about 900 meters from the lake and no matter in what season the sight is just incredible and at one time I have even seen a lonely white tale deer grassing. Depending on the season as well is the color of the lake itself.

Lake BourgeauI’ve seen it deep blue, emerald like or even the deepest green imaginable, but no matter which color it presents the effect on all visitors at this site is the same.

Everyone stops in Awe, and I never met anyone who did not just rest at this place be it for minutes or hours (which I do :)) and in this minutes the calmness and serenity of this place enters your soul and mind. It let’s you get still and so many things which seem to be so important just vanish and are replaced by peace and reflection.

For myself it is the place of automatic meditation and I always sprinkle some of the lakes water on my face and neck to absorb its tremendous energy which can flow through you like the touch of a loved one.

Rock TrailBare rock sampleAnd so it seems that’s all the beauty on this hike, but venturing further towards Harvey Pass emerges another beauty: The roughness of the bare rocks in the Rockies.

This beauty creates respect for the natures forces which were at work here to create this environment. The trail changes from earthy surface to loose rock with a gradient of  18 to 20 degrees, and combined with the heat we experienced during this July hike, the rocks reflected the sun’s heat and one person told me me :”Just like entering a desert after the rain forest.”

 

 

High lakerestAfter 3.4 km from the lake we reached a flat area about 150 meters lower than Harvey pass, where Chipmunks and even a Marmot joined us on our journey until we reached another lake, or some people say a pond, but no matter what the definition, this body of water is always one of the most mesmerizing creations in this area (picture, the bowl in the background houses Lake Bourgeau).

Harvey PassFrom this beautiful lake the trail ventures up another 150 meters up through semi try area to finally reach the destination of this hike on Harvey pass where the amazing 160 degree view invites everybody for a lengthy rest, and the energy one spent on the ascent is replenished by the clean air the view and the cleansing wind from the south, some of them originating a beautiful Mt Assiniboine.

Fool

 

Sometimes it even invites to do some fun or crazy acrobatic poses, like the one on the Left.

Well here I am again. At the end of my account of this location in Banff National park. Just one of the great places i will tell about in the next future to come.

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Guests, hiking, International, Jasper, National parks, Professional Guiding, Seasons

Second part Special places of this last summer: Jasper

IMG_0587Usually I do not start my Blogs with any picture but today I will because it is on my mind that the beauty of this place which I will describe here can be appreciated by all.

The place I am speaking about is Wilcox Pass in Jasper National Park, Canada

Hopefully some of readers had the chance to visit this special place in the Rocky Mountains  nestled just across the Athabasca Glacier, also known as the Columbia Icefield, is this paradise like spot which is especially so stunning as it is easy to reach and it also speaks to all 5 known and as well the sixth sense which ever this is for you.

Misty tree WilcoxThe beginning of the hike to still special place commences just a few km’s south of the Columbia Icefield, on HWY 93 at the Wilcox creek campground entrance. The first hundred meters are placed in a deep forest where roots and rocks are dominant. the atmosphere in this part reminded me every time of an ancient rainforest although the climate is totally different. This sensation may derive from my sixth sense which is so strongly connected to nature with all it’s components that I sometimes pick up short message from the trees and ground.

Maybe this is as about 400 years ago this area was completely covered with glacier Ice and one small pond at the right of the trail reminds of this fact.

Big Horn Sheep on Wilcox Pass TrailAfter approximately 1000 m the forest opened up to a wonderful meadow like part of this hike which opens also a great view of the Columbia Icefields as well as the possibility of some wildlife viewing. The trail winds from here along the edge of a cliff band and then eastward higher up to the Wilcox pass.

All along this trail gives Us the chance to see the Columbia Icefield from different angles was we climb higher towards the pass itself.

Wild Flower WilcoxDuring the different times in Summer and fall as I seen this place did not only the views of the glacier chance but also the place itself. In spring there where wildflowers starting to grow, the grass slowly turned green and the little inhabitants such as Pikas, Ground squirrels and such started to emerge into the open to celebrate the season.

Athabasca WilcoxThen in summer the flowers are in great bloom, the glacier is glowing and glistening in the sun and the bigger animals such as the Big Horn Sheep emerge and take over their territory which is too often shared with humans.

