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Showing posts from November, 2012

Sulphur Skyline summit and Miette Hot Springs

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".....the closest to heaven that I'll ever be, And I don't wanna go home right now"
Ok, I apologise for the fragrant rip off of "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls but the above line (albeit taken a fair way out of context) almost perfectly sums up how I felt sat on the summit of the Sulphur Ridge at 9am on the morning of the 24th of September 2012.

Sulphur Skyline trail - 9.6km

Starting from the car park at Miette hot springs (around 45 minutes drive from Jasper) early on the morning of the 24th of September we looked up at the wooded slopes leading up to the steep rocky ridge line silhouetted against the grey morning sky.


The whole round trip of around 9.5km gains over 700m of elevation and it's  fairly steep in places, especially the last section above the alpine meadow which turns into a rocky path to the summit.

The first section of the path (a few hundred metres) are paved and are, apparently, popular in the summer months and later in the day but starting bef…

Plain of 6 Glaciers Walk and Tea House

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20th September 2012, Alberta, Canada

There was a subtle difference to the morning of Thursday 20th September 2012; we'd woken up in a tent, again, still in Canada (Lake Louise Camp-site in the Alberta Rockies to be precise) and it was cold, about zero again, but promised to be clear and hot (around 28C) - the difference today was that I woke up with an incredibly painful back.  I have no idea how I managed to do whatever I did to my back but needless to say that thoughts of total inactivity and reading book after book on my kindle were running through my mind!

After a painful breakfast and probably too many Ibuprofen we decided to head back to Lake Louise and to walk the "moderate" 5.5km (each way) walk up to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House with a possible extension to get a closer view of the Victoria Glacier.


So with the early morning mists rising off Lake Louise we started to make our way along the trail that leads alongside the lake before heading up into the sub-…

Fairview Mountain - 19th September 2012

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Fairview Mountain - 19th September 2012

Standing at an impressive 2,744 meters above sea level Fairview Mountain was our first "real" mountain hike - no cable cars but as you start from the Lake Louise car park there are plenty of tourists around and we opted to start early for our "summit bid"!

6am dawned clear, crisp and cold and we cooked breakfast in down jackets under the stark light of our head torches - then, with coffee mugs steaming we headed off for the short trip in the car to the Lake Louise car park.

As we kitted up for the walk the words of our Scottish mountaineering skills instructor, Ron, sprang to mind: "be bold, start cold". Now this may seem a bit clich├ęd and daft to a fair few people but walking up mountains generates a lot of body heat and that, coupled with the day time temperatures that we were experiencing,  makes for a very unpleasant experience.  So shivering slightly we headed off on the well marked track to the Fairview Mounta…

18th September - Lake Louise & Takakkaw Falls

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Now those of you that have been to Lake Louise will know that the experience is somewhat bitter sweet as you have the majestic lake surrounded by towering, snow capped, mountains and then a (in my opinion) hideous eye sore that is the "Chateau Lake Louise" hotel - a monstrous, sprawling, complex that seems to draw the eye away from the stunning scenery if you are unfortunate enough to catch it in your peripheral vision.

But lets not get bogged down by the hotel!  The lake itself is pretty amazing, located in Banff National Park around 5km away from the Hamlet of Lake Louise and named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta the 4th daughter of Queen Victoria.
The lake, like many in the area, takes on the emerald colour from the "rock flower" which is carried into the lake from melt waters that comes from the glaciers surrounding the lake.

We arrived at Lake Louise early on the 18th and this was fortuitous as there were already a few coach loads of tourists taking pi…

Johnson Canyon, Sulphur Mountain & Sanson's Peak

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Monday 17th September 2012, Sulphur Mountain


A big day that dawned crisp and clear, if a little chilly (0C at best!).  Our plan was to head over to Johnston Canyon (wiki) and take in the waterfall before heading to Sulphur Mountain (2,451m) (wiki) for the 5.5km (each way) slog up to the cable car station and then the short walk to the summit of Sanson's peak finishing with a welcome dip in the Bannf Upper Hot Springs (wiki).


After one of the best breakfasts that I've ever had while camping we set off to Johnston Canyon - this canyon and the resulting waterfalls are where the Johnston Creek has forced its way through the rock over time on it's journey to meet up with the mighty Bow River.


The waterfalls themselves are quite impressive and there is a natural cave, made by the water from the main fall forcing through the rock over thousands of years, that you can walk through and view the waterfall crashing into the pool only meters away.   We were lucky that, as we'd set of…