Saturday, September 25, 2021

The Rockies Diary, Week 16: Ha Ling Peak and a Visit from Family

August 9, 2021 - August 15, 2021

Ha Ling Peak - Another incredible hike in the books!

On August 9, Nicole and I met up with Issam, a guy we found in one of the hiking groups.  The three of us headed out fairly early to conquer Ha Ling and witness some breathtaking views of Canmore and its surrounding areas.  This was the first hike I did that involved a scramble at the top and it was quite intimidating and a challenge seeing as I was just hiking in my running shoes.  Regardless, I managed to make it to the top!

That same day, my mom and sister arrived in Canmore for a two day visit (but more on that down below).

Later that evening, my mom and sister arrived in Canmore and we headed out for dinner at my favourite Thai restaurant.

On August 10, the next morning, we started our day bright and early by taking the shuttle to Lake Louise.  My first time at Lake Louise was with Nicole and this time around it was my turn to show my family around the lake.  We hiked to the plain of six glaciers and had lunch at the tea house.  Unfortunately, that was where my beloved Canmore cap blew away because of how insanely windy it was :( We were quite exhausted after our long hike, but we still mustered the energy to head over to Moraine Lake for a quick visit.

On August 11, we decided to take it easy and not do any intense hikes.  So, our first stop was to Johnston Canyon and a quick stop at Lake Minnewanka.  Then we spent a couple hours swimming in Johnson Lake and enjoying the warm sun.  Exhausted ones again, we treated ourselves to Cow's ice cream once we got back to downtown Banff. But it didn't end there!  We really wanted to try canoeing seeing as none of us have ever done that before.  So we rented a canoe and spent an hour trying to navigate our way around the river in our kayak.  What fun :) For dinner we went to my beloved Magpie and Stump.

Thai House Restaurant
Lake Louise
Chateau Fairmount @ Lake Louise
Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House
Plain of Six Glaciers
Moraine Lake
Johnston Canyon
Lake Minnewanka
Bow River Rafting

Friday, September 24, 2021

The Rockies Diary, Week 15: 23km Hike at Lake Louise

August 2, 2021 - August 8, 2021

On August 3rd, Nicole and I headed out to Lake Louise and spent the entire day hiking a total of 23km. We started by hiking to the Plain of Six Glaciers and had lunch at the Tea House.  Then we hiked up to the Big Beehive and back down through Lake Agnes.  What an exhausting day it was, but incredibly rewarding.

This was also Kate's last week before heading back to Ontario :(  So, celebrated our time together by going out on Friday night to the Drake's (our usually hangout).  And the next day we all got a fish and chips dinner from Hogshead and sundaes from Sweet Revenge.

Lake Louise
Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House
Plain of Six Glaciers
Big Beehive Lookout on to Lake Louise
Stellar's Jay
Sweet Revenge

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The Rockies Diary, Week 14: Solo Road Trip to Yoho and Jasper National Parks

 July 26, 2021 - August 1, 2021

I can count on one hand the number of times I have driven a car my only myself in it.  Yet, I somehow spontaneously found the courage to rent a car and go on my first solo road trip.  In total, I clocked 800 kms and definitely overplayed my playlist to the point where I always think about the long drives I did on this trip, whenever I play it.

Solo travelling was really freeing.  I set my own schedule and chose where I wanted to go.  My only regret was not being able to do it for more than two days.  There will always be more hikes to do.

To preface, I took my trip during a month when the forest fires were quit terrible, so my pictures don't always have the clearest view of the mountains.  Regardless, I managed to see some amazing views and landmarks.

On July 26, I began my journey from Banff to Golden, BC where the Skybridge is located.  I didn't realize how nonchalant it was to cross a provincial border.  In fact, I nearly missed the sign that welcomed me in to British Colombia.  

After two rounds of the Skybridge, I headed into Yoho National Park, my first stop being at Mount Paget.  Once I reached the lookout - with the mini hut - I cracked open a can of beans and ate them out of the can.  It's one of those camping rituals that I'd never done before, but seemed like something you have to do at least once in your life time.

Next, I drove up to Emerald lake (including a mini hike to Hamilton Falls).  Emerald lake is so gorgeous and I with I had the whole day to spend there.  Unfortunately the sun was already starting to set and I wanted to head back to my fancy campground.  However, I did manage to dip my toes in the lake, which was freezing cold should you ask.

In terms of sleeping arrangements, I booked a slot at the Kicking Horse campground.  I wasn't sure where I could park and sleep in my car overnight for free, so I splurged on a nice slot and had the luxury of taking a hot shower.

On July 27, I started my day early and headed to Takakkaw Falls.  Again, I wish I could have spent longer there because there was a hike I wanted to do.  But the waterfall itself was worth it and I was the only one there because I came early.

And now we began our journey to Jasper through the Icefield Parkway!  With only a map of all the along the way, and not much of a plan in mind, I began my drive to Jasper, the first stop being to Herbert Lake.  It was a gorgeous area and I thought perhaps I could get an early morning swim in.  But a few seconds after wadding into the freezing cold water I new I wasn't going to last much longer.

A common theme for this day was visiting a lot of canyons and waterfalls.  You could easily spend hours just sitting by them and being mesmerized by their roaring sounds and force as they make their way down.  Some notable ones that I saw were: Mistaya Canoyon, Tangle Falls, and Athabasca Falls.

By the time I got to Mount Edith Cavell, it was close to sunset and I only managed to hike the very first bit of the trail.  However, more notably, that's were I witnessed my first avalanche!

But by far, my favourite stop was Bow Lake.  I loved it so much when I first visited it in the morning, that I drove all the way back down to specifically sleep in my car there and wake to the gorgeous view and colony of birds that live there.

I had so much fun on my solo trip and it really gave me the confidence to do more solo exploring.  My move to Canmore also showed me that I can just pick up my life and start somewhere else if I really want to.

Golden Skybridge
Mount Paget Lookout
Spruce Grouse
Emerald Lake
Takakkaw Falls
Herbert Lake
Mistaya Canyon
Bow Lake
Tangle Falls
Icefield Glaciers
Mount Edith Cavell
Athabasca Falls