To further describe this trail with words is hard, as sometimes words are just not enough filled with meaning and the only difference from here on lies in the different angles of view and the different seasons.

So I will just add a few more pictures , especially some with the great and somehow important people for me:

IMG_0581IMG_9543The first picture is taken with a group from France during this the fall this season and the the second one with a group of German visitors in summer.

The following pictures are my absolute favorites from this hike.

Hopefully you all will enjoy and if you ever have the chance to visit this part of the Rocky Mountain parks, sent me your thoughts and impressions.

Columbia Icefields from Wilcox Creek

Columbia Icefields from Wilcox Creek

IMG_0590 IMG_0595 IMG_0601

I will add a further part of my adventures in a few days. So long enjoy and never stop dreaming

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Banff, Day hikes, Evening Hikes, Guests, hiking, International, Jasper, National parks, Professional Guiding, Shoulder season, Tofino, Uncategorized

Summary of my Summer season

Yes it’s true the summer hiking season is over, winter is on our door steps here in Alberta and we are in mid of the so called Shoulder season, a time when the mornings a chill, the weather is unpredictable and the mountains above 1600 m are snow covered.

1977 GMC 25 Vandura

1977 GMC 25 Vandura

This time of the year also means that “my” professional season as hiking guide is finished and I am traveling through western Canada until I start my winter employment.

My summer season was an exceptional adventure and I can not wait until the following summer begins again. I met people from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium and Spain, from all walks of life, in all age groups from 18 to 72 and all characters one can imagine walking this earth.

I traveled through all Rocky Mountain Parks, Banff NP, Lake Louise, Jasper NP, Kootenay NP, Yoho NP, northern British Columbia. My voyages made me spent twice 16 hours on the Inside passage ferry from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy BC on the wonderful Vancouver Island, I traveled the Island from North to South, East to West and seen only some of the attractions, this wonderful country Canada has to offer .

IMG_8863I imagined when I started this season that I would have some favorite places in the mountains by now, but it is hard to say.  I hiked the trails I knew from before, I hike some new ones and each day there was one trail, one spot on one trail, or one reaction by my guests at a certain time which made so many places special.

Another factor is the change of the season. Some trails are more beautiful in June some in September and some are as beautiful throughout the year in different aspects, so do I have a favorite hiking spot?: No

IMG_8764Do I have a favorite area I like to hike? : Yes Mount Robson PP, as well as Vancouver Island (south and west coast) are my favorite, this year I have to say, as I do not know if it will change during next years season.

Do I have favorite impressions from this season: Yes.

These impressions are so many. Some are connected to people some to the weather or some events.

There are these Big Horn Sheep 30 m from us On Wilcox Pass Trail.Big Horn Sheep on Wilcox Pass Trail

There’s the bald headed eagle swimming to safety close to Tofino after catching a fish which is to heavy for him to lift.Swimming Bal Eagle

There’s the crab on Grand Beach close to Tofino:

On Grand Beach Tofino BC

On Grand Beach Tofino BC

And there’s the people, the expressions of sentiments when looking around the corner or past a tree on the trail and seeing their first mountain lake, or the first wild animal.

The surprises one gets when getting up in the morning after the guest first night in a tent  since 20 years, the surprise when I served cakes baked on the campfire or made blueberry pancakes at 600 in the morning.

The biggest surprise though was one of my guest who became just to overwhelmed on the 10th day of our 14th day journey together.

We’ve seen Banff, Lake Louise and all it’s known beauty and spent our second day in Yoho National park. It was a wonderful morning with fresh temperatures in mi July and the forecast promised to be beautiful. We planned to enjoy the Ice-line trail starting in YOHO valley.

Mystic

Mystic

We parked at the Hostel acces road and commenced our hike through the valley, passing Takakkaw falls, wlked along the creeks shore and made a small detour to Lake Dushene, a lake hidden in the trees and skirted on the south side with a number of dead trees still standing and giving the feel of serenity.

