Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Perfection Itself

Yesterday we had a perfect day in the mountains. We took our neighbours up to Monica Meadows, two hours away from here up the Glacier Creek FS Road. It's such a beautiful drive. After arriving at the trailhead, we took about 90 minutes to get to the meadows. Our neighbours are pretty inexperienced hikers and could use a little more practice to really get in shape. Dave and I hiked up to the glacier viewpoint and I took this photo on the hike down from the ridge. The larches were at their autumn peak. The skies were absolutely crystal clear. There was no wind, no insects, and no cloud. A perfect day in the mountains.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Shufflin' Along Through A Day

On our recent trip to the East Koots we had the opportunity to make good use of the ipod. I love it!! It's really an essential piece of travel equipment in the mountains because the radio range is very limited. One thing that I realize that I REALLY like about the ipod is the Shuffle option. I remember hearing Kelley Ryan speaking about the "shuffle conspiracy" she felt her ipod had because it wouldn't play some of her favourite pieces. I've found this ipod isn't too fond of The Stones, but seems to really like Dylan and Paul Simon.
Why I love the shuffle option is that I like a little more variety in music than a whole "album" offers. I like the music, but 3 or 4 songs by one group is enough for me. The ipod delivers. If I get a selection that doesn't interest me at the moment it's a quick job to fast forward to the next choice. Thanks, Scott - the ipod is an important part of my day while preparing meals or travelling through the Koots.

A Fall Day

This a.m. we spent the morning clearing a little more garden space while listening to all the stuff about the world financial crunch on "Sunday Morning". It's almost time to plant the garlic! I did plant 24 daff bulbs throughout the perennial borders and hope the deer will leave them alone.
This p.m. we took a very "ungreen" drive - up a forest service road for 12 km after driving for 30 minutes to get to it. We then hiked into Ross Lake. I'm not too happy with any of my photos, but this avid 12 year old reader made me think of myself and a day I had at Shannon Lake in early August. There's nothing better than a good book with feet dangling in a lake!

Friday, 26 September 2008

How To Sh** In the Alpine - ACC Style

On the heli ride in, the toilets were the first thing that I spotted! The hut is also very visible in our 3.5 minute ride from the FS road to the Conrad Kain Hut. Dave spent the first day with the crew helping to load the "barrels" to fly down to a pumper truck. As an ACC friend in Saskatoon used to say, "now the shit's really flying!"
I do have to give a word of complaint about the Hut bathrooms, however. This hut had a "urine only" toilet very close to the hut and it was fine although if it's icy, one has only to misstep and have a pretty dramatic ride down a mountain. When a rope has to be attached to the hut for people to get out to the bathroom, I think some serious rethinking needs to be done. At least here, women could use this toilet. At the Neil Cogan Hut, women had to brace the winds along a narrow ledge out to the bathroom - I carried in a litre of wine to that hut which I never did drink so I didn't have to use the bathroom!
The picture here is the sh** toilet used by both sexes. I do love the roofline! Again, we had to amble our way through ice, snow and creeks to get to this place of business. The good thing was the absence of cliffs leading to the abyss. The ACC is very generous about flying in lots of wine and beer to keep its crews amused in the evenings, but these trips to the bathroom really put a damper on the whole thing. Maybe its just my age showing!

Two Days in the Bugs

We just spent two and a half days in the Bugaboos of the Purcell Range. Staying at the Conrad Kain Hut, this was our view!! It's stark, dramatic, and I'd have to say "unfriendly". But hey, I'm no rock climber! The time up there was spent doing volunteer work as hut clean up crew. The "guys" worked on the hydro and heating systems, getting them ready for winter. I cleaned the cupboards and swept and washed the floors. It was good to do housework as the heating system wasn't working at all and it was a fine way to keep warm. I didn't have to cook at all and Darren, our trip leader, was most able in the kitchen. As well, how can anyone say anything against a guy who also knits??
Our first day in, Dave and I hiked to the "upper" campground - basically a stone henge and not a place I'd ever want to pitch a tent. The second day, the day we "worked", it snowed off and on all day. On Thursday, our hike out went pretty smoothly even if there are chains to keep you on the trail and a ladder one has to ascend/descend. The heli ride in on Tuesday let us forget about the 700m vertical gain. It's quite a nice trail but not for sissies. It was a cool time in the Bugs - in every possible way.

Friday, 12 September 2008

On A Clear Day

Taking advantage of a high pressure system with lots of clear, sunny weather, yesterday morning we opted to hike up London Ridge. We'd spent a bit of time trying to find the trailhead. When you know where to look, it's so obvious it's embarassing! The hike is rather boring for the first half but once we got above the treeline, had fabulous views. The change of the season is very evident with the blueberry plants putting on a show of red. The reassuring thing about getting to the top of this ridge is that yes, I can still climb 1100m (and get down!) and I could recognize so many landmarks from our hiking this summer. It was lovely to stand up there and see all the places that we got to know during the hiking season this year. It didn't hurt to have skies that reminded me of prairie skies, too. We really could see "clear to the horizon".

Road Trip to Robson

Many readers knew that I had planned to hike the Berg Lake Trail with my family. This picture of Kinney Lake, shows the low level of fog and mist that we experienced - hence, no heli ride to the top of the trail. We walked the Overlander Falls Trail instead and then took Mum and Dad out for their 66th wedding anniversary, celebrating in Valemont. The next day (the day of the photo) we opted to hike half of the Berg Lake Trail so that we could do 24 km and see much of the area. We had mixed weather conditions and a perfect temperature for hiking. The day had its own share of adventures, but we did all get to White Falls (at about km 12) and my 88-year old Dad didn't blink at the length of the journey. My next plan for him is Monica Meadows, one of the nicest hikes in the Koots. Another good thing about this road trip was getting reacquainted with Wells Gray, where a new hiking friend took us up Trophy Mountain and the largest mountain meadow I've ever seen.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Because We Can

I had lunch with 8 other retired teachers today, the first day of school in B.C. We did it "because we can" - a nice mix of people and I felt a bit like Mallory when asked why he would climb Everest: "because it's there." This may be a yearly thing and it would be a nice tradition to maintain along with my THWTB tours. It looks as if I'm one of the few remaining Kaslo "on call" teachers this year - one got a job and 4 others have truly retired and taken themselves off the list. I hardly know what to expect from those changes.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Hello September

Even when I was working, September has been one of my favourite months. Today we went off with the "Sunday" hikers to head into Krao Lake and beyond. The rain started at about the time we got on the trail and you can see the snow that came down as we approached the lake. We didn't go beyond. Pretty much hiked the entire thing in a mix of rain and snow. Had a couple of very nice views of Kootenay Lake in its southern entirety although the fog was hanging above it and it was a bit difficult to get a good picture. I had the chance to try another forest service road and explore a new area - this is above Cody Caves. I even had time to make a few jars of dill pickles in the afternoon rain.