Monday, 30 June 2014

Hiking Picklejar Lakes

Two weekends ago, we hit Picklejar Lakes, accompanied by the lovely Becca, which, actually, was one of my favorite hikes so far. It wasn’t the most magnificent we’ve been on, and there were bits of the trail trashed by landslide, and it was kind of far away from Calgary – and, I know, I’m not selling it well, but wait for it. Here, I can make a list of why you should hike Picklejar Lakes if you can.

1. It’s two and a half hours from Calgary, whichever route you take. This is a pain, since you end up spending a lot of time in the car, but it means that the trail is much less crowded than similar trails closer to the city. Nothing ruins a nature moment like a crowd of hungover undergrads, is what I say. (And yes, this is the Rockies, a place where some if not all of the hungover undergrads haul themselves out of bed to go wandering around the mountains, sometimes in Keds. Who hikes in Keds? I dunno. Canada.) The only undergrads we saw had gotten there well before us – the night before, in fact, and had camped by the lake before hiking back that morning. Which brings me to point number two:

2. Sweet little camping spots in the trees next to these green, tiny, jewel-like alpine lakes (I’m not sure if they are really alpine lakes? Is there an elevation cut-off for alpine lakes?) just a 2-3 hour hike from the parking lot. I can already see myself waking up with a cup of coffee sitting next to third lake, can’t you? Which brings me to my third point:

3. Those cute little lakes! I mean really. The name picklejar is apparently not for the green/teal color but for the historic density of a local species of trout. Fishing in the lakes was compared to “catching fish in a picklejar.” They stock the lakes every year, which is the only reason the population remains intact, I suspect – the lakes are understandably a favorite among anglers.

4. And lastly, we spent the entire trip surrounded by massive, gorgeous mountains, and we didn’t climb a single one. Haha. There was a pass to get into the “cirque” where the lakes were, with a scramble across the remains of a recent landslide, but nary a summit to be seen.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Barrier Lake and Powderface Ridge

Sorry for the relative silence, folks, but the weather finally got nice up here and we are out in the Sunshine (capitalized on purpose). We've done two more day hikes in the Kanasakis! One around Barrier Lake, by the way of Yates Mountain, which is a sweet little mountain (just my size!) and then a long meander back down and along a creek to the starting point. For the other, we dragged along our trusty sidekicks Shannon and Andy to Powderface Ridge. Unfortunately, we got about halfway along the ridge trail when we hit There's Still Snow Sitting Up on Top Of the Mountain, which although mostly melted was still four feet deep, and called it prematurely quits. Nice day, though.

[Chris would like to note that he disapproves of the second to last sentence. As author, however, I am asserting my creative license and leaving it as is.]

[Oh, and he'd also like to note that we saw a dusky grouse on top of Yates Mountain. We did, and it was very cool, being a wild yet almost rooster-sized bird, and a very stupid one to boot, given that it tried to scare us off by ruffling its feathers.]

[Chris says that's what birds do during mating season, so. Bird hormones. Not bird brains.]