We just reached the lake and out of the 4 people in my group one of them just stopped on the spot where we came out of the trees and he did not wanted to go further. After a few moments he joined me and the others and he just said “Genug Roland , Ich kann keine schoenen Eindruecke mehr verkraften ” In english, “enough Roland I can’t take anymore beautiful impressions”.

We all laughed and thought it was a joke, but no, later on during the day as we reached the highest elevation on the Ice- Line trail we realized that he really suffered under sensory overload. He was disoriented quite and kept his eyes down most of the time. I know it sounds weird but that was the biggest compliment I received during these 4 month of professional hiking.

!!!

!!!

One more thing I realized is the dependance of my guests during al these trips. All guest, especially these ones from Germany looked to me for absolutely everything, the places to eat, the trails to take and even where to place their feet. This surprised me as german tourist are usually the best prepared adventurers one can meet on the trails. I believe the biggest difference is that with the booking of a group holiday the personal independents get’s left behind and for this I admire these persona’s my guest and I feel honored in the strongest way possible.

And to close this short summary, there is more to come in my next blog, the essence of Guiding professionally is also to give up yourself and be there for your guests totally and without compromise (except maybe between 10pm and 6am LOL)

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Animal Kill, Black Bear, Day hikes, hiking, Jasper, Uncategorized

Small account of a hike in Jasper AB

Finally after years of mental preparation and time well spent in the mountains, I am finally living my dream. I commenced my official carreer as a Interpretative Mountain Guide in the canadian Rockies.

At Mid May I travelled to Banff, Alberta to take a 4 day course, Interpretative Guiding and Group management which is a requiremnet of parks Canada to guide international tourist in the Rocky Mountain parks. the course took place in the HI Hostel Alpine centre on Tunnel mountain.

I returned to Calgary after the 4 days in banff and made my way to Edmonton via Greyhound bus service. I met my college  Felix, a young German from Northern Germany. He will be working with me as a guide at Timberwolf Tours as well and we ventured on together to Edmonton

Our boss Corinna welcomed us in Edmonton and brought us to our home for the next few weeks, The Guide cabin at Timberwolf Tours.

felix Fuge and me

felix Fuge and me

We settled in and enjoyed the summer Evening with a few beers and good home made food.

The next few days we were busy getting the last obstacles to perform our job out of the way as obtaining our No 4 Alberta license which gives us the right to drive passenger busses with up to 24 passengers excluding the driver.

IMG_7487

The full moon

At On our 2nd day in Edmonton we were joined by 2 of our colleges Maria and Rene, arriving from the east Coast as well as Germany.  Both had to travel to Jasper the coming Saturday to attend their Interpretive Hiking Guide course, and as I had time on hand and the strong Urge to see the mountains, I decided to join them for a 4 day trip to Jasper. We had a enjoyable drive along Hwy 16 with a spectacular moon rise.

 

 

Totem pole in Jasper

Unesco world heritage sight

Unesco world heritage sight

Jasper is a real Gem in the canadian Rockies with stunning  and the play of the clouds in the sky which is always reminding  me how insignificant  we are compared to nature’s strength and might.

 

On the second day of our time here, I decided to head out and enjoy a small hike along the Trail of the 5 lakes hike which is located 7 km south of our campground (Whistler) along the Icefield highway. The trail is considered a medium trail with 4.5  km return distance and a elevation gain of 60 m. The weather was beautiful with 20 degrees and partial cloudiness. the route takes one from the parking lot through a beautiful dense Forest with light ups and downs to 5 different unnamed lakes which lay in one line from south east to north west.

The beginning of the trail

The beginning of the trail

First Lake

First Lake

The trail is a nice walk with pretty views along the lakes and a early abundance of wild flowers and young shrubs. Not to spectacular but enjoyable to get some fresh air.

 

 

 

 

 

Hair and skeleton remains

Hair and skeleton remains

 

 

 

 

Dear remains on trail

Dear remains on trail

My walk became a bit more interesting as I came upon a fresh kill site.The interesting part of this find is that some flesh was still attached to the skeleton which indicated it’s freshness. This again raises awareness that the wilds of this landscape are present and danger may be lurking around the corner.

