Wilcox Pass Trail in the Canadian RockiesPosted: January 18, 2013 Filed under: Canadian Rockies | Tags: Alberta, Canada, Canadian Rockies, forests, Icefields Parkway, meadows, mountains, nature, Rockies, Rocky Mountains, Wilcox Pass Trail Leave a comment
I’ve been thinking again about my time in the Canadian Rockies this past September. One of our favourite trails was the Wilcox Pass Trail off the Icefields Parkway, just south of the Columbia Icefield. We only had time to walk the start of it—an hour and a half in total— because we had a long drive ahead of us. Someday we’d love to return and hike the entire trail.
The path climbs pretty quickly, through forest, to a ridge where you can look down over the Parkway on one side and up across meadows to mountains on the other. These are wonderful sweeping views of the land.
We saw several other people out enjoying the day. One we spoke to was a man from Homer, Alaska who told us that this past winter had brought extremely heavy snow to his home. What a contrast with Toronto which, last year, had only a dusting of snow and which, up to now, has had only a few melted inches.
Athabasca FallsPosted: December 11, 2012 Filed under: Canadian Rockies, Water | Tags: Alberta, Athabasca Falls, beauty, Canada, Canadian Rockies, Icefields Parkway, Jasper, nature, rock, Rocky Mountains, Toronto, water Leave a comment
On this, another day of grey skies in Toronto, I have returned to memories of the Rocky Mountains in September. One of my favourite places was 30 kms south of Jasper, Alberta, off the Icefields Parkway—Athabasca Falls. We went there twice, the second time on a day when we were not exhausted by beauty and could take leisurely time there.
Here’s a few photos of the rocks and the water that has shaped them over time. A wonderful and healing tonic!
Peyto LakePosted: November 24, 2012 Filed under: Canadian Rockies, Plant Life, Water | Tags: Alberta, Banff National Park, beauty, Canada, Canadian Rockies, conifers, fir, forest, glacier, Icefields Parkway, mountains, nature, Peyto Glacier, Peyto Lake, Rocky Mountains, spruce, trees Leave a comment
We had heard that Peyto Lake was a beautiful spot, so we turned off the Icefields Parkway 40 kms after its southernmost end to see the lake. The trail was steep but not too long. We took our time, among other travelers, walking up to the Bow Summit, past many fir and spruce trees. Interpretive signs pointed out the differences between these two most prevalent conifers prompting us to attempt to identify which tree we were near at any one time. This became a playful exercise throughout our trip. I am very much in the dark about so much of what I see in nature and wanted to begin learning even the simplest of things to enlarge my horizons. I believe the photo I’m including of conifers on the trail shows a subalpine fir in the centre.
When we arrived at the lookout point, we joined our fellow hikers to look out on the mountains and distinctively shaped blue green lake. For someone like me who has not grown up in such land, the beauty was almost shocking. At the summit was an interpretive sign, this one about the Peyto glacier, which originally carved out the shape of the valley and the bowl of Peyto Lake. During the past century or so, the glacier that once filled the valley has receded about two kilometres. And before the glacier materialized, there stood a forest in its place. This was revealed through the discovery of 3000 year old wood fragments under the ice.
Icefields Parkway, AlbertaPosted: November 20, 2012 Filed under: Animal Life, Canadian Rockies | Tags: Alberta, beauty, bighorn sheep, Bow Lake, Canada, Canadian Rockies, Icefields Parkway, Jasper, Lake Louise, mountains, nature, Num Ti Jah Lodge, rivers, Rocky Mountains, steep incline 2 Comments
The Icefields Parkway in Alberta begins, at its southern end, a little north of Lake Louise. It extends 230 kilometres north to Jasper. We took the Parkway, route 93, twice this past September during our time in the Rockies. Both days were sunny a good bit of the time with the trip northbound being colder. The land that we drove through, stopped and walked in was intensely beautiful. So much so, that although we followed the advice of others and took our time, we were still emotionally exhausted by the time we arrived in Jasper.
Again, many of the photos I took are of mountains whose names I don’t know. However, the force of their beauty has remained with me. I’ll have separate posts on Peyto Lake, Athabasca Falls and Wilcox Pass trail. Among the photos I’ve included today is one of the Bow Lake area plus the sweeping vistas that we looked down upon after the Parkway had climbed and doubled back on itself. These last were some of my favourite views.
I have no photos of a few wonderful minutes on our trip south when many bighorn sheep stopped cars in both directions. The animals crossed the road and leapt over the guardrail proceeding down the side of a steep incline. One, in particular, looked through the car window as I returned his or her gaze. Seeing them was a reminder that we are the migrants in their habitat.