Sleeping beauty in the brush

Sleeping beauty in the brush

To just emphasize this I encounter just a few hundred meters away another reminder. I was just hiking along and taking in the wonderful colors of the Lake below me, as I realist that just on my left a crop out and cliff was located, I usually take these opportunities to create some scary looking self portraits over the edge of a cliff. As I checked the hight and terrain my eye caught a sleeping black bear curled in the brush below.

Jasper national park is known for it’s abundance of wildlife and it was no surprise for me to make this sighting.  I checked at this moment the wind direction and was aware that the wind was facing me which ensured that my own scent would not be carried towards the creature.  I returned out of safety reasons in the direction I came and made fellow hikers on the trail aware of the presence of a bear. After leaving the trail head I also informed Parks Canada of the sighting.

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Calgary Outdoor Recreation Association, CORA, Evening Hikes, hiking, Kananaskis county, scrambling, Shoulder season, Uncategorized

Prairie Mountain Night Hike 04.04.2013

As spring is making its way slowly into beautiful Alberta it was time to commence with some conditioning for the coming Hiking and Scrambling Season as well as to prepare for my upcoming assignment as a professional hiking guide for Timberwolf Tours in June of this year. I organized this Evening hike as a volunteer organizer for the Calgary Outdoor Recreation Association (CORA).

The last meters before the meadow

The last meters before the meadow

Banded Peak in the far south

Banded Peak in the far south

Here are a few facts about Prairie Mountain: The trail is an unofficial trail  and has become the spring conditioner before the winter gates open on Hwy 66 which gives access to some more hikes such as Powderface Ridge and Nihahi Ridge. Access to these hikes is closed from December 1st to May 15th.

The last push to the summit at 1km distance

The last push to the summit at 1km distance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The elevation gain is 716 m with the highpoint at 2210 m above sea level. the first 350 vertical meters is a corkscrewing trail up the southeast face of the mountain. At the midpoint the trail flattens out on rocky terrain , followed by the last step push up to the wind-buffeted meadows.

The big brother of prairie mountain. (Iyarhe wida tagichuwaga) Stoney

The big brother of prairie mountain. (Iyarhe wida tagichuwaga) Stoney

Nihahi ridge in the west

Nihahi ridge in the west

 

 

 

 

 

 

From there the final ascent is quite easy until you reach the cairn. From here the views are quite substantial. On clear days you can see Calgary to the East in the distance and , Moose Mountain in the North, Nihahi ridge in the West, and Banded Peak in the south. Today was a more overcast day with patches of fog so our visibility was not as good as other days.

It was a great hike with eight fellow hikers including experienced scramblers, a mountain runner and mostly leisure hikers like myself.

Happy hikers

Happy hikers

 

 

 

The trail itself was in a typical condition for Alberta spring, with Snow, Ice covered sections as well as bare rock and mud. The steepest sections were snow and Ice covered and we needed our Micro Spikes for most of the way

Muddy and snowy conditions

Muddy and snowy conditions

 

 

Our first group member arrived at the summit after 47 minutes and myself with taking pictures and “smelling the roses” after 1 hr and 20 minutes. The usual time for this trail, especially with good trail conditions is about 1 hr and 15 for some trail runners under 1 hr.

We spent a few minutes on the windy summit and enjoyed the wonderful clean air and the stunning views over the foothills and the Western range of the Rocky Mountains.

Dusk and mountains

Dusk and mountains

As we commenced our decent the light reached dusk conditions which brought out the contrast between the  rock and the snow of the surrounding mountains.

Beauty

Beauty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Half into our descent we had to use our headlights to descent safely over snow ice and rock. We all took our time and enjoyed the peace and tranquility of this wonderfull part of nature.

We had a very pleasant temperature of about 4 degrees throughout our outing and it was one of the first days when a cap and gloves were not really needed except at the summit were the strong SW wind created some chilled moments.

After a beautiful 2 1/2 hours on the trail we reached the closed off portion of Hwy 66 and made our way back to our cars, which will carry Us back to reality, the city it’s lights and noises, until the weekend when we will venture out again to our favorite playground the Rocky Mountains.

The winter closure gate at HWY 66

The winter closure gate at HWY 66

On the closed section of HWY 66

On the closed section of HWY 66

 

 

 

 

